Carpal Tunnel is something many experience, and it can happen at any point in one’s life. It’s not a syndrome that only affects younger people or even older people for that matter. Carpal Tunnel can affect pregnant women, children, or middle-aged individuals.
We use our hands for just about everything. Whether it’s building, cooking, dialing a phone number, or gardening, we can all agree that our hands are important. Without them working properly, many times complications and/or discomfort are the result.
A senior dealing with CTS can endure a lot of frustration if it’s not fixed in the best way. Especially when living in nursing homes, CTS can take a toll on the level of independence that someone may have left.
What is Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome happens when a nerve is pinched due to repetitive actions that call on the fingers and/or hands. Swelling in the wrist area is the result of the repeated actions, which causes pain. The swelling constricts the medial nerve going through the tunnel (in the wrist). The pinching of the nerve causes one to feel pain, numbness, and sometimes tingling, in the wrist area.
Though Carpal Tunnel isn’t something that only seniors deal with, according to studies, it does tend to be more common in patients over the age of 55. Studies also prove that women are three times more likely to experience carpal tunnel.
Is Arthritis the Cause of my Carpal Tunnel?
As we age, chances increase that we will develop certain conditions that one is obviously more prone to accompanied with aging. Arthritis is one of the common conditions in the aging community. Two of the most common forms of arthritis are Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis.
Arthritis can raise the risk of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
This particular condition happens when there is inflammation in one’s joints. Arthritis often times gets confused with Carpal Tunnel. The symptoms one experiences are many times similar to both conditions.
It’s important to have a professional, like a chiropractor, inform you of which condition you may be experiencing. Arthritis along with Carpal Tunnel causes tingling in the hand, numbness, and pain.
CTS can worsen if not properly diagnosed and treated in a modified timeframe. If you or anyone that you know is dealing with arthritis and the symptoms are similar to carpal tunnel symptoms, be safe and seek professional assistance to rule out CTS.
Untreated arthritis can lead to further complications as well.
5 Common at Home Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Modify activities that induce the pain
- Ice packs
- Warm water soaks
- Wrist splints
If you’re looking for ways to help ease the discomfort associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome those are just a few.
If you prefer something more along the lines of exercising, there are stretches along with hand and wrist movements that can be performed.
How often can you do the stretches? Thankfully, they are safe and never too strenuous, so they can be done on a daily to help with the pain.
What are Three Time Efficient Exercises I can perform?
1. Wrist flexion
The way that this exercise is performed is by holding your arm out straight with your palm facing down. Next, you want to bend your wrist by forcing your hand down so your fingers are now facing the ground, with the front of the palm facing in front of you.
Use your opposite hand to then begin to gently pull on the fingers so that they are being bent towards the body. You’ll want to hold that stretch for a minimum of 20 seconds, and then relax.
When your hand is back in the neutral position where the palm is facing down, you want to lift your hand up so that your palm is facing forward. Take your opposite hand and pull the fingers towards the body once more and hold for a minimum of 20 seconds.
Repeat that whole exercise 10 times, and you can do it up to three times a day.
2. Thumb exercise
This one is rather simple.
All you need is one hand at a time. You want to take the tip of every other finger other than the thumb and touch it to the tip of the thumb. You want to aim for making the shape of an O.
Repeat this a couple of times on each hand.
3. Shake Shake Shake!
This simple exercise is just like it sounds. It’s almost natural when dealing with CTS to shake out your hands and wrists. It’s considered an exercise and a stretch, so now you can shake out your hands on purpose knowing that you’re taking one more step to help ease the pain in those wrists!
Remember when doing these exercises that you may experience some pain, and if you do, you’ll want to stop and wait until the pain subsides before continuing. Don’t force anything seeing that it could potentially make matters worse.
Are you a Caregiver?
If you are a caregiver, know one, or have grandparents or parents who are aging and dealing with CTS, play your role. Once it’s clear that a senior around you has been diagnosed with CTS, it’s best to know the part that you now can play in assisting them.
Seniors need extra assistance with handling things with their hands when they have CTS. Opening cans, sometimes even opening doors depending on how fragile the hands are, and preparing food can cause problems for them.
Whether they are in a rest home or in their own homes, they will need assistance so that they don’t make things worse, and so that they know they are supported and don’t have to do it all alone.
Doctors will recommend more times than none for them to wear braces or splints at night. The nighttime is a good time to wear those devices because it’s in the night when we do things involuntarily especially with our hands and wrists.
You may have to be a reminder for them being sure they use the devices along with medications. You may also have to remind them about being more conscious with repetitive movements and to perform the exercises we discussed.
On top of that, seeing a chiropractor can be helpful. Many times, seniors wonder what seeing a chiropractor costs, and many times, it’s very affordable. They shouldn’t be worried about the price because many chiropractors will work with seniors with a payment plan. Plus, chiropractic care is much more affordable than surgery.
Seniors deserve to live their best life even while dealing with CTS.