How to Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Seniors at Home

Carpal tunnel is the swelling of a pinched nerve that can cause pain, numbness, and sometimes swelling in the wrist that can greatly affect the ability to accomplish simple daily tasks because we use our hands for many, many things. While carpal tunnel affects millions of people in the general population of all ages, it is more common among adults over the age of 55. The increased risk of carpal tunnel syndrome along with the already decreasing mobility older adults face can leave seniors feeling helpless when attempting to accomplish simple day-to-day tasks, necessary tasks around the house, or even simple self care. While you’ll want to contact your primary care provider for individualized care treatment, these following home treatments may help reduce the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Wrist exercises/stretches

These exercises can be done once in the day or even a few times throughout the day or whenever needed really. If you feel pain or pain worsens, then don’t force anything. Just stop and wait so as to not make matters potentially worse. 

Finger stretch

Stretch your fingers on both hands as wide as possible and hold for about 10 seconds and then relax. Repeat a few times either by doing both hands at the same time or alternating if you wish. 

Wrist flexion

Hold your arm straight in front of you with your palm facing downward. Next, bend your wrist downward and keep your hand straight, so that your palm is now facing toward you and fingers towards the ground.  Use your other hand to gently pull your fingers towards your body, hold for a minimum of 20 seconds, then relax and repeat on the other side. Do as many times as you would like!

Thumb exercise

Start with either hand. Take the tip of every other finger (besides the thumb) and try to touch it to the tip of the thumb to make an “O” shape. Repeat a couple of times on one hand and then switch to the other hand.

Shake, shake, and shake again!

Just relax your hands and fingers then shake your hands out for a few seconds. That’s it! Repeat as needed. 

Wrist Splints 

Keeping one’s wrists straight can help to relieve pressure from the pinched nerve that causes carpal tunnel pain. Wearing splints a few hours throughout the day may prevent or relieve this pain. You may want to determine what time of day most of the symptoms start (for many people this happens in the evening) and put on the splint beforehand to prevent symptoms before they start. 

Ice Packs 

If your hands and wrists are painful from swelling and inflammation you may want to consider ice packs or frozen gel packs. Simply get an ice pack from the freezer, wrap it in a towel, and apply it to the affected area. Remember never to apply an ice pack directly to the skin. If your hands feel stiff beforehand do not attempt any cold ice treatments and consider trying a warm water soak instead. 

Warm Water Soaks 

Keeping your hands warm can reduce pain associated with stiffness that may occur. Warm water soaks (with or without epsom salt) once to a few times a day may relax and warm your hand joints and wrists enough to reduce pain. You might also consider wearing fingerless gloves or keeping a hand warmer nearby. 

 

Activity modification

When doing tasks throughout the day, especially repetitive ones, modify the tasks to reduce strain by taking more frequent breaks, relaxing your grip, reducing your force, keeping one’s wrist straight if possible, or asking someone else to take over the task instead (such as an in-home caregiver or qualified nurse from Professional Caretakers. 

 

Medication

Discuss with your doctor or primary care provider what pain medications may work best for you and follow the instructions given whether it is prescribed or over-the-counter. If you have trouble remembering to take or organizing your medications, an in-home caregiver or nurse from Professional Caretakers would be happy to assist with this. 

 

Need more help?

If carpal tunnel syndrome has affected you or a loved one’s ability to function daily or accomplish much needed tasks, contact us at Professional Caretakers to find out how one of our highly qualified in-home caretakers and/or nurses can help. We will be able to provide a caretaker and/or nurse well versed in the effects of carpal tunnel syndrome (as well as other medical needs) to provide the best possible care through providing direct relief treatments and ensuring that essential daily tasks (like cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, etc.) are done consistently.

 

Medical Disclaimer: The information in this post is for informational and educational purposes only and is not meant to replace or substitute the care of a physician or other qualified care provider. Always seek the advice and assistance of your physician or primary care provider.