Carpal tunnel can range from mild discomfort to a debilitating condition. Check out these natural remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome to help bring you some relief.
The carpal tunnel actually refers to an area in your wrist that contains a high concentration of nerves. Repetitive activities like typing can cause inflammation in this area that results in pain, tingling, or numbness in your wrist, thumