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Monday, May 7, 2012

Carpal Tunnel - Tips For Hairstyling

If you suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome like I do, you know how much of a challenge it can be to complete even a simple hairstyle- and even sometimes just holding a comb!
  Here are some things I do to get through hairstyling with as little strain as possible.

What is Carpal Tunnel?

Carpal Tunnel is a condition characterized by pain and numbing or tingling sensations in the hand and caused by compression of a nerve in the carpal tunnel at the wrist.
What causes Carpal Tunnel?

One thing is repetitive movement, such as typing, knitting and hairstyling

You know what it feels like when part of your body falls asleep? Imagine trying to style your or your child's hair with one or more fingers, a whole hand or both hands asleep.  
Now imagine how it feels when you have been writing for a very long time and your wrist is sore (maybe even both wrists), and add that pain to the numbness and/or tingling feeling. This is what it's like for me.

*I won't get into too much medical detail, because if you have Carpal Tunnel, you know what I'm talking about.  If you want to find out more, there are several online information sources and you should consult your doctor if you are experiencing any pain, numbness and/or tingling in your fingers, hands or wrists.  The information in this post is meant as a suggestion only and is not a cure or definite diagnosis.

One thing that I do is prepare for styling. Sometimes I will start to prepare a day or more ahead of time- if my hands and/or fingers are in a lot of pain or if it's something I think will take me an extra long time.

Several hours before I sit C down to do her hair, I rest my hands. When you do this, you want to keep your hands flat and straight with your fingers spread slightly. This also sometimes helps me to relieve pain.

Try not to use your hands more than possible when you will be styling hair. I always let the dishes and other house work go until after I have finished a hairstyle, or if it can't wait I do things in short intervals.

Using ergonomic gloves helps a lot. I usually only wear them to bed when I'm having a lot of pain in my fingers and/or hands and wrists.

Take lots of breaks. maintaining a constant grasp (like when holding a comb) and repetitive movement (like cornrowing) are big contributors to carpal tunnel pain or discomfort.

Doing hand exercises can help, and I do these before I begin a style and during breaks.

Along with these, I wiggle my fingers around like I'm typing really fast but with my fingers straight instead of bent- (like they are during typing).
I like to use vapor rub on my hands and wrists. It cools and soothes, and I like the mentholated scent. :)

Hot water feels good, but doesn't really take the pain away.
There are several things you can do to help relieve some of the pain caused by carpal tunnel. Surgery is also an option, but I don't want to take that measure as of right now. You should talk to your doctor about your symptoms and get tested if you think you have carpal tunnel.

Is there anyone else suffering from this too? If so, what do you do to get through hairstyling time and are there certain styles you can't or won't do?
I hope this can help someone else out there. You don't have to give up hairstyling do to Carpal Tunnel ! :)

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