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Wrist Braces and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Do those wristbands they sell help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome?


Evidence suggests that wearing wrist braces does not prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. In fact, wearing a non-prescribed brace may worsen symptoms or contribute to a strain in another part of the body.

Wrist BraceThe Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Wrist Brace is used for therapeutic purposes. It has been known to relieve pain, tingling and numbness due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

One of our clients was in the early stages of a carpal tunnel injury and in considerable pain; her doctor prescribed a wrist brace to be worn overnight. She felt that it helped her prevent progression of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and may have helped her prevent need for surgery.

Another client found out that the brace is hazardous…to her spouse. Some of these braces are large, heavy, and hard. While sleeping she rolled over and smacked her husband (mistakenly she claimed) in the face giving him a bloody nose. So warn your spouse that they should wear a catchers mask in bed to prevent getting hurt in bed.

Wearing a wrist brace has been known to: place stress on other joints; cause weakness of muscles (atrophy); or reduce joint mobility.

It is important to understand that the brace is designed to be used while resting or sleeping. It is supposed to immobilize the hand and wrist while reducing inflammation, painful throbbing, tingling and numbness caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

According to OSHA Ergonomics (1910.500): "Wrist splints/braces which are post-injury devices used to speed rehabilitation, are not considered personal protective equipment."

The American Industrial Hygiene Association explains that: "wrist splints and braces may present serious problems. Wrist splints or braces used to keep the wrist straight during work are not recommended, unless prescribed by a physician for rehabilitation. Using a splint to achieve the same end may cause more harm than good since the work orientation may require workers to bend their wrists. If workers are wearing wrist splints, they may have to use more force to work against the brace. This is not only inefficient, it may actually increase the pressure in the carpal tunnel area, causing more damage to the hand and wrist."

A more effective way to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome is to have a person trained in ergonomics review your workstation identify ergonomic hazard and control or eliminate the risks by adjusting your work station tools.

Dave Pfeil - ErgoMan

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