Tunnel Wrist Brace
I get asked and emailed a lot about the value and the use of carpal tunnel wrist braces and night splints. I truly have mixed feelings about these devices. I see a lot of patients who get fitted and prescribed to use a carpal tunnel wrist brace and night splints to cure their carpal tunnel pain. Occupational therapists will typically design a carpal tunnel wrist brace so that your hand can be immobilized to reduce inflammation, swelling and irritation of the carpal tunnel. The word immobilization is always a scary word for me because each time you immobilize any joint or muscle, it loses function.
The value of just reducing movement is not a cure for your carpal tunnel, cubital tunnel or whatever (they all are related) symptoms you have going on. There is value in the fact of using a brace or a night splint to rest the area. However, our bodies crave movement and motion, so, ultimately, this solution is a band aid instead of a cure. Focusing on postural muscle imbalance and the reasons which caused your body to get imbalanced caused carpal tunnel is the solution.
What is postural muscle imbalance? This is a condition that occurs when your body is placed under the same poor habitual positions day in and day out, for example sitting in the car for a few hours per day, sitting in front of a computer all day, standing all day etc. Certain muscles get developed more than others, certain muscles get real lazy and lose their function. They stop maintaining your normal spinal S-curve and peripheral joints (shoulders, elbows and wrists). What will occur over time the dreaded symptoms of carpal tunnel.
If this cycle is not stopped the damage continues and you can lose use of your hand for months which can affect your ability to provide for yourself and your family. Other conditions such as headaches, "frozen shoulder", low back pain are all symptoms that can accompany your carpal tunnel because of postural muscle imbalance.
"Hold it Tom - are you trying to scare me?" Well, sort of, because this is your health and future we are talking about. You need to stop this cycle, and the earlier the better. To do this you need to follow simple postural muscle balance restoration exercises. Read more about carpal tunnel wrist support here.