Do you often get a feeling of “pins and needles” in your hands, like they’ve seemed to fallen asleep only with no apparent reason? Does this feeling intensify at night and only gets better after you shake them? Then, you might experience the first symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Especially, if it affects your thumb, pointer and middle finger.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition caused by making repeated hand movements over and over, and as such can be commonly found in people performing manual work or having an office job. However, it can also be caused by a variety of other factors, such as arthritis and diabetes, for example. The condition affects the carpal tunnel which is actually a small passageway in your wrist where the median nerve and several tendons from the forearm run through. When the carpal tunnel becomes overcrowded from inflammation or compression, the median nerve which operates the movement of the first three fingers experiences pressure.
Patients with mild symptoms are know to get a huge relief by treating symptoms where they begin – in the wrist. Because it’s tough to control your wrists when you’re asleep, many doctors recommend wearing carpal tunnel braces. They are a form of a splint specifically designed to keep your wrists straight in order to prevent pressure on the median nerve.
Wearing a carpal tunnel brace during the day is also found to alleviate pain and prevent the condition from getting worse. If your workplace allows it, a brace can keep your wrists in proper position while you’re typing on a keyboard or working at an assembly line. This is especially effective when you start experiencing the first symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome – tingling in the fingers.
Carpal tunnel braces are available at drug-stores without a prescription. They are also available at specialized ergonomic stores which offer workplace solutions. If your condition has progressed significantly, you can also get a prescription from an orthopaedic for a custom-fit splint to treat the exact points where you feel the highest amount of pain.
However, no all braces are made equally. There are the traditional ones made out of breathable tricot materials which provide a firm but comfortable grip. They can prove to be an excellent solution whenever one needs a good wrist support. With the onset of magnetic therapy in treating various bodily pains, a new magnetic type of carpal tunnel braces has also emerged. These braces have magnets which are strategically placed to assist in relieving wrist pain. However, if you have a pacemaker, or are pregnant or epileptic, it’s best to first consult your doctor before buying anything magnetic.
Without a doubt, wearing a wrist brace is a very effective short-term solution for carpal tunnel. However long-term use can often weaken the muscles in your arm. Therefore, you should wear the brace intermittently, with periods where you exercise and slowly increase the amount of hand and wrist movements. This way you’ll still get the right amount of support without weakening your wrist muscles.