What Home Remedies for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Are There?

woman-holding-wrist
 
 
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes numbness, tingling, and sometimes pain in the fingers and the hand.
 
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) ranges from mild to severe. Proper treatment can often restore the functioning of the hand and wrist and relieve symptoms.
 
The condition affects between 4 and 10 million Americans. Home remedies may help to manage and ease the symptoms of mild to moderate CTS. However, severe CTS may require surgery.
 
Contents of this article:
 
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
Lifestyle measures and home remedies
Nonsurgical and prescription drug treatments
Conventional treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?[woman holding wrist]
Carpal tunnel syndrome affects the wrist and hand.
The carpal tunnel is found on the palm side of the wrist. It is a narrow passageway that runs from the wrist to the hand. It is made up of bones, ligaments, and tendons.
 
A nerve called the median nerve passes through the tunnel.
 
The median nerve runs from a network of nerves that start near the neck and shoulder and run down to the hand. The median nerve provides sensation to the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and the thumb side of the ring finger.
 
CTS causes tingling or a “pins-and-needles,” numbness, thumb weakness, and dull aching in the hand or arm. This happens because the median nerve is being compressed and pinched.
 
It is not always clear why the median nerve becomes compressed, but some conditions and risk factors appear to increase the risk.
 
These include:
 
Being female, especially around menopause
A short, wide hand size or square wrist shape
Conditions such as diabetes and thyroid disease
Musculoskeletal conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia
Previous wrist fractures or tendon problems
Family history of CTS
Psychosocial factors
People who are overweight or obese appear to be more likely to develop the syndrome.
 
Those who use their hands and wrists repetitively and at high rates are also at risk.
 
Lifestyle measures and home remedies
CTS does not usually go away by itself. Left untreated, it can get worse. It is essential to see a doctor if there is persistent numbness or weakness in the hand.
 
The following lifestyle and home remedies may give some relief from mild to moderate CTS symptoms, but there is little clinical evidence that they work. It is always important to seek advice from a doctor.
 
The following 10 lifestyle changes may help relieve CTS:
 
Avoiding repetitive hand and wrist movements where possible
Paying attention to the hands and wrists, stopping activities if pain, discomfort, or numbness are felt
Taking frequent breaks if activities that involve repetitive hand movements are unavoidable
Trying to keep the wrist in a neutral position, without extending the wrist too far up or flexing it too far down
Using the largest joints possible when lifting to avoid extra stress on the wrists, hands and fingers
Not holding of objects in the same way for too long
Avoiding the use of vibrating power tools, such as jackhammers and floor sanders
Adapting the workplace to keep a neutral wrist position
Relaxing grip or force during activities such as writing
Trying not to sleep on the hands or with the wrists in bent positions
There is also some evidence that regular physical activity and exercise may help protect against CTS.
 
Massaging the hand may help to relieve symptoms.
These 10 home remedies may help to relieve CTS.
 
Resting the affected hand and wrist for at least 2 weeks
Using anti-vibration products with vibrating tools
Wearing a wrist splint or brace to rest the median nerve
Doing gentle hand, finger, and wrist-stretching exercises
Massaging the wrists, palms, and backs of the hands
Wearing work gloves to protect hands and wrists
Applying heat to the wrist to help reduce pain
Applying an ice pack, which may also help to lessen swelling
Adding extra material to tool and utensil handles for a more comfortable grip
Taking over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen
People who try these medications should be aware that studies have found that they don’t provide full relief of CTS symptoms. They may also increase the risk of gut problems and bleeding.
 
Nonsurgical and prescription drug treatments
Some alternative treatments may help improve the symptoms of CTS. Some studies have suggested that the following methods can provide short-term relief:
 
Yoga stretching and strengthening exercises may reduce pain and improve grip.
Hand therapy techniques used in physical and occupational therapy may relieve symptoms.
Ultrasound therapy raises the temperature of the affected area, potentially lessening pain and helping recovery.
Applying topical anti-inflammatory medications as well as ultrasound may also be used.
Laser therapy might improve symptoms according to limited evidence.
Chiropractic treatment may lessen symptoms in some people. Acupuncture may also benefit some people and improve symptoms. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommend additional research.
People should always check with their doctors before using any complementary or alternative treatment. Replacing conventional treatments with unproven therapies is not recommended.
 
Conventional treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome
Conventional treatments for CTS should be carried out under the guidance of a doctor.
 
If CTS is related to an underlying condition such as diabetes, arthritis, or hypothyroidism, it is important to try to control the condition.
 
If CTS develops during pregnancy, the symptoms usually go away 6 to 12 weeks after giving birth. Some specialists recommend putting a splint on the wrist while sleeping.
 
Sometimes, if the median nerve is severely compressed, there may be nerve damage or muscle wasting that requires further treatment.
 
Non-surgical treatments for CTS
In addition to wearing splints and other comfort measures, prescription medications or injections are available.
 
Oral corticosteroid medication may decrease inflammation and swelling, which will help to reduce pressure on the median nerve. Corticosteroid medication may also be injected into the wrist. Injections seem to work better than oral corticosteroids for CTS.
 
There is a lack of evidence to support the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat CTS.

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