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What really works to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome?

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Question: "What do you do to prevent/avoid aggravating carpal tunnel? It seems to me that stress aggravates it more than the actual repetitive stress action. When I’m relaxed/happy it doesn’t seem to flare up or bother me at all. But it’s returned lately in my mouse hand, which is often so weak I can’t open a jar. Have you invested in any special equipment that actually works? (A wrist brace made it worse for me and bothered me as I tried to type/move the mouse.) Hot or cold gel packs? Something else?  I appreciate any suggestions that have provided relief." —Ergonomically incorrect


{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Tara December 29, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Ah, it must be a random glitch.
Thank you for the stars, PTW Mom! :)
Reading over the various posts, I was thinking that there are as many solutions as there are individuals… I think the main thing is to keep looking for what works for you and your situation. We don’t have to work/live in pain!


Part-time working mom December 28, 2011 at 7:20 pm

that’s so wierd. i posted here as part-time working mom and i “liked” your comment (tara) by giving it 5 stars, but i didn’t mean to change your name. must be a web issue?


Barbie December 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm

I tried using gel pads before but it just aggravated my wrists more – I was told by our ergonomics consultant that the gel pads don’t promote proper placement anyway. I now have an ergonomic keyboard (Fellowes Microban) and a track ball mouse (Logitech Trackman). It took me a day or so to get used to having a track ball mouse but now I absolutely love. By making sure that my chair arms are elevated to the proper position, my hand now cups naturally over my mouse – no more strain! I also stop every so often to do wrist stretches, as Gloria recommended. The best two things though are the mouse and keyboard!


Melody Day December 27, 2011 at 8:53 am

I’ve had carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands for more than 20 years. I had the release procedure done in the right hand 1st. That took care of the problem for quite a while but recurred years later. That time I didn’t wait so long to act. I have braces for both hands but only wear them at night during my initial flareups. That helps a lot. I’ve also had an ergonomic keyboard since my first release. That helps alot because your hands naturally go to that position. I would NEVER be without my ergo keyboard. The key is to act swiftly when it is first bothering you. Think about what placement you may have changed to cause pain. Sometimes I just need to change angles or heights to make a difference. Good luck.


Tara December 24, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Why was the name of my previous post changed to Part-time working mom?
FYI I work full time and don’t happen to be a mom… hmm…


Another question December 23, 2011 at 11:21 am

Has anyone tried a stand up desk? I keep hearing stretching and standing up and taking breaks often is important…because nerve damage comes from too much pressure for too long on the same muscles and nerves. I’m wondering if more standing would help with a lot of issues that come up from sitting too long at the keyboard…I read that people who sit all day have a 54 percent greater chance of a heart attack, whether they exercise regularly or not! http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/16375/stand-up-for-comfort-and-more-energy-too


Lisa December 23, 2011 at 10:14 am

I had the same thing happen to me. If you have health insurance, I would suggest to go to a physical therapist. I used Accelerated Rehab. They have specific machines and exercises for carpal tunnel. Best of luck!


Gloria December 23, 2011 at 8:45 am

My doctor taught me to do the following:

Step 1: Hold your arm out straight in front of you with your hand pointed straight up toward the ceiling. Take your other hand and place it on your finders (palm-side) of the hand that is pointed toward the ceiling. Then, continuing to keep your arm straight, use that hand to pull your other hand back. You’ll feel a stretch. Hold for a few seconds, gently release and repeat.

Step 2: Now, point that same hand down toward the floor and do the same until you feel that stretch. Hold for a few seconds. Gently release and repeat.

Step 3: Turn your hand towards the left. Repeat the same steps above.

Step 4: Then, do the same by turning your hand towards the right.

Step 5: Repeat this throughout the day, every day to help prevent it. I also do the following for quick stretches: While sitting at my desk, I take my hands and place my fingers on the edge of the desk. Then push the bottom of my hands down until I feel a stretch in my wrists. Hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat.

Also, for me, I found soaking them in warm/hot water really helped.

Throughout the day, don’t forget to open/stretch your hands multiple times to help release tension.

Get one of those stress balls or something to squeeze too.

They have hand exercise equipment, as well. It is a metal thing that you squeeze. It’s harder than the stress ball…was too difficult for me to use.

Massage them throughout the day, too.

Acupunture has helped some people; although, I never tried it.

If you can get it, get the under the desk keyboard and mouse holder. That helped me a lot.

Make sure you always have a good gel pad mouse holder for your wrist and a gel pad wrist keyboard when typing for your wrist to rest on.

If it continues to get worse or bothers you, seek medical attention. Different doctors have different treatment: ex: medical doctor vs. chiropractor vs accupressure. Find one that works.


OMM... December 23, 2011 at 8:13 am

Wow! I can’t wait to try everyone’s ideas so far. I have switched to a Logitech Trackball Mouse & it helps a lot. I was experiencing severe pain in my index finger, into my wrist & up my forearm. Got physical therapy that included the forearm massage mentioned in Shauna’s comment. Hope you find complete relief!


Tara December 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm

Sometimes the problem can be your overall posture, and if your shoulders are internally rotated, that can really contribute to wrist pain.
Stand in front of a mirror, letting your arms fall as they naturally do. If you see the back of your palms facing forward, your shoulders may be internally rotated due to time spent on the computer. Mine were, and my wrists would burn terribly if I spent hardly any time on the mouse at all. Ergonomic adjustments barely made a dent in the problem. I highly recommend the book Pain Free at Your PC by Pete Egoscue. It’s such a cliche to say it… but it truly changed my life. As long as I do the stretches consistently and keep moving, no wrist pain, and no TMJ pain.


STACY CORNELIUS December 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm

As a part of our Wellness Activities, we started a Yoga class where an instructor came in and taught the employees. There are three or four wrist/arm stretches where you are on your hands and knees, and you gradually turn your writsts around so they are pointing toward your knees. These sort of stretches work wonders on carpal tunnel symptoms and stretch the muscles that are bent from repetitive motions.


shauna o December 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

My chiropractor taught me about the build up of muscle on your forearm, that pinches the nerves in your hand. I couldn’t open my hand or hold a spoon. What he did he called stripping the muscle off the nerve, and after a few treatments (and some bruising), I was able to move my hands again. Now when i feel my hands start to cramp, I know to try to rub out my forearm, close to my elbow.

Of course.. you might try to fix what’s ergonomically challenging, however, mine was repeat use cause that i was unable to give up. See your dr.!


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