Nov 5, 2013

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Bracing for Carpal Tunnel

bracing for carpal tunnelBracing for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can help to alleviate and prevent wrist injuries and pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when there is pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. This is usually due to issues with weight, previous injury to the wrist, or forming repetitive hand movements such as typing, texting and driving. Wearing a carpal tunnel wrist brace can help support your wrist and keep it in a neutral position, either straight or slightly bent. There are even wrist braces meant to be worn at night to help while you sleep, which will provide consistent relief for any carpal tunnel symptoms.

Daytime Bracing for Carpal Tunnel

Using a brace during the day is recommended to help hold the wrist for support, but holding your wrist up yourself is also recommended to build the muscles to support the hand and wrist area. During the day, consider a brace with a free palm design that allows for easier and better gripping functions. One that properly positions and supports the wrist is pertinent in strengthening and remaining neutral. You will also want to consider comfort, easy application of the brace and appropriate metal support to allow for freeing the hands for daily functions.

Nighttime Bracing for Carpal Tunnel

Bracing for carpal tunnel is most recommended at night when holding the wrist in a neutral position is important. Wearing a brace at night is especially helpful to those with more severe issues because it prevents them from making a fist or curling the wrist. Sleeping with the hands in a flexed position causes ligaments around the carpal tunnel to become even more tight and shorter. This could cause further damage to the median nerve increasing the pain.

Conclusion

Overall, the pain developed from carpal tunnel syndrome in the wrists may worsen unless the work environment and daily routines are changed. However helpful a brace may be in alleviating pain, reducing activities that cause pain and inflammation in the hands will ultimately benefit you. Taking breaks and finding alternative movements and wearing a brace for the wrist and hands will allow you to find better results when approaching wrist pain.

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  • Stephanie Schneider

    I never knew the different reasons and ways a brace should be worn during the day versus night. Since the daytime brace is used to support the wrist, but holding the wrist up yourself supports muscle development, would you recommend wearing the brace for just a part of the day?

    • Kevin C.

      My wife would wear her brace when she was doing major computer work since that is what would set off her carpal tunnel the most. Sometimes it seemed like she lived in the day time brace but other times she only needed to during certain activities- like the five hours she spent at night making up PowerPoints and lesson plans for the week.

  • Jerry

    Since typing and texting are some of the repetitive motions associated with carpal tunnel, I would be interested in research that shows an increase in the diagnosed cases in the last few years, when digital media seems to have exploded. I am not sure if this research exists yet, but I’m sure it will soon enough.

    • Rachel B

      Interesting thought, Jerry. I think you are probably right. Typing could definitely be a huge contributing factor. I saw the post about ergonomic keyboards, and I think those would provide a multitude of benefits for anyone with an office job. A perfect Christmas gift for the typist in your life!

    • Rebecca

      I’m not a doctor or anything, but my personal guess would be that the number of people diagnosed with carpal tunnel has most likely risen substantially in the past decade. But just as Rachel said, if more people take advantage of using an ergonomic keyboard, that number may begin to decrease.

    • Michele

      I’d love to try an ergonomic keyboard. It would be great if work places started providing them. All that may not be realistic.

    • Chell

      Working in a busy ortho office, it’s amazing how many young people would undergo carpal tunnel release surgery. I’m blaming technology.

  • Rachel B

    If someone has mild symptoms, could they do only the nighttime bracing and still see relief? It seems like it would be an easy to incorporate nighttime ritual, like wearing a retainer at night. It could be distracting during the day, but I am sure someone wearing it would get used to it quickly.

    • palomedical

      If you are only going to wear one brace it should be the nighttime brace because it will give you the most support at a time when most people sleep in ways which make the conditions worse. Some people struggle getting use to sleeping with a brace but we recommend starting off wearing it for a couple hours a night and increasing it as you can. Usually by two weeks you will be able to sleep the entire night with the brace.

  • Chell

    Interesting. I didn’t know there were braces for day and night for CTS.

  • Julia

    I have used nighttime and daytime braces but although these both do help, just as stated above, nothing will get better unless you change your daily routines. If you have carpal tunnel, no matter how often you wear a brace, if you type on a keyboard 8 hours a day, you’re symptoms won’t improve too drastically.

  • Kevin C.

    I have not had to use bracing too much but my wife sure has! She does a lot of writing and computer work since she is a college instructor and tutor and she has had to live in her wrist braces some semesters because her carpal tunnel flareups have been so bad!

    • Sarah Jo Coryell

      I feel her pain! I too spend a great deal of time at the computer since I am a professional freelance writer and editor. There are some days I have no problems with carpal tunnel and I can sometimes go weeks without needing the brace but then all of a sudden it catches up to me and I have the brace on for days at a time. Gotta love living with carpal tunnel eh? LOL