Life Hacks

Is Work From Home Aggravating Your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Here are Top Ways to Curb the Discomfort

Does the thumb side of your hand often feel like it’s going to sleep? Do you frequently experience that numb, weak, pins-and-needles feeling for no apparent reason? Chances are that you are suffering from the carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when your median nerve gets squeezed or compressed. Now that most of us are working from home, usually from work stations where our hands and wrists are straining instead of being in a neutral position, this is bound to put a strain on the tendons that go through the carpal tunnel.  However, the good news is that there are a number of remedies and exercises you can try at home to ease your discomfort. 

Wrist Extension Stretch

Research shows that extension and flexion exercises help widen the carpal tunnel, which helps ease the discomfort. To start, straighten out your arms and bend your wrist so that your hand is perpendicular to your forearm and your fingers are pointing upwards, just like you make a “stop” sign. Using your other hand, apply pressure across your palm until your fingers are pointing in your direction. Hold for 30 seconds and relax. Repeat on the other side. Try to finish reps of 5, four times a day daily.

Wrist Flexion Stretch

This exercise is pretty simple to perform. Just do the opposite of what the wrist extension stretch entails. To perform this wrist workout, straighten arm and bend wrist down until your fingers are pointing towards the floor and your hand is perpendicular to your forearm. Using your other hand, apply pressure across your palm until your fingers are pointing in your direction. Hold for 30 seconds and relax. Repeat on the other side. Try to finish reps of 5, four times a day daily.

The Shake

This is a pretty straightforward practice. Try shaking hands like you are air drying wet hands. Do this for a minute or two every hour to prevent the median nerve and flexor muscles of your hands from getting tight and cramped during the day. You don’t even have to remember to do this exercise. You are washing your hands frequently, right? Simply skip the towel and incorporate it in your hand washing routine.

Fist to Fan

This is another easy-peasy exercise that would greatly ease the discomfort caused by the carpal tunnel syndrome. Make a fist and then fan your fingers out suddenly, stretching as far as your flexibility allows. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 5-10 times, multiple times a day.

Medial Nerve Glide

This exercise helps to get your nerve moving through some gentle thumb manipulation. Experts say that this move is excellent for relieving wrist pain. Start by making a fist and your palm facing away from you. Open your fist into a flat palm, keeping your wrist parallel to the floor and your thumb glued against pointer finger. Now, slowly bend your wrist toward you, making sure the backs of our hand and fingers are facing you. Try to extend your thumb as far away from your palm as your flexibility allows. Flip your forearm so that your palm and the underside of forearm are facing upward. Apply pressure on your hand using your other hand, pulling it down as far as you can. If it hurts, stop right away. You don’t want to aggravate the damage. Repeat with the other hand.

Home Remedies

While carpal tunnel syndrome can be uncomfortable or painful, you can treat it at home. In addition to the exercises mentioned above, experts recommend icing your wrist or soaking it in an ice bath for 10 to 15 minutes every hour to relieve the discomfort, as it can lower inflammation. Immersing your hand in warm water while gently flexing your wrist, has the same effect. Consider wearing fingerless gloves or keeping hand warmers nearby.

If this condition is making it difficult to sleep peacefully at night, try hanging your hand over the side of the bed to relieve nighttime soreness. If you keep forgetting to keep your hand properly aligned, especially at night, buy a wrist splint at the drugstore to prevent flexing or overextending your wrist. If the pain is effecting your quality of sleep, take a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug after consulting your primary care physician. In addition, it’s better to take frequent breaks if you need to perform activities that involve repetitive hand movements.

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