John was very excited about his upcoming motorcycle race and his buddies were all set to cheer for him. But they all had to give up on the entire plan just a few days before the race. The reason? He complained of numb hands and fingers within minutes of riding during practice. He was diagnosed with CRT or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. It is quite common for bike riders to develop this problem.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Initial symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may range from slight tingling sensations, burning, itching or numbness of hands and fingers. When you suffer from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, your hand feels numb and you lose control over your fingers. There is also a lot of pain intermittently and your hand or both hands may feel weak, though symptoms first show up in the dominant hand. In acute cases, you could even lose the sensation of hot and cold touch.
There is a median nerve running from the forearm to the palm of your hand, and when this nerve gets squeezed or pressed at the wrist, you experience numbness and pain in your hands, fingers and even all the way to your upper arm. The nerve is housed in the Carpal Tunnel in your wrist along with some tendons.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is generally associated with people who work a lot on the computer, because typing constantly puts pressure on the median nerve in the Carpal Tunnel. However, motorcycle riders can also suffer from this problem because while riding, the wrists are flexed while gripping the handlebars. The vibrations experienced while riding could make the tendons in the wrist swell and this could in turn put pressure on the nerve. When the rider twists the throttle, it only adds to the pressure as the wrist flexes more. Moreover, if any bumps are hit while the wrist is flexed, it could send violent jerks to the nerve, making the condition worse.
Constantly gripping the handle of the bike along with the vibrations brings on this condition. An example can be taken of construction workers who also grip heavily vibrating construction tools for hours together. For a motorcycle rider, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome while riding means that they could lose the feel of the motorcycle and the road. This could be very dangerous, no matter what the speed is.
Solutions and Precautions
If diagnosed early, some precautions along with appropriate treatment can prevent permanent damage to the median nerve. Try to follow your doctor’s advice as much as you can and keep away from riding for a while.
Rest and Medication
Give your wrist some rest from riding. During the rest, try some ice-packs and also take anti-inflammatory medicines suggested by your physician. You might also need cortisone injections if the condition is severe. Acupuncture could also help alleviate the pain, but you should try this only if suggested by your physician and get it done only by a certified professional.
When You Go Riding
Keeping the wrist in neutral position while riding will keep your wrist from getting stretched or flexed. Keep your grip firm but avoid a tight grip completely. Check your position and sit upright so that the pressure on hands is reduced. Posture also depends on the distance between the saddle and handlebars. Make sure it is not too much. Similarly, low or very high handlebars also put a lot of pressure on your arms, back and shoulders.
Make These Small Changes
- If your gloves are too tight at the wrist, discard them as any kind of constriction on your wrist or forearm will only worsen the condition.
- Some handlebars are shaped in a manner that they could hurt your wrist, arms, back and shoulders too. Switching handlebars could solve the issue.
- Have a bar snake inserted in the handlebars. This will reduce vibration. Having weighted bar-ends and getting foam grips also works similarly.
- You could try wearing a brace to keep your wrist from getting flexed. There are many kinds of braces available look stylish and are comfortable, too.
Follow the above tips if you are a rider, and save yourself from Carpal Tunnel trouble.
Author Bio: Sameer Gupta is a well-known writer who provides meaningful information regarding the latest technologies and apps which in turn helps surgeons to improvise on their specific tasks. These articles help patients understand the latest treatment options that are available to them.