Pain, tingling, or numbness in your fingers is one sign of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. This common condition affects people in all kinds of work, but especially those who perform repeated tasks with their hands and fingers; data entry, meat packing, and even activities like cycling and gymnastics are common causes.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome when there’s pressure on your median nerve. The median nerve helps the hand and fingers move and supplies sensation to the
first three and a half fingers. So when the median nerve is compressed in the carpal tunnel--a narrow path in your wrist made of bone and ligament--a numb and tingly feeling in your thumb and the next two and a half fingers can occur.
How Does a Wrist Brace Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Bending the wrist for a prolonged time is one cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Because most people bend their wrists while sleeping, the pressure on the median nerve can worsen the pain, numbness, and tingly feeling.
A wrist brace--sometimes referred to as a splint--is kind of like a fingerless glove that keeps your wrist in a straight position. Using it minimizes pressure on the median nerve. This allows you a period of relative rest from movements that make Carpal Tunnel Syndrome worse.
In 2012, a research study found that using a wrist brace at night did more to relieve the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Symptoms than using no treatment at all.
But you might consider using the brace at other times. Wearing a brace during the day--especially during activities that cause signs and symptoms--can provide relief. So, if your job allows for it, try wearing a brace at work.
How to Choose a Wrist Brace
Wrist braces are available without a prescription. Physical and occupational therapists can even make custom-fit splints that may be more comfortable to wear. Below are some guidelines to help when choosing a brace for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
- The brace should maintains your wrist and hand in a straight--or neutral--position
- Because you will be wearing it while sleeping, the brace should be comfortable
- The fabric of the brace should be breathable
- The wrist brace should be easy to put on and taken off
- Velcro straps help ease the donning and doffing (putting on and taking off) process
- The brace should not be too tight as this can restrict blood flow
- The brace should be washable
If using the brace for carpal tunnel syndrome does not help, consider physical or occupational therapy for proper stretching and strengthening exercises. Seeing an orthopedic surgeon might also be indicated.