5 easy tactics to relieve carpal tunnel pain

Painful, numb and stiff wrists? Follow these expert tips to protect your fingers and hands from further injury!

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If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you can expect your condition to worsen, plus, cope with more and more pain if your symptoms aren’t treated. It begins as a light tingling sensation, like pins and needles, in the hands and wrists, but the pain can become more persistent. In stage II, the numbness can even strike at night, costing you precious sleep. 

Kaw Jon Keen, a senior principal occupational therapist at Mount Elizabeth Rehabilitation Centre, notes that in stage 3, the median nerve and the thenar muscles of the thumb may suffer permanent damage. As a result, patients may experience wasting of the muscles, as well as a severe loss of sensation in their hands.

The best treatment is rest, so don’t panic if you’re experiencing those tingling sensations.

In its early stages, occupational therapy ― which eases patients’ discomfort and prevents permanent damage ― helps mothers cope effectively with carpal tunnel syndrome. Kaw stresses that it’s important to avoid aggravating your symptoms such as by using your fingers to grip too hard, or making forceful or repetitive hand and finger movements. Examples include holding your mobile phone, using a manual breast pump or clinging to the overhead railing on public transport. Kaw shares simple ways to tackle the condition effectively:

1) Rest

Kaw stresses that the best treatment is rest, so don’t panic if you’re experiencing those tingling sensations. She says, “Avoid overusing your hands and wrists when you can and discontinue doing activities if your symptoms become worse.” If the symptoms persist even after rest or if you experience pain, numbness and weakness in your hands, it’s best to get a doctor to evaluate your condition.

2) Modify your activities

The excess pressure you exert on the median nerve running through the small hollow space — called the carpal tunnel — in your wrists causes carpal tunnel syndrome. To prevent further damage, refrain from stressing these joints further and avoid remaining in the same position for long periods of time. Make these simple changes to your daily routine:
• Use an electric breast pump instead of to a manual one;
• Alternate arms when carrying baby or when using baby carriers or strollers;
• Hang your grocery bags from your elbow, which has bigger muscles, as compared to carrying them by hand.
• Use pillows to take some of your baby’s weight off your hands when you feed or cuddle her.

Click to learn easy exercises you can do to reduce your carpal tunnel pain.