Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common ailment, especially in people who do repetitive work with their hands. Typing at a keyboard and using a mouse can cause or aggravate carpal tunnel. Those who work with power tools can also develop the problem, as can knitters and others who work with small hand tools. Carpal tunnel symptoms include tingling, burning, pain, or numbness in your fingers, except for your pinky. The pain might travel up your forearm. It’s caused by pinching the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel.
You Might Need EMG/NCS Testing to Rule Out Other Issues
It’s important not to ignore or try to power through the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome. This is because, if left untreated, it can cause permanent nerve or muscle damage. The good news is that by addressing carpal tunnel symptoms early you can halt or reverse the condition. Here are a few things you can do.
1. Take a break. Ideally, take 10 to 15 minutes every hour to stretch your hands and change positions.
2. Stretch those hands. Here are two easy stretches: make a fist, then slide your fingers so they go straight up. Repeat 10 to 15 times. The second is to make a fist, then open your fingers and fan them out as far as you can. Repeat this 10 to 15 times, too.
3. Practice good posture. A lot of us are used to slumping over our desks or our work, but this can aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as cause back pain and other issues. If you sit up straight, with your feet flat on the floor, you align your body correctly. This takes the strain off nerves and muscles that aren’t meant to hold your weight.
4. Go easy. As you work, whether you’re typing, working with power tools, or doing a craft like knitting, be aware of how much tension there is in your hands. It’s very easy to be using too much force, which puts unnecessary strain on the carpal tunnel and median nerve. Ease up a bit and see if that helps your pain.
5. See an occupational therapist or talk to your doctor. Sometimes, no matter how many breaks you take or how often you stretch, you need some additional help. Talk to your doctor to see if EMG/NCS testing, which shows how the nerves are working, is necessary. You should also ask about a referral to an occupational therapist who be able to tailor a program of stretches and exercise and give you specific advice.
Contact us if you need EMG testing! We’re here to help.