- What’s Worth Knowing about CTS?
- How Ergonomics Can Help With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
- 7 Best Things That Will Help With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- #1 Wrist Rests or Braces / Hand Braces / Splints
- #2 Ergonomic Chair
- #3 Ergonomic Keyboard and Keyboard Tray
- #4 Comfortable or Ergonomic Mouse
- #5 Voice-recognition Tool or Ergonomic Pen
- #6 Carpal Tunnel Foods to Avoid
- #7 Essential Oils for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Is it easy to find help with carpal tunnel syndrome? Those who have suffered or are suffering from CTS know how incapacitating the condition can be. Constant pain and difficulty in holding a light item are some of its irritating symptoms.
The disorder is the result of compression of the median nerve running from the forearm to the wrist and traveling via the carpal tunnel. This compression finally inflames the nerve. The good news is that there are some initial simple things to try for relieving the symptoms.
What’s Worth Knowing about CTS?
The medical condition of CTS is often characterized by pain and discomfort in the hand or wrist. These two are exactly what we use the most while doing work at home or office, especially on a computer. Overusing the muscles of hands and wrists muscles is the main cause of CTS.
Thus, it is essential to stop this overuse first instead of just focusing on one or two major symptoms. The good news is that there are simple things or tools to get help with carpal tunnel syndrome by keeping the risk of putting unnecessary pressure on your hand and wrist muscles at bay.
With them, you can easily focus on your task without giving more pressure on hands or wrists and without experiencing any discomfort. It can be argued that it is the wrong habits that lead to boosted pain and other CTS symptoms.
However, among the major contributors to these habits are the tech tools or other devices in use that are not hand- or wrist-friendly, as they put much pressure even if they are used in the right way. This is the reason why the revolutionary concept of ergonomics has surfaced.
How Ergonomics Can Help With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
As the science of designing the work area at home or office, ergonomics has become a buzzword with the increasing trend of standing desks and rising replacement of standard chairs with medicine tablets. This science aims at designing the work area to fit the user instead of forcing the user’s body to fit the job.
Despite ergonomics being an increasingly popular stream of consideration, most people still do the reverse. They conform their body to the work area, which results in discomfort and fatigue.
It is hard to realize the amount of adjustment one does to fit to that daily working space: The hands lengthen to access the mouse and lift the chair to the eye level with the monitor and incline forward to read better.
However, these movements are significantly putting one’s health at risk. Thus, it is time to change the tech tools to ergonomic ones or use some means of hand or wrist comfort for better health.
One may also argue that there are exercises to be done and some simple movement tips to be followed while at work to treat CTS. However, following only them will not help if the tools you are using are the main culprit or if your hands and wrist are still undergoing the pressure or pain.
In these cases, it is worth focusing on changing the tools in use, which when used with effective exercises and beneficial food, help in giving relief. Keeping this in mind, here are five things for you to try out without spending much effort, time, and money.
7 Best Things That Will Help With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
#1 Wrist Rests or Braces / Hand Braces / Splints
Pressure comes on the median nerve when you bend your wrists, especially while sleeping. This is the time when you cannot control the movement as well as the position of your wrists.
According to webmd.com, this is when braces may help, as they retain the wrist in a neutral and straight position. This is where it does not extend or flex. It has also revealed that a 2012 study observed a wrist brace to be useful at night.
Wearing braces at work, especially when some actions lead to flare-ups, is likely to be beneficial too. Iterated motions or additional strain can worsen the symptoms. Thus, wearing braces can help. Once you remove the, ensure to keep the wrists moving normally to retain strong and loose muscles.
The only prerequisite to wearing the braces or splints properly is your doctor’s guidance. Ergonomic professionals do not recommend using such products without consulting a healthcare professional. This is mainly to avoid the biggest drawback of braces and get the right treatment instead of self-treatment.
Wrist braces may increase the pressure within the tunnel by squeezing the wrists’ undersurface area. This can be avoided by buying the doctor-suggested braces.
