Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Naturally
By Marc Courtiol
August 1, 2012
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition that usually takes the form of aches and numbness in the thumb, fingers, and wrists, and in severe cases it can cause chronic pain, aches in the arm, and decreased functionality of the hand and fingers. The condition results from compression of the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway through the wrist, usually during repetitive motions. People whose work requires them to perform repeated, forceful motions with their hand and wrist are at greatest risk.
In general, carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated, and the damage to the area of the wrist can be healed. However, people who have carpal tunnel syndrome tend to experience it again and again through their lives. In severe cases, the condition may lead to irreparable nerve damage, in which case it can only be treated but never fully healed.
If you have a serious case of carpal tunnel syndrome—i.e., one that comes with lots of pain or that has lasted months—then it is crucial for you to see a doctor before the condition gets even worse. But if you have a minor case and are interested in trying self-treatment, there are many natural remedies that can ease the condition or improve it entirely. Here are some things to try.
Eat well and exercise: This point of advice may seem like a no-brainer, but it must be emphasized. When you all your body’s systems are running smoothly, your wrists and hands will get greater circulation, which decreases the chances that you will suffer ill effects. Just by eating nutritionally, getting plenty of exercise, and making time for a full-night’s sleep, you can significantly reduce your CTS pain.
Give yourself breaks: CTS typically results from long hours of repetitive motions of the hand and wrist. One way to help prevent damage to the nerves in the wrist is to give yourself regular breaks. If you find you have been working for more than an hour without stop, put down what you are doing and take at least five minutes to get some physical activity and shake out your wrist.
Train your other hand: Although most of us are much more comfortable with one hand than the other, it is possible to train your other hand to perform tasks as well as your favored one. For example, if your CTS results from the use of a mouse or touchpad, you might find that you can do this just as well with your other hand after only a couple of hours of practice. It will be difficult at first, but soon you will grow comfortable. After that, you can switch hands regularly to give each a break.
Improve posture: Although CTS is centered on the wrist, it is important to keep in mind that all our muscles and nerves are connected, and the damage associated with CTS is often linked to poor posture and slouching, which compress the nerve passageways. Sit up straight while you are working, and be conscious of how you hold your arm and wrist.
Use ergonomic work equipment: If you work at a desk, make sure that all your equipment is designed for maximum comfort and to minimize aches and pains. Purchasing these items can be expensive, but it is often worth the investment.