Why Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Feel Worse at Night?
By Sara Butler
Do you have carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and are you seeing a chiropractor for it? If you are, you may be wondering why -- even though the treatments seem to be working great -- you are still experiencing worse symptoms at night. Well, there’s a very good reason why most people who suffer from CTS seem to have their worst symptoms at night.
CTS Symptoms at Night
If you’re losing sleep at night due to carpal tunnel pain or it’s making it difficult to get to sleep, it probably has to do with the wrist. Part of why you have carpal tunnel has to do with how you’re able to hold your wrist during everyday activities. Maybe you got it due to a repetitive injury, such as too much typing at your computer keyboard. Whatever the reason, it often rears its ugly head at night because it is very difficult to hold your wrist in an ideal position that won’t irritate nerves, ligaments, muscles and tendons that are already painful and irritated. When you sleep you have the tendency to curl your wrist in, either resting it under your chin or bending it back to rest under your head. Whatever position you prefer, chances are it’s not the best position for your wrist.
Pressure in Your Wrist
At night, these positions increase the pressure inside of your wrist, and your CTS symptoms are aggravated. This is why your chiropractor may have spoken with you about wearing a wrist splint at night in order to keep your wrist in a neutral position that won’t cause your symptoms to be worse as you’re trying to get some restorative sleep.
Other Things to Consider
It’s not just your wrist position at night that can be an issue, your posture during the day is also very important. How you sit at your computer and use the keyboard is obviously going to be very important since this may have been the source of your injury in the first place.
You also have to watch how you type when you use touchscreen devices such as your smartphone or tablet. Surprisingly, in studies, typing on your device while lying down in bed was found to create a more natural elbow position than typing at a desk, and extended the wrists more. But in these same studies, it was found most people with CTS found typing at a desk with a wider keyboard to be the most tolerable in how it impacted their CTS symptoms.
If you suffer from CTS and find that at nighttime it is much worse, talk to your chiropractor about it. They may have some very good suggestions about not only what you can do at night to be more comfortable, but what you can do during the day to set you up for feeling better at night.