Inside each wrist is a narrow passage called the carpal tunnel. Running through this tunnel are nine tendons that move your fingers, along with the median nerve. These tendons can become inflammed and swell, compressing the nerve. Repetitive hand motion is one well-known cause of carpal tunnel syndrome, but other factors include pregnancy, birth-control pills, rheumatoid arthritis, and being overweight. Try these natural home remedies to provide relief.
What you can do for carpal tunnel syndrome
• To quickly ease the pain and inflammation caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, cool your wrists with an ice pack wrapped in a thin towel. Leave it on for about 10 minutes. You can repeat the treatment every hour or so.
• Heat can also ease pain by relaxing muscles. Soak your hands and wrists in warm to hot water for 12 to 15 minutes before you go to bed each night.
• Wear a splint at night. While sleeping, you may be bending your hand and wrist under your pillow, and this puts pressure on your wrist. In fact, people with carpal tunnel syndrome are often awakened by the pain. A splint will hold your fingers in a neutral position and relieve pressure on the median nerve. You can purchase the splint in a medical supply store or pharmacy, but be sure to check with your doctor or physical therapist to make sure it fits properly.
• You may also want to wear a splint during the day, especially if you’re doing jobs that require a lot of hand motion.
A natural boost for carpal tunnel syndrome treatment
• Twice a day, rub your wrists with an ointment containing arnica. This herbal treatment, renowned for its anti-inflammatory properties, helps ease aches and pains. Dab the inside of each wrist with about one-quarter teaspoon of the ointment, then massage that area with the thumb of the other hand, all the way to the base of your palm. Repeat every morning and night until your symptoms ease.
• Bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapples, digests inflammatory proteins, so it can reduce inflammation in your sore wrists. Along with reducing the pain, it may help you heal faster.
• The herb St. John’s wort, best known as an antidepressant, can also help repair nerve damage and reduce carpal tunnel syndrome pain and inflammation.
• Take a tablespoon of flaxseed oil every day, and give it at least two weeks to have an effect. Flaxseed oil is extremely rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation. Take it with food for better absorption. If you like, you can mix it into your orange juice or add it to your salad dressing.
• Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory component found in the spice turmeric. In Ayurvedic medicine, which originated in India, turmeric has a long history of use as a medicine for pain and inflammation. But the spice doesn’t pack the punch of curcumin supplements.
• Try elemental magnesium. This trace mineral is involved in nerve function and muscle relaxation. A supplement may help carpal tunnel syndrome, especially if you don’t eat a lot of magnesium-rich whole grains, legumes or green vegetables. The most absorbable forms are magnesium lactate, magnesium orotate, magnesium glycinate and magnesium gluconate. The only side effect might be loose bowel movements. If you have that problem, just reduce the dose.
From 1,801 Home Remedies (Reader’s Digest)