Dec 16, 2013

Share Button

Day vs Night Bracing for CTS

day vs night bracingWeighing the pros and cons of day vs night bracing for your carpal tunnel symptoms is crucial and can help you to make the decision of what to purchase for your specific needs.  In this article we will be discussing the possible benefits of wrist braces during the day and night, as well as wearing them at night.  Wrist braces are viewed as beneficial to relieving carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, but you must first decide if it is right for you.

If you were to break a bone in your hand, wrist or arm, this particular injury often will require a splint to prevent movement so that the bone can heal.  Splinting works great for our bones, and aids in the healing process.  But muscles and tendons work oppositely of bones.  Muscles require movement.  Without movement, fluids such as blood and lymph are compromised and cannot function properly as the body needs it to.  When these bodily fluids move, they transport wastes away and out of the wrist.  Blood and lymph also supply healing nutrients to the tissues and nerves, including the median nerve, which causes carpal tunnel syndrome.  With that said, when your body fluids are in motion, your carpal tunnel benefits.

If you wear a tight brace during the day or night, it will prevent important nutrients from traveling into your hand and wrist, an unwanted occurrence.  Using a wrist brace causes other muscles to attempt to over compensate for the minimal amount of work that the wrist performs – due to the brace.  This can cause additional muscle strain in the elbow or shoulder.  This then results in the elbow and shoulder attempting to do the job that the wrist muscles are meant to do.

So, should you wear a wrist brace, and what are the pros and cons of particular braces?

DAY vs Night Bracing

Day Bracing

  • Pros – During the day, your muscles need to work, simply because you need to work and accomplish day-to-day tasks.  A day brace can be very beneficial in supporting the wrist and helping to relieve the onset of pain while performing these daily tasks.  However, it is advised that you wear the wrist brace somewhat loosely so that the blood and lymph fluids can remain in motion.  Wearing the brace loosely also allows your wrist to move freely, with the added support that you are looking for.
  • Cons – With the same concept in mind, day-to-day tasks must still be accomplished, but a wrist brace might end up getting in the way.  Several job positions may make it tough to wear a brace during the day while performing necessary job responsibilities.  For example, a massage therapist might find it difficult to offer a massage to someone if he or she is wearing a wrist brace.  So the question may then become, “What alternative methods can be taken to alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms throughout the day?”

Night Bracing

  • Pros – Wrist braces, particularly worn at night, can be very beneficial in relieving associated pain with carpal tunnel syndrome.  Resting the wrist in the brace aids in immobilizing and decreasing any swelling around the median nerve.  The idea is to stabilize the wrist and keep it from moving, curling up or becoming compromised in any way.  Also, bracing the wrist at night can help to prevent any additional injuries from exacerbating.
  • Cons – Some people find night bracing uncomfortable when sleeping.  It takes some time to get use to night bracing and you should gradually work your way up until you can sleep with it all night.  Also, some night braces do not allow movement of any of the fingers, which makes it where you have to have help to do anything if you wake up in the middle of the night.

As a bottom line, it is advisable to wear a brace during the day and night in order to prevent further damage and to aid in supporting the wrist as a whole.  Keeping the wrist in a calm and neutral position will help to accelerate healing of the condition.  Bracing during the day can alleviate pain, and bracing at night can help to increase quality of sleep without the injured area swelling and becoming painful.  On the other hand, bracing will not become a permanent fix for carpal tunnel syndrome.  It is advised that you consult with a doctor regarding any wrist pain or injury.

Share Button

  • Diamond Grant

    A day brace seems like it would be really practical for most people considering that many people probably experience the most discomfort while performing tasks that they have to (i.e. typing) during the day. Thus, that extra support would help in the alleviation of that pain so long as it is worn properly. I do agree that the brace could become problematic if it starts to interfere in day to day tasks. Then it becomes more irritating than just dealing with the pain in all likelihood.

    • T.J.

      The few times that I have a carpal tunnel flareup i do wear a brace during a day. They don’t happen often but my flareups are really bad- to the point that I cant turn my wrist or pinch my fingers.The braces help alleviate that pain and helps the flareup subside faster.

  • Julia

    Day vs. Night bracing has always been a struggle for me. I never know
    whether I should wear a day brace or a night brace and I definitely
    don’t want to wear both. I want to just wear it whenever it would be
    most beneficial and this post has helped me decide that. It’s nice to
    see the pros and cons to both. Since the cons to night bracing aren’t as
    big of a deal to me (I don’t find it too uncomfortable at night. Once
    I’m sleeping, I’m asleep) I’m only going to wear mine at night from now
    on.

  • Joy

    Whether you choose a day brace or a night, I imagine it would take some time to get used to wearing it. We are not used to having our wrist kept at a neutral position so this would feel a bit odd until the brace had been worn for some time. A night brace would probably be a better adjustment than a day brace because you wouldn’t be doing anything but sleeping, whereas during the day you would actually have activities to do that would cause you to notice how oddly placed your wrist is.

    • Danny

      Actually for some people the night brace is harder. During the day you are active yes but there are things to take your mind off the brace. At night, many people do not realize the positions they sleep in. With the brace some of those positions may not be possible so they wake up more often and have a harder time staying asleep.

  • Mara

    For me, wearing a brace at night is difficult, simply because I have an 8 month old son who wakes up a lot during the night. So that would be a very difficult adjustment for me to get used to since I am up with him constantly. During the day, however, the brace that I have has been very helpful in alleviating the sensations that I have from CTS, which started after my pregnancy began.

  • Sarah Jo Coryell

    I am one of the individuals who has used day bracing for many years. I do a lot of writing and computer work as part of my job. So I have CTS flare ups often and wear a brace when I am working. However, I have never been able to wear the braces at night as they are very uncomfortable and keep me up half the night.

    • T.J.

      I only have to wear a brace once in a while and I too only wear them during the day. Like you, I find it hard to sleep in them because the are uncomfortable and tend to get very hot and itchy when I am trying to get to sleep. If I had to I would learn to adjust but it would be hard for me to wear the braces at night.

    • Patrick M.

      I must be opposite because I adjusted faster to night time bracing. During the day it felt like it was in the way and I was clumsy and couldn’t perform as fast or as well with the brace on. At night, it took a little while for me to get comfortable but by the third day it was like I was not even wearing it at night- it took a good week or more to get used to the day time brace.

  • Lois

    I have found that my body will tell me when and when not to wear my braces. I have both say and night braces. During the day, I will instinctively take my brace off to do some light stretches and exercises with my wrist and to “air it out” a little more. At night, I can usually leave it on for my full 8 hours of sleep but when I start feeling tight or numb, my body will wake me up and I will take it off. My point is, don’t fret too much over when you should be wearing these. You will find out for yourself over time.

  • Harris

    I guess that is the conundrum that people who wear wrist braces usually have to face; if they leave the wrist immobilized, it will be kept in the optimal position but it won’t be able to work out the kinks. If the aPallo wrist brace system really can allow for mobility but also keep your wrist in the neutral position when you aren’t moving it, then they’ve got the right idea.

  • Rock

    We really like a good article on thumb health and thumb braces. I am not sure how we could missed your article. Do you mind if we share this information to our members? Thanks in advance.
    Thumbbrace.org