#2 Ergonomic Chair
It is common for most of us to sit unpredictably high on a chair for accessing the keyboard and mouse, which invites different health risks. The standard chairs are such that there is little scope for healthy adjustments. However, an ergonomic chair can open the door for all these adjustments.
You can lower or raise the seat such that the thighs become parallel to the floor and the feet remain flat on the floor or footrest. Ergonomic chairs also give two inches of space between the seat’s edge and knees’ rear when you adjust the seat pan.
The armrests are also adjustable to reside at the seated elbow height. You should also consider unlocking the backrest and nicely positioning it to encourage movement.
Many ergonomic chairs self-adjust to the weight of the user, which is another plus point. Finally, always lean back such that the backrest supports your upper body. Such sitting postures help in reducing the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.
More on that topic:
#3 Ergonomic Keyboard and Keyboard Tray
As people accommodate their bodies to the work area, it is common for them to bend forward throughout the day. This breaks the touch with the backrest. When this happens, people blame the chairs but this is attributed to the keyboard problem and a chair design issue.
Ideally, the shoulders should feel relaxed, the arms should be at the sides, the palms should be given support, and the forearms and wrists should be parallel to the floor or a bit inclined toward the lap.
Keeping the mouse and keyboard near to the body allows unloading body weight onto the chair’s backrest, which then triggers an instant improvement in terms of comfort. A more neutral posture is achieved by using an articulating keyboard that sits at an angled position from the body.
To provide help with carpal tunnel syndrome experts recommend anything that encourages neutral postures. Some split ergonomic keyboards are angled to retain the wrists in a more neutral as well as comfortable position. Those having no number pad are also fine for your posture, as you need not stretch your arm to move the mouse.
Standard keyboards usually facilitate keeping your hands at an odd position in which the fingertips become parallel to the monitor and the wrists reside at an awkward outward angle.
This position of wrists is due to the lack of support for them. This misalignment of an odd angle then puts pressure on the blood vessels and nerves of your wrists to result in issues such as CTS.
On the other hand, a good ergonomic keyboard keeps the alignment issue at bay. Their increasing popularity has resulted in different designs, ranging right from a curved one-piece to two-piece models having keys split into separate islands.
You can even try using a keyboard tray if the current keyboard is high enough to make your fingers angle upward. It helps in reducing the height appropriately.
- We are picking the best keyboard for carpal tunnel syndrome
- How difficult is to pick best swivel keyboard tray these days?
- Our best picks for height adjustable desk with keyboard tray
#4 Comfortable or Ergonomic Mouse
You may wonder how a mouse that has a good grip can negatively affect your comfort level. Well, the way you hold as per its design does affect. The conventional design paves the way to wrist contact stress along with its bending side to side.
Such postures increase fluid pressure in the carpal tunnel, which is likely to cause an injury. Thus, it is wise to invest in a mouse offering built-in palm support due to which you need not anchor your wrist.
It allows moving the mouse naturally using more of your shoulder and lower arm while retaining the wrists in a straight position. This is exactly what ergonomic mice offer. They are chiefly designed to keep the arms and wrists aligned in a neutral pose.
Just keep in mind that there is no single-size-fits-all model when it comes to buying an ergonomic mouse. Many standard-mouse alternatives are ergonomic, such as a trackball, a vertical mouse, and a stylus with a tablet. However, some models are comfortable for a variety of hand sizes.
If you will be trying one such option for the first time, it is highly recommended to invest in the one that you can return later. Try it for a day and see how much better you feel, as what is comfortable for one person may not be comfortable for you.
- Best ergonomic mouse for carpal tunnel
- Best trackball mouse for carpal tunnel
- Best mouse pads for wrist pain
#5 Voice-recognition Tool or Ergonomic Pen
It is known that pain in the wrist can make typing or writing efficiently quite difficult. Although you may be spending much time on a laptop or a computer, you will be using a pen and paper for noting communications such as a running presentation.
