Carpal tunnel syndrome is a medical condition affecting the median nerve, which controls finger movement and is protected by a passageway known as the carpal tunnel. When pressure is put on this nerve by the tissue surrounding it, a person can develop carpal tunnel and start to feel burning, tingling and numbness in the palms, hands and/or arms. This condition occurs for a number of reasons, such as a small carpal tunnel, an injury to the wrist and stress to the wrist and hand at work.
Things You'll Need
- Ice pack
- Food high in vitamins
Rest the hand and wrist for two weeks. This may be difficult for people who need to work everyday, but in a similar manner to arthritis, the best treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is to not use the body parts that are hurting as much as possible. This means that people with carpal tunnel syndrome should avoid doing activities that could worsen the pain in their wrists and hands, including bending them. In addition, placing ice on the area can help reduce the pain. If the person is not able to rest the wrist and hand for longer periods of time, using a splint to keep the wrist straight can help the condition from worsening.
Change the way that work is done. Workers who have jobs where they do repetitive tasks, such as cashiers, secretaries, receptionists and seamstress, sometimes put a great deal of stress on their wrists and hands. If they want to reduce the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome, they need to find ways to do their jobs so they don't put additional stress on their wrists and hands. For those who work on computers for long periods of time, this can involve altering their posture so that their back is placed against the back of their chairs, making sure that their wrists are straight when they are typing and putting reference materials at eye level so they don’t have to bend their necks. Those who work with hand tools should try to avoid activities where they have to move their hands from side to side, use tools that place more stress on the muscle between the thumb and little finger and wear thick gloves that help to minimize the pressure put on hands and wrists during the operation of tools.
Build endurance in the wrist through stretching exercises. Exercises for the hand and wrist involve extending the hands and fingers outward, straightening the wrist and hand, making a fist with both hands and bending the wrists while making a fist. These exercises will help to develop the muscles around the median nerve and lessen the pain that accompanies the condition. There are also exercises of the forearms, neck and shoulders that can help to reduce stress in the wrists and hands. One exercise for the forearms involves putting the hands together as if in a prayer position and raising the elbows. An exercise for the neck and shoulders involves placing the right hand on the opposite shoulder, tipping the head toward the right, keeping the head forward while doing so and then doing the same with the other side of the body.
Alter the diet so that it contains vitamins, supplements and foods that help to strengthen the body and lessen the pain caused by the condition. This means eating more foods and/or taking multivitamins that contain Vitamins B and C, iron, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. This includes whole grains, leafy greens such as kale and spinach, blueberries, cherries, tomatoes, squash and green tea. Vitamin B6 is useful because it helps to prevent the muscles from cramping and strengthens the body’s nerves. Vitamin C helps the body’s soft tissues heal and improves the immune system’s responses. Those with carpal tunnel syndrome should avoid foods such as white bread, pastas, red meats, cookies, cakes, French fries and coffee, because these foods can cause inflammation to worsen.
Go to an acupuncturist to get help for alleviating the pain. Although this alternative treatment has not been proven medically, a number of people have found a reduction of pain through acupuncture. During this type of treatment, needles are stuck through ailing areas in the body to treat conditions. This treatment allows the body to release endorphins, which are chemicals that aid the body in relieving pain. This can also help the spine to give off neurotransmitters that lessen stress to the wrist and hand and increase blood flow to the areas where the needles are applied, which can help to increase certain nutrients in the body and decrease toxins.