Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common medical condition that arises due to a compressed nerve in hand. Slight pain or numbness occurs in the arm when one of the primary nerves to the hands – the median nerve is compressed or squeezed as it passes through the wrist. The symptoms include numbness, pain, and a tingling sensation in the arm and hand.
Carpal tunnel syndrome worsens over time, if not checked and treated. Doctors can suggest wearing a splint or some wrist exercises to treat the condition in the early stages. Doctors often prescribe medicines for the treatment of this condition, but most of the time, the symptoms reoccur or cause side effects. Some of very effective home remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome are there, which are safe and also affordable.
- Around 3 to 6% of the adults get affected by carpal tunnel syndrome. According to reports, this condition ranks as the most common entrapment neuropathy.
- Permanent nerve damage may result if you do not treat compression on the nerve on time. Some doctors may even suggest surgery to remove the pressure off the median nerve.
Home Remedies for Carpal Tunnel
If not treated on time, the continuous pressure on the median nerve can lead to complete nerve damage and other side effects. Some home remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome which have proven to provide relief are:
1. Ice Pack
To treat the condition, you need to stop the activities that cause compression on the median nerve. The effect of cold on hand helps to reduce the pressure of the carpal tunnel syndrome(1).
The application of ice can help to reduce swelling. Icing the area helps to reduce the inflammation, thereby reducing the pain. Ice therapy also reduces the blood flow to a specific area, thereby reducing inflammation and swelling around a tendon or a joint. Ice application may also temporarily reduce the activity of the nerves and causes blood vessels to constrict, which results in a decrease in pain.
You can soak your hand in an ice bath or apply ice to your hand for 10 to 15 minutes. Try it for once or twice an hour to get relief.
2. Heat Therapy
Another excellent home remedy for carpal tunnel syndrome is heat therapy. You can use heat which is generally used for muscle relaxation. It helps to loosen tense or constricted muscles, thereby contributing to pain relief.
Heat therapy also increases blood flow to a particular area and hence promotes healing. The heat helps in bringing more oxygen to the affected area and also increases blood flow. It is also quite useful in soothing sore muscles around the hand or the wrist. Heat increases nerve circulation and therefore helps to reduce symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
You can dip your hand in warm water and gently flex your hand and wrist while immersed in water. Repeat it three to four times in a day to get relief from pain.
Various exercises are excellent home remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Wrist Bend (Forward and Back)
- Wrist Lift
- Finger band
- Wrist Bend Exercise
In Wrist bend exercise, you need to place your elbow on a flat surface with your arms pointing upwards and keeping your wrist straight. Now gently bend the wrist forward at a right angle and hold on to that position for 5 seconds. Next, straighten the wrist and bend it backward. Again, hold for 5 seconds. Repeat this exercise thrice with ten repetitions.
Keep your palm on a flat surface and slowly lift your fingers upwards. Next, place the other hand across your knuckles at a right angle. Slowly push down as the bottom arm tries to pull upwards. In this exercise, you should feel the muscles of your forearm contracting. Now change hands and repeat the exercise. You can repeat the same for both the hands thrice.
This one is easy to perform the exercise and a very effective home remedy for carpal tunnel syndrome(2). Start with your fingers held out straight. Gently bend the middle parts of your fingers downwards towards your upper palm and then hold for 5 seconds. Repeat this exercise thrice with ten repetitions.
Similarly, other exercises such as wrist stretching with weight and hand squeeze with a ball are equally beneficial.
Similarly, a splint is also an efficient natural treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. It is a non-surgical treatment that involves immobilization of the wrist with the help of a device worn over the wrist. Such a wrist band leaves the fingers and thumb free to move. The splint holds the joints and tendons in a neutral position. The pain for a person with carpal tunnel syndrome gets worse at night as the hand is likely to bend.
Wearing a splint prevents this and hence proves to be an effective non-surgical remedy. Doctors often recommend wearing a splint to those who have recently had surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome — the free fingers and thumb help to prevent stiffness of the hand.
5. Resting the Hand and Wrist
You can also relieve pain from carpal tunnel syndrome by giving some rest to the hand and wrist. You should refrain from repetitive tasks and tasks that cause a lot of strain on your hands or wrist. Tasks like typing, playing guitar can be very taxing on the arms, so you should take frequent breaks.
It is advisable to take breaks after every 15 minutes and stretch your hands and wrists. This method will improve the blood flow to these areas.
People generally resort to medical surgeries or steroids to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. Sometimes, steroids can cause harmful side effects. Moreover, one should get the surgery done when the symptoms get unbearable. This condition, when diagnosed in the early stages, can be easily treated with natural remedies.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, when addressed early on, gives time to the nerves to rest and heal on its own. It prevents further damage to the nerves. The home-remedies mentioned above for carpal tunnel syndrome are affordable and also absolutely safe. These have no side-effects too.
[Read: Essential Oils for Carpal Tunnel]
1. What Other Treatment Can You Use for Carpal Tunnel?
The best treatment for Carpal Tunnel is to refrain from doing activities that increase your pain. Think of all those activities that spike up the pressure or pain in your hands and nerves. Stop doing those activities for some time. You can resume once your symptoms improve.
2. What Are the Simple Exercises for Carpal Tunnel?
Simple exercises like wrist bend, wrist lift, wrist flex, finger bend, wrist stretch with weight and hand squeeze with a ball, are quite effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. These exercises help in stretching the nerves of the hand and wrist, which may provide relief from pain.
3. What Are the Methods to Diagnose Carpal Tunnel?
Your doctor might study your history of symptoms to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome. He can also conduct a physical examination to test the feeling in your fingers and to test the strength in your wrist. He might even take an X-Ray of the wrist to rule out other factors of pain, such as a fracture or arthritis. An electromyogram is also conducted if the doctor suspects advanced stages of the condition.