So now, replace your standard pen with an ergonomic pen that helps in enhancing your alignment as your script. If you use a computer, laptop, or smartphone, consider using a speech recognition tool. The utility is usually present in the accessibility settings.
Even famous software applications such as Google Docs and WhatsApp provide voice typing feature. Through it, the application types what you speak, and thus, you need not strain your wrists any further.
Yes, you may feel that precision is not up to the mark. In that case for higher accuracy and quicker copying from voice to text, you can invest in a free or an affordable speech-recognition tool.
#6 Carpal Tunnel Foods to Avoid
The best blend of treatment for CTS includes the right mix of exercises, body-friendly tools, better habits, and beneficial food to eat as well as avoid for relieving the symptoms. If inflammation is the main cause or the major symptom of CTS, then it is important to change what you eat.
Just as there are food items to eat, there are food items to avoid at the same time for getting an overall positive effect. Following are the foods that are known to boost inflammation due to which you are supposed to avoid or eat less during the carpal tunnel pain:
- High consumption of salt, as it boosts fluid retention in the tissues due to which they swell to promote pain
- Too much sugar intake, as it boosts swelling and puffiness
- Fatty items, as they increase swelling similar to salt
- Alcohol, as it raises swelling and minimizes the positive impact of B vitamins required for recovery
- Gluten, grains, and items of grains such as baked ones and pasta, as they are inflammation boosters
- Processed foods such as chips and additives, as they are pro-inflammatory
- Soft drinks and meat items, as they increase inflammation
Although a change in diet is less likely to be effective for everyone, not eating the aforementioned items can help those having mild to moderate symptoms. Doing so can help with carpal tunnel syndrome by minimizing the pain and inflammation induced by the disorder.
#7 Essential Oils for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Along with the aforementioned foods to avoid and things to help with carpal tunnel syndrome, you can try using essential oils. These oils are known for their ability to heal a variety of symptoms that carpal tunnel syndrome shows.
Their healing properties can effectively reduce the disorder-induced discomfort in terms of numbness, swelling, and aching. You can expect temporary relief from inflammation and pain using some essential oils.
The easiest way to use them is to take a few drops of essential oil that is rich in soothing and anti-inflammatory properties and dilute it using a carrier oil. You then need to apply it on the affected skin area. The aroma of the mix triggers a calming and relaxing effect.
If you need more information on how to prepare essential oils this video made by Bramble Berry may be very helpful for you:
Following are the recommended essential oils blends to try:
Mix 1: Wintergreen and Cypress Essential Oils
Mix 3-4 drops of both these oils with some coconut oil (carrier oil) and apply to the inflamed spot up to thrice a day. The wintergreen essential oil relieves swelling and pain swifter than an ice pack by triggering a cooling effect. On the other hand, the cypress oil boosts healing by increasing blood flow.
Mix 2: Peppermint and Frankincense Essential Oils
Mixing 2-3 drops of these oils with coconut oil gives you a strong, anti-inflammatory remedy. When applied to the affected area, the mix helps in tissue repair and soothes itching and irritation.
Following are the other essential oils to consider:
- Marjoram oil for relieving tension and pain; use 1 teaspoon of it with a half teaspoon of castor oil.
- Lavender oil for relaxing muscles, calming the mind for sleep, and minimizing inflammation; use a half teaspoon of it with 1 teaspoon of virgin olive oil as a carrier.
- German chamomile oil for minimizing redness, swelling, and pain and improving blood flow; use a few drops of it with some drops of lukewarm water.
- Lemongrass oil for supporting the ligaments, tendons, and connective tissues; mix two drops of it with the same quantity of the anti-inflammatory avocado oil.
- Tea tree oil for treating pain in hand and wrist along with numbness; mix two drops of it with the same amount of almond oil
Note: Although they aim to help with carpal tunnel syndrome these oils are just recommendations. You should try them only after consulting your doctor.
Usually, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome tend to surface gradually. When you first experience any of the symptoms, it is the right time to try out the aforementioned five things and essential oil massage.