Weighing 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
- 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?”
- 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.