When you have carpal tunnel syndrome, it can turn your life upside down. It’s a common problem that can affect one or both of your hands, making it difficult to perform daily activities. Though treatments do help, it’s important to understand how certain habits you may have actually worsen this condition.
At Kellogg Brain and Spine, located in both Portland and Wilsonville, Oregon, our team can help you when you’re dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome. Dr. Jordi Kellogg is our esteemed neurosurgeon, who also provides care and treatment for carpal tunnel disorder through both conservative measures and surgery.
Your carpal tunnel is actually a tiny canal in your wrist that’s formed by your wrist bones. This canal houses the tendons and nerves that innervate your fingers. One of the main nerves that runs through your carpal tunnel is known as your median nerve.
Your median nerve allows you to feel sensations with your middle finger, index finger, and thumb. It also provides feeling to part of your ring finger.
Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when the median nerve becomes compressed in your carpal tunnel. This leads to a variety of symptoms, including numbness and pain in your hand or wrist. It often starts out mild but continues to worsen as the nerve is compressed for longer periods of time.
If not treated early, carpal tunnel syndrome can sometimes lead to permanent damage to the median nerve. The pressure needs to be relieved early to prevent your symptoms from continuing to worsen.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is brought on by a number of different conditions, including diabetes and arthritis. You may also suffer from this condition because of pregnancy or repetitive use of your hands and wrists.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome often start out mild and worsen over time. In the beginning, you may only notice your symptoms at night or occasionally during the day. As the condition worsens, your symptoms also take a turn, and they may include:
As carpal tunnel syndrome progresses, your symptoms usually become worse and more frequent. You may find yourself dropping objects a lot, or you might have trouble with the simplest of tasks, like tying your shoes.
When the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome begin to affect your quality of life, it’s time to see Dr. Kellogg to discuss what you can do to get relief. Although treatments are proven to help, it’s also important to understand how certain habits could be making the condition in your hands much worse.
If you already have carpal tunnel syndrome, you may be doing things regularly that are making the condition worse. Bad habits in your hands and wrists can actually speed up the progression of carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of these habits include:
When you slouch or allow your shoulders to fall forward, you’re putting excess pressure on the muscles in your shoulders and neck. When these muscles become tight, it can lead to nerve compression down your arm, sometimes causing carpal tunnel syndrome to get worse.
Activities such as texting, painting, and knitting can all lead to worsening carpal tunnel syndrome. These activities require you to constantly use your wrists and hands. If you don’t take proper breaks from these activities, inflammation can ramp up in your wrist, putting more pressure on the median nerve.
Gripping tools or objects too tightly puts excess strain on the nerves in your hand. Over time, this can in fact make your carpal tunnel condition much worse. Loosen your grip on your phone, and type lightly when working on a keyboard.
Wrist position also has a lot to do with your symptoms. If your wrist is bent too far up or down, it strains the median nerve, causing carpal tunnel syndrome. When typing or performing other activities, keep your wrists at a neutral angle to avoid excess wear on the nerve.
If your symptoms aren’t improving with better habits and conservative measures, Dr. Kellogg may recommend an endoscopic carpal tunnel release. This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows Dr. Kellogg to take the pressure off of your median nerve to hopefully resolve your symptoms.
If you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and need expert care, don’t hesitate to call one of our offices in Portland or Wilsonville, Oregon, to schedule a consultation. You can also click the request an appointment button while you’re here on our website.