Because swelling inside the carpal tunnel can be one of the main causes of nerve compression, it's important to do things to minimize swelling. That's especially true after you've had carpal tunnel surgery. We want the swelling around the nerve to resolve as quickly as possible. Gravity is one of the things we can use to simply minimize swelling around the nerve. If you're waking up at night with numbness and tingling in your hand or if you're having symptoms during activities throughout the day, the first thing you can do is simply elevate your hand higher than your heart. Gravity will then help to pull some of the fluid out of the hand and can help to minimize the pressure on the nerve and relieve symptoms. Other things that can resolve swelling are light motion exercises with the hand elevated to encourage pushing fluid out of the hand and into the arm and allowing it to resolve. Because gravity is effective as an assistant, it's also potentially harmful if you're not using it right? So if you're having symptoms during activities, you really want to be careful not to hold your hand down and swing it at your side for long periods of time when you're walking or running. Elevate your hand periodically and allow the fluid to come out and to allow the swelling to resolve. Icing can also be helpful to help resolve swelling. So if you're feeling tight, if your symptoms are worsening and elevation is not helping, you may want to apply an ice pack or soak your hand for a few minutes in an ice bath to help resolve some of the swelling and minimize the symptoms.
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