That distinctive numbness, pain, tingling, and weakness of carpal tunnel syndrome can all be traced to a nerve known as the median nerve which passes through the carpal tunnel in your wrist. Overuse of the wrist, pregnancy, as well as conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, and thyroid disease can cause this nerve to become compressed or irritated. Your doctor may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) or steroid injections to ease pain and relieve symptoms. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to cure carpal tunnel syndrome.1 But if you have a mild to moderate case of carpal tunnel syndrome, there’s plenty you can do naturally to ease symptoms and rein in the condition. Here are your options.
1. Use A Wrist Splint
Using a wrist split can help ease symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome in a few weeks. A wrist splint works by keeping your wrist straight and relieving pressure on the nerve. It’s best used at night since there’s a greater chance of your hand bending while you’re sleeping. Also, it is important for your joint to move normally during the day in order to prevent it from getting stiff and your muscles from becoming weak. You can use a support bandage during the day to complement this routine.2
2. Avoid Activities That Worsen Symptoms
Try to avoid or at least reduce activities that can aggravate the condition. This means any activity that requires you to grip hard or bend your wrist frequently such as using a vibrating tool or playing a musical instrument.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome usually worsen at night. A simple tip can bring relief, though. Just shake your hand a bit when this happens or hang it out of the bed to ease pain.3
3. Do Hand Exercises
Certain hand exercises can benefit those with carpal tunnel syndrome. Your physical therapist or doctor can help you fine-tune the movements further depending on the intensity of your condition.
The Wrist Flex
Hold out your arm in front of you with the palm down and gently bend your wrist downward. With your other hand, press the stretched out hand back toward your body. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds before straightening your wrist.
The Finger Bend
Hold your fingers out straight. Then bend the middle joints of the fingers down toward your palm. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
The Wrist Stretch
Pick up something light, say a tin of peas, and stretch out your arm with the palm down. Now gently move your wrist upward before bringing it back to the starting position.
The Hand Squeeze
Squeeze a stress ball or rubber ball and hold the position for 5 seconds.4
4. Practice Yoga
The ancient practice of yoga can also help you tackle carpal tunnel syndrome. One study found that a yoga intervention twice a week which aimed at relaxation as well as the balancing, stretching, and strengthening of joints in the upper body significantly improved grip strength and reduced pain. Yoga poses such as dandasana, urdhva hastasana, and garudasana and the namaste mudra may prove to be especially helpful. Practice initially under an experienced yoga practitioner so you can perfect the moves.5
5. Use Ginger For Pain Relief
Here’s an ayurvedic remedy that may help ease pain caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. Slice ginger into flat thin strips and wrap them around your wrist. You can also apply freshly grated ginger. Now cover it with a bandage and leave it for a while.6
How does ginger work? According to research, this common herb has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. In fact, studies even indicate that it’s comparable in efficacy to the commonly used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen.7 And ginger doesn’t just work topically. Drinking a cup of ginger tea can also help fight inflammation from within.
6. Apply A Turmeric Poultice And Drink Up Turmeric Milk
Turmeric is another spice that has traditionally been used in Ayurveda to treat sore joints. You can apply a poultice of turmeric to the affected area, leaving it on for a while. Gulp down a cup of turmeric milk as well to fight symptoms from within.
To prepare turmeric milk, boil half a cup of water with a quarter cup of turmeric powder till it becomes a thick paste. Add a quarter teaspoon of this paste to a cup of milk on low heat and simmer for a couple of minutes. Like ginger, turmeric also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic benefits and has been found to be comparable in effectiveness to ibuprofen.8 9
7. Get Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is also a viable option for pain caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. One study found that when people with this condition undertook weekly massage sessions with a therapist, along with a self-massage routine which could be done daily, their pain and anxiety reduced even as their grip strength improved.
The massage used in the study involved stroking with moderate pressure, focussing on the fingertip to elbow area. Then a wringing motion was applied to the area, followed again by circular stroking with the thumb and forefinger. Finally, the skin in the area was rolled with the thumb and forefinger. An experienced massage therapist will be able to guide you on the exact massage techniques to be used.10
8. Try Chiropractic Treatment
Chiropractic treatment involves manipulation of your body structure to tackle health issues. One study found that manipulation of the bony joints and soft tissues of the upper body and spine resulted in significant improvement in finger sensation and nerve conduction as well as function and comfort.11 Zero in on an experienced chiropractor who can suggest a routine based on your individual case.
9. Check Out Acupuncture
The practice of acupuncture is based on the traditional Chinese principle that a blockage or imbalance in the life force known as Qi is responsible for diseases. This is remedied by stimulating specific points in the body known as acupoints. Research indicates that this practice can help those with carpal tunnel syndrome. In one study, patients who underwent 8 sessions of acupuncture over 4 weeks saw an improvement in symptoms such as pain, numbness, and weakness.12
|↑1||Carpal tunnel syndrome. National Health Service.|
|↑2||Carpal tunnel syndrome: Wrist splints and hand exercises. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑3, ↑4||Carpal tunnel syndrome exercises. Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.|
|↑5||Garfinkel, Marian S., Atul Singhal, Warren A. Katz, David A. Allan, Rosemary Reshetar, and H. Ralph Schumacher Jr. “Yoga-based intervention for carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized trial.” Jama 280, no. 18 (1998): 1601-1603.|
|↑6||Khalsa, Karta Purkh Singh, and Michael Tierra. The way of ayurvedic herbs: The most complete guide to natural healing and health with traditional ayurvedic herbalism. Lotus Press, 2008.|
|↑7||Rayati, Farshid, Fatemeh Hajmanouchehri, and Elnaz Najafi. “Comparison of anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of Ginger powder and Ibuprofen in postsurgical pain model: A randomized, double-blind, case–control clinical trial.” Dental research journal 14, no. 1 (2017): 1.|
|↑8||Khalsa, Karta Purkh Singh, and Michael Tierra. The way of ayurvedic herbs: The most complete guide to natural healing and health with traditional ayurvedic herbalism. Lotus press, 2008.|
|↑9||Kuptniratsaikul, Vilai, Piyapat Dajpratham, Wirat Taechaarpornkul, Montana Buntragulpoontawee, Pranee Lukkanapichonchut, Chirawan Chootip, Jittima Saengsuwan, Kesthamrong Tantayakom, and Supphalak Laongpech. “Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a multicenter study.” Clinical interventions in aging 9 (2014): 451.|
|↑10||Field, Tiffany, Miguel Diego, Christy Cullen, Kristin Hartshorn, Alan Gruskin, Maria Hernandez-Reif, and William Sunshine. “Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are lessened following massage therapy.” Journal of Bodywork and Movement therapies 8, no. 1 (2004): 9-14.|
|↑11||Davis, P. Thomas, James R. Hulbert, Kassem M. Kassak, and John J. Meyer. “Comparative efficacy of conservative medical and chiropractic treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized clinical trail.” Journal of manipulative and physiological therapeutics 21, no. 5 (1998): 317-326.|
|↑12||Yang, Chun-Pai, Ching-Liang Hsieh, Nai-Hwei Wang, Tsai-Chung Li, Kai-Lin Hwang, Shin-Chieh Yu, and Ming-Hong Chang. “Acupuncture in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome: A randomized controlled trial.” The Clinical journal of pain 25, no. 4 (2009): 327-333.|