The best way to deal with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is through prevention. If you recognize that your job, being of a repetitive nature involving wrist movement, increases the chance of you developing carpal tunnel syndrome, then it is far better to take preventive measures.
Below are listed some methods of avoiding the onset of CTS, or if you are experiencing early warning signs like slight tingling sensations or feelings of numbness in your wrist, fingers or hands, these methods will reduce the chances of the syndrome increasing in severity.
Tips for Relieving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Keep your body in good overall condition, eat healthy food, and get adequate rest. Maintain a good healthy body weight, excess weight can cause compression of the median nerve.
When sleeping try to position your wrist so that it is lying flat. If you have it tucked under your head or pillow, the median nerve can become compressed which can lead to CTS.
If your wrist starts to ache or you feel tired, take a break from the job for a few minutes. Shake out your hands and stretch your wrists and arms. Re-adjust your working position, and make sure your workstation is designed for efficient and comfortable operation.
If you are operating a computer continually sit in a neutral position. Do not adopt a ‘bent over’ or ‘hunched’ body attitude. When operating the mouse keep the wrists at the same level as the forearm. Try practicing using the mouse with alternate hands!
Often repetitive movement done at high speed can induce CTS, set a reasonable work speed, and only use the necessary amount of force for the job at hand. Apart from computer operators, people who are involved in jobs involving continual vibrations like jackhammer or chainsaw operators should set a reasonable work pace, and take frequent breaks.
Obey the warning signs
Be aware of the early signs of CTS. If you feel occasional numbness, pins, and needles or experience slight difficulty in picking up objects, this is the time to take self-care measures.
If you have CTS symptoms, any swelling can be reduced by the application of ice to the wrist and forearm for 5 – 15 minutes, but be sure to take steps to avoid the circumstances which are causing the wrist trauma in the first place.
Avoid using any application of heat to the wrist. This can cause swelling of the tissue around the carpal area which will put pressure on the median nerve. If the symptoms of CTS do not improve by following the above steps then now is the time to get medical advice from your doctor.
Do specific exercises for your wrists
This will help you improve circulation in your wrists and reduce pressure. For example, hold down your palms and make circles with your wrist in both directions. You can also do an exercise in which you stretch your thumb from one hand with a stretched arm and pull it with the other hand.
So you “stretch” your thumb. Do this five times and then change hands. Other exercises include: stretching the fingers of your hands, opening and closing your hands or squeezing a ball so hard. As a final example, you can also lift a small weight (no more than two kilos) while your forearm lies with the bottom up and your wrist just hangs from the surface. Raise the weight against gravity by bending your wrist.
- Eat foods that are rich in vitamin B6, such as potatoes, bananas, brown rice, chicken breast and green vegetables.
- Place a cold compress on the wrist or hand to reduce the swelling. Never use heat compresses or warm towels, because that will make the symptoms worse.
- Moisten a cotton ball with a little arnica and place it in the affected area.
Wrist Splints for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
For any person suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), one of the conventional treatments recommended by doctors is the use of a wrist splint.
The wrist splint is used to restrict the movement of the hand and reduce the pain. The continued use of the usual type of hard wrist splint can often cause constant pressure on the already swollen tissue of the carpal tunnel. This can aggravate the tissue and possibly result in the hand muscles to become atrophied.
Because the wrist splint is usually attached to the wrist tightly it has a tendency to restrict blood circulation. Which again can interfere with the natural healing process. The use of hard, rigid, wrist splints can inhibit the recovery from CTS and in some cases even worsen the condition.
Many professionals involved in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome are now recognizing that the rigid type wrist splint is not good therapy for the sufferer and are turning to a treatment which provides a unique form of soft tissue support, known as the Carpal Solution.
This wrist support is designed to massage the tissue around the carpal tunnel by spreading its effect in three directions. The massaging effect relieves pressure on the median nerve and tendons within the carpal tunnel and reduces the numbness, tingling, discomfort, and pain normally associated with CTS.
The Carpal Solution helps to promote normal blood circulation by reducing swelling within the carpal tunnel and encourages natural healing at the cell level to bring about relief from the condition.
There is a large difference between the conventional wrist splint and Carpal Solution. The latter is a disposable soft tissue stretching brace which is commonly worn at night. The device gently pulls on the hand at three strategic locations, at the same time massaging the inflamed soft tissue.
CTS sufferers can gain relief from the symptoms, and its associated hand discomfort often within a two week period. But for full remission of the condition the soft tissue re-shaper protocol needs to be followed for a full six weeks. Although some doctors, who recognize the benefits of re-training soft tissue, recommend that the soft tissue treatment should continue for eight weeks.
There have been many clinical studies carried out to measure the efficacy of this unique therapy and the results are impressive. Almost 95% of patients interviewed reported full remission from carpal tunnel syndrome 100% in terms of regaining hand and finger dexterity.
Typically, conventional methods of treating CTS yield about 40% full remission from the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, so the performance of this unique soft tissue type therapy is admirable and certainly worth trying.
Medication for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Here, the most important factor is to reduce the pressure on the median nerve passing through the carpal tunnel.
The carpal tunnel is a small area of the wrist surrounded by the wrist bones (carpals). And the transverse carpal ligament. The carpal tunnel lodges the median nerve and the flexor tendons. All associated with hand, wrist, and finger movement.
Any swelling, for whatever reason, of the tendons, will place undue pressure on the median nerve causing it to become compressed. This is the cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. Treatment by the administration of any medicine must be aimed at reducing the swelling of the tendons, thus relieving pressure on the median nerve.
Medicines Used for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
These anti-inflammatory drugs are often used to relieve pain and swelling. And commonly they are available as over the counter medicine, so no prescription is necessary.
Care should be taken with these drugs since while certainly, they will reduce the swelling associated with the tendons. And so provide relief from the symptoms of CTS, they are by no means a cure for the condition.
They may be an alternative medicine to try. If the NSAIDs have not given the necessary relief from pain and inflammation. Corticosteroid type drugs are administered under the direction of a doctor. And can be taken orally, or by injection into the wrist.
- They are a powerful anti-inflammatory drug but can have unwanted side effects. By using corticosteroids consideration should be given to the following aspects.
- They are not usually prescribed until other medicines have been tried, like the NSAIDs. Further treatments should equally be tried like splints and ice packs prior to taking corticosteroids
- Corticosteroids will provide relief from the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome for several weeks. The injection provides greater periods of relief than the oral treatment. But neither will give a permanent cure for CTS.
- Care should be taken with the dosage since corticosteroids can produce side effects.
If the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome persist in spite of the medication and perhaps increase in severity. Then a doctor should be consulted with a view to having carpal tunnel release surgery.
How To Reverse Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Naturally, Last Update: 16/7/2017