At-Home Care for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Dec 05, 2022

At-Home Care for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Once you’ve been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, you have to decide what to do next. Should you get surgery, or work on caring better for your wrists at home?

It’s estimated that more than 12 million Americans have carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) symptoms at any given time. Because the nerves that pass through the wrist can become compressed in the very small space, frequent development of entrapment syndrome occurs, which causes weakness, pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands and fingers.

At Advanced Orthopedics & Sports Medicine (AOSM), with locations in Union City and Dyersburg, Tennessee, Dr. Michael CalfeePaxton Sisson PA-C, and the rest of our skilled team can help you develop an at-home care plan for the symptoms of your carpal tunnel syndrome.

The cause of CTS

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, the median nerve has become compressed inside the wrist. This big nerve runs right through the wrist and down into the palm of your hand, sending impulses from the brain to your thumb and fingers to make them move properly and feel sensations.

Inflammation inside the wrist narrows the tunnel inside the bones and tendons that house the median nerve. If the inflammation becomes too severe, the entire inside of the wrist becomes swollen and compresses the nerve.

CTS risk factors

You’re more likely to have CTS if you have one of these risk factors:

  • Gender: women typically have smaller wrists so the tunnel is more easily compressed
  • Job: desk jobs are notorious for causing carpal tunnel, thanks to constant typing
  • Inflammatory disease: conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes 
  • Fluid retention: common in pregnant or menopausal women
  • History: past wrist fractures or injuries can increase risk
  • Thyroid issues: thyroid dysfunction means you’re more likely to get CTS 

Dr. Calfee tests patients suspected to have CTS with nerve conduction studies that measure the conduction speed of your nerve impulses. Slower signals often point to CTS. 

At-home care for CTS

You can improve your wrist health by taking the following steps to relieve stress and inflammation at work and at home, and potentially avoid surgery:

  • Ice water and warm water hand baths can reduce inflammation and ease pain
  • If you work a desk job, take frequent mini-breaks and shake out your hands gently
  • Try to find a hobby that moves your wrists gently in new ways, like crocheting or coloring
  • Invest in wrist splints to support your wrists and prevent them from getting stiff

You may also be able to do physical wrist exercises designed to keep your wrists flexible, and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain meds to help keep swelling and discomfort under control.

Eventually, if these methods don’t work, you may need corticosteroid injections or even arthroscopic surgery to help relieve pressure inside your wrist. 

Suffering with CTS? The struggle can be over. To get in touch, call the AOSM location closest to you, or book an appointment online.