Do I Need a Brace for My Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

carpal tunnel syndrome
Source – Brace Access

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes discomfort, tingling, or numbness in the fingers. It’s a prevalent ailment that affects workers in various industries, from data input to meat processing.


Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 24th May 2022.

Do I Need a Brace for My Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

It occurs when your median nerve is compressed. Except for your pinky, this is what provides you sensation in your thumb and all of your fingers. The median nerve travels via the carpal tunnel, a small passage composed of bones and ligaments that run through your wrist. When your wrist swells, that tunnel is compressed, pinching your median nerve, resulting in your discomfort.

You may require surgery if you have a more severe form of carpal tunnel syndrome. Simpler alternatives, such as a wrist brace and pain medications, is practical if caught early enough.

When Should I Call My Doctor?

Carpal tunnel syndrome must be treated as soon as possible. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment:

  • Finger and thumb burning, numbness, tingling, or pain — sensations that may become worse after you’ve slept
  • You drop things a lot more than normal.
  • You have a weakness in your hand.

How Can a Wrist Brace Help My Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

When most individuals sleep, they bend their wrists. The median nerve is irritated as a result of this. A brace may assist because it maintains your wrist in a straight, neutral posture. According to 2012 research study, using a wrist brace at night relieved carpal tunnel symptoms more effectively than taking no therapy at all.

Wearing a brace throughout the day, particularly during activities that cause flare-ups, may be beneficial. Repeated movements or additional wrist strain may exacerbate your symptoms. Try wearing a brace at work if your employer permits it.

After you’ve removed it, continue to move your wrist as you usually would. This maintains the flexibility and strength of your muscles. Simply avoid putting too much strain or effort on your wrist.

Where Can I Get One?

A wrist brace, often known as a splint, may be found at most pharmacy shops. Alternatively, you may have one made for you by an occupational therapist. You want the brace to be snug but not too tight when you put it on. Make sure you’re not putting any additional strain on your carpal tunnel.

Does A Brace Work?

It is debatable. They’re most beneficial for those with mild to severe carpal tunnel syndrome. People who take one say that their symptoms are less severe and last less time. Their wrists are also less numb, tingling, and burning when they wake up.

And keep in mind that there is no such thing as the ideal brace. Trying various kinds to see whether they assist with your discomfort may be beneficial. It may take up to 3-4 weeks to observe long-term effects.

Will Pain Relievers Help?

NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) alleviate the discomfort and swelling associated with carpal tunnel syndrome in some individuals. These are available over the counter at your local pharmacy. Among the most common are:

  • Aspirin
  • Ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil)
  • Naproxen (Naprosyn, Aleve)

While some medications may be beneficial, they will not cure your disease. At most, they may offer temporary relief while you experiment with other treatments, such as a wrist brace and alterations to your routine.

What Can Make Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Worse?

Try to find methods to relieve strain on your wrist as you go about your day. Here are a few things to remember:

  • Avoid completely bending your wrist up or down. The ideal position is in the centre of your range of motion, in a neutral posture.
  • Warm-up your hands. Cold hands may exacerbate your discomfort and stiffness.
  • As frequently as possible, take a rest for your hands and wrists. Don’t overdo it with them.
  • To prevent repeating the same movements, switch up your activities as often as possible.
  • Don’t be too serious. More relaxed grips and movements decrease strain while using tools and keyboards.

Sources

  1. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/carpal-tunnel/do-i-need-a-brace-for-carpal-tunnel-syndrome 
  2. NIH, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes: “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Fact Sheet.”
  3. Mayo Clinic: “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.”
  4. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, OrthInfo: “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.”
  5. University of Washington Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine: “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.”
  6. PubMed Health: “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Wrist Splints and Hand Exercises.”
  7. American College of Rheumatology: “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.”
  8. National Health Service: “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.”
  9. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, OrthInfo: “What Are NSAIDs?”
  10. Office on Women’s Health: “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Fact Sheet.”

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