While I haven’t personally experienced this specific pain, I have broken my right wrist (and I am right-handed) and can attest to how beneficial it was to have a wrist brace to use after the cast came off. The extra support allowed me to go back to work sooner, even if I was a bit limited until the bone fully healed and the muscles built up strength again.
What I have done here, is researched facts and info relating to carpal tunnel and put them in one place for you to gain further insight into this painful joint problem. Since I am right handed, I targeted this article towards right hand wrist braces for carpal tunnel, although it can certainly effect just the left wrist, or both, sad to say.
What is Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the compression of the median nerve as it passes into the hand. The median nerve is located on the palm side of your hand, which passes through an opening (also called the carpal tunnel). The median nerve provides sensation (ability to feel) to your thumb, index finger, long finger, and part of the ring finger. It supplies the impulse to the muscle going to the thumb. Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur in one or both of your hands.
Swelling inside your wrist causes the compression in carpal tunnel syndrome. It can lead to numbness, weakness, and tingling on the side of your hand near the thumb.
What is the Cause?
Compression of the carpal tunnel and thus on the median nerve, can have many sources. Most common are:
~ thyroid dysfunction
~ fluid retention from pregnancy or menopause
~ high blood pressure
~ autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis
~ fractures or trauma to the wrist
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be made worse if the wrist is overextended repeatedly. Repeated motion of your wrist contributes to swelling and compression of the median nerve. This may be the result of:
~ positioning of your wrists while using your keyboard or mouse
~ prolonged exposure to vibrations from using hand tools or power tools
~ any repeated movement that overextends your wrist, such as playing the piano, typing, or painting
Men or Women – Who’s More at Risk?
Women are 3 times more likely to develop it simply due to (on average) their carpal tunnel is smaller and can more easily affect the median nerve if inflammation occurs. Pregnancy is also another factor that puts the fairer gender at risk since fluid retention may occur do to changing hormones. The excess fluid will put pressure on the median nerve, resulting with the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Wondering if Your Pain is actually CTS?
The symptoms to look for to confirm that pain in your wrist is really CTS or not, are listed here:
- mild numbness and tingling in the hands (especially in the thumb, index, middle and ring fingers)
- painful even during sleep
- pain and/or weakness while trying to grip an object
If you experience any of the above, and let it go without addressing it, more long term damage may be inflicted on the median nerve. This will result in loss of sensation such as unable to feel temperatures, loss of dexterity, and loss of muscle tone with weaker gripping ability.
It can also prove to be effective to wear a wrist brace while in bed, as one is likely to bend the wrist while sleeping and consequently, apply pressure to an already inflamed area. A brace will prevent this from happening.
All is Not Lost!
This IS something that can be corrected and eliminated, provided you catch it early enough. No one wishes for surgical correction, or corticosteroid treatments, and this is where practical wrist management comes into play i.e. – cutting down repetitive wrist actions (maybe switching between hands), eliminating other root causes listed above, and by all means …… a wrist brace to aid you until such time as your wrist heals – and it CAN heal if you give it a little help 😉
This is a concise overview for your consideration on the topic of CTS. If you have personal experience that you would like to share, or have a question – please leave it below and I will reply straight away. 🙂
All the best!