Carpal tunnel syndrome is a debilitating pain, numbness or tingling in hands and fingers. But what is carpal tunnel syndrome? It’s a disease inside the carpal tunnel of the wrist. Your flexor tendons run close to the median nerve.
The flexor’s tendons are surrounded by a fluid sheath that swells and presses against the medial nerve, causing pain and discomfort when there is a sudden movement in the wrist.
This article will explore whether wearing a carpal tunnel brace during the night is beneficial.
Let’s jump in.
Should you take off your wrist brace at night?
If your doctor has prescribed a particular brace that should be worn through the night, you should follow your doctor’s advice. And if you need a new wrist branse check the article here.
However, the general advice for carpal tunnel braces is to wear them sparingly day and night, depending on the severity of the condition and pain.
The problem with wearing a carpal tunnel brace through the night is your body tends to fight against the brace even while you are sleeping. Fighting against the brace makes carpal tunnel symptoms worse.
If your doctor has not told you to wear the carpal tunnel brace through the night, don’t wear it when you sleep.
What is the best way to sleep with carpal tunnel pain?
If you are sleeping without your carpal tunnel brace, try the following methods to avoid pain:
- Don’t bend your arm while you sleep. It may sound like a tall order, but if you can place a pillow next to you and place your arm on the pillow for support, it will prevent you from bending your arm and making sudden movements with your wrist.
- Avoid wearing a night splint or brace. Your body has a natural tendency to resist splints or braces that can result in increased pain in the hands and fingers.
- Keep your hand and arm warm. You will increase blood flow to the area bringing nutrients and minerals for healing. Compression gloves are fingerless, so they will not restrict movement.
- Try not to sleep on your side. It may seem obvious, but sleeping on your side will reduce blood flow. Sleeping on your side is associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Those who sleep on their side are more likely to sleep in the fetal position. If you sleep in the fetal position, you typically have your shoulders rounded forward with your arms and wrists bent. The pressure on your shoulder and arm from your body weight combined with bent arms may lead to nerve compression.
- Shake out your hands. Some people report that shaking out their hands before bed helps to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Shaking out the hands can free the swelling in the hands and increase blood flow. You may want to try this a few times during the night.
- Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication. To help minimise swelling and pain, many doctors and physical therapists will advise using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine. Ibuprofen and naproxen, two over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, are effective painkillers for a brief period of time. Before taking a new medicine, discuss with your primary care physician any current medications you are taking.
- Apply ice. An easy and affordable technique to get treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is to apply ice to your wrist before bed. For 10 to 15 minutes, apply an ice pack to the back of your wrist to minimise swelling and nerve sensitivity. Never go to sleep with an ice pack on your body since it could seriously harm your skin.
These are effective techniques to try before you sleep and while you are in bed.
Why is carpal tunnel worse at night?
Carpal; tunnel syndrome becomes more at night due to the inactivity of the limb. In other words, when you are resting, swelling around the area can occur, which increases pressure and pain.
To clear excess fluids, your muscles need to be active to push the fluids away from the problem area.
What is the fastest way to get rid of carpal tunnel?
Carpal tunnel syndrome responds to many different stimuli, and you can find fast relief from pain by doing the following:
- If you are typing or using a power tool, take regular breaks, say every 10 minutes, shake your hands, and flex your fingers.
- Wear splints on your wrists during the day, and be mindful to remove the sprint frequently.
- Be more relaxed when working. A tight grig exacerbates carpal tunnel syndrome; use a soft grip pen and tap the keyboard-less vigorously.
- Keep your wrist in a neutral position, and try not to over-flex the wrist.
- Exercise the wrists. You can do quick wrist exercises while standing in line at the store or sitting at your desk at work. For example, make a fist and then slide your fingers until they are straight again. Repeat this action five to 10 times.
- Hands up. Elevate your hands and arms frequently as if you were asking the school teacher a question. This will prevent fluid build-ups around the wrists.
- Over-the-counter medications will help relieve pain and reduce swelling.
How long should I wear a wrist brace for carpal tunnel?
The average time is 4 to 8 weeks or until your symptoms have subsided. But wear the wrist brace sparingly, having frequent breaks from the brace to prevent pressure building in the wrist from tension.
What will happen if carpal tunnel syndrome is not treated?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is painful, so it is unlikely you will leave it to get worse. If you do decide not to treat the condition, you may experience weakness of the hand and wrist, a lack of coordination and in severe conditions, you could have permanent nerve damage.
If you have carpal tunnel syndrome and your daily routine is being disrupted due to pain and restricted movement, it’s time to see a doctor.
Surgery is sometimes required to fix the problem, but it is day surgery without complications with a speedy recovery period.