Herbal Home Remedies

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Home Remedies

This condition results from swollen tendons that compress the median nerve within the carpal tunnel canal in the wrist. It's usually accompanied by odd sensations, numbness, swelling, soreness, stiffness, weakness, tingling, discomfort and pain...a lot of pain. It tends to be caused by continual, rapid use of your fingers, wrists and/or arms.

Many people feel the requirements of their job contribute to the onset of CTS. But people who spend each workday at a computer aren't the only ones doing repetitious work-musicians, supermarket checkers, factory workers, hair stylists, bus drivers, seam­stresses, tailors and countless others are plagued by this repetitive motion injury.

Vitamin B6 may help to ease symptoms of CTS. But too much B6 can be toxic and harmful to the nervous system, so work with your health professional to determine a safe dosage of B6 for you.

If your problem is computer-related, visit your local computer store and see what it has in the way of ergonomic products that will support your wrists when you use the computer.

Sleeping with CTS

The pain may be more severe while sleeping because of the way you fold your wrist. You may find it more comfortable to wear a splint or wrist brace to bed. Now that the problem is so common, you can find a selection of splints and wrist braces at most drugstores. You may want to wear the splint or brace during the day, too.

Natural home remedies

  • Use a cold compress to reduce inflammation when pain is acute. For chronic pain use a hot compress : steam a towel for 5 to 10 mins then wrap within another towel to retain heat. Fold to desired size and place over the painful area.
  • Vitamin B12 - a study looked at the effectiveness of vitamin B12 for people with carpal tunnel syndrome due to overuse of the nonparalyzed arm after stroke. For two years, 67 people in the study received 1500 mcg of vitamin B12 a day, and the remaining 68 did not. After two years, there was significant improvement in the group taking vitamin B12 compared to the untreated group.
  • Acupressure is based on the same principles as acupuncture. Instead of applying needles to acupuncture points, pressure is applied, which is thought to stimulate blood flow to the wrists and hands and ease numbness and swelling in the area.
    Acupressure points for carpal tunnel syndrome are typically on the wrists, forearms and hands.
  • Use eucalyptus oil to soothe pain and aches. Rub it directly onto the affected area or place a few drops onto a steam towel and place it over the painful area.

Exercise for CTS Prevention

A team of doctors from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons in Rosemont, Illinois, has developed special exercises that can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. The exercises, which decrease the median nerve pressure responsible for CTS, should be done at the start of each work shift, as a warmup exercise and again after each break.

  • Stand up straight, feet a foot apart, arms outstretched in front of you, palms down. Then bring your hands and fingers up, pointing toward the sky. Hold for a count of five.
  • If your arm is tired, rest it on the desk in front of the keyboard. I do it all the time, because my injured shoulder does not support the weight of my arm. In that case, you move the wrist from the elbow.
  • Find a mouse on which you can place your hand in its natural resting position, with your thumb and pinky resting on the pad on either side of the mouse and the other three fingers lying on the buttons.

Straighten both wrists and relax the fingers. Make a tight fist with both hands. Then bend both wrists down while keeping the fists. Hold for a count of five. Straighten both wrists and relax the fingers for a count of five. The exercise should be repeated 10 times. Then let your arms hang loosely at your sides and shake them for a couple of seconds. Don't rush through the exercise. Let the 10 cycles take about five minutes.

One Expert's CTS Cure

  • James A. Duke, PhD, a botanist with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland, and one of the world's leading authorities on herbal healing traditions, confesses that he uses a computer as much as 14 hours a day. But he hasn't developed any CTS symptoms. He gives some of the credit to the fact that he's a man.

"Women develop carpal tunnel problems more than men do," explains Dr. Duke, "because the cyclical hormone fluctuations of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause can contribute to swelling of the tissues that surround the carpal tunnel."

Another reason he thinks he's been spared the discomfort of CTS is hand exercises. "Adopting a Chinese technique that improves flexibility," says Dr. Duke, "I hold two steel balls in one hand and roll them around when I'm not typing. The Chinese balls provide a gentle form of exercise, and the rolling motion massages the tiny muscles and ligaments of the hands and wrists." When he's at the computer, he takes frequent breaks to twirl the Chinese balls in each hand.

Chinese balls are inexpensive and readily available at Chinese markets or online. Some health food stores may also carry them.

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