Though the exact number of carpal tunnel syndrome cases is unknown, it is estimated that 10 percent of the world population will experience it at some point in their lives.
Below are helpful tips to both avoid and manage the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition characterized by pain, swelling and tingling in the muscles of the hand and wrist. It’s usually brought on by overuse, repetition or improper use of the hand and wrist muscles and often occurs with typing and computer use.
What to Do
If your hands and wrists are tender and sore after repetitive typing, scrolling, etc. at your computer, resting the sore muscles is key. To prevent carpal tunnel in the first place, you should make it a point to take frequent breaks every few minutes or at least a 10-15 minute break every couple of hours to let your muscles relax. Just like with weight training, you usually work out only a few days a week – not everyday – and it takes an hour maximum to get your workout in.
Your muscles need time to heal from the strenuous weight, repetition and use. Otherwise, you will suffer painful injuries. Think of your hands and wrists the same way when you’re pounding away at your PC’s keyboard.
In addition to giving it a rest, stretching helps a lot. To ease tension in your wrists, try these two stretches:
- Using the palm of your left hand, push the palm of your right hand up slowly until tension is felt in the right wrist. Follow this move by pressing the back of the right hand down using your left hand. Do this stretch on both the left and right hands after each break.
- Hold both hands out in front of you, palms facing out. Slowly and gently make a tight claw 3 or 4 times and return to starting position.
There is an exercise you can also do that’s similar to the second stretch, in which you hold both arms straight out in front of you with your palms facing outward. This time, instead of making a claw, stretch your fingers out as wide as you can, so that there’s lots of space between each finger. Hold for a second and then release or relax your hands. Repeat the process 3-5 times. This is a physical therapy-type exercise that musicians often use to release the tension in their hands, wrists and fingers from repetitive playing.
Applying pressure to key points around the inflamed wrist can ease the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome. So using your other hand, place your index and middle finger just below the inside of your wrist joint (closest to your forearm, about where your watch would rest) and place the thumb of that same hand about 3 finger widths up towards your forearm. Simultaneously press those two points on your inner arm and release. Do this as often as you need throughout the day until you get relief.
Pineapple to the Rescue
Pineapple is singled out as a great remedy for carpal tunnel syndrome, because of one key ingredient – bromelain. This enzyme eases the pain in your sore wrist joint due to its anti-inflammatory qualities. Not only is pineapple effective against carpal tunnel, but other joint inflammation ailments like arthritis. You can eat pineapple or get the enzyme in its supplement form in dosages up to 1,000 mg per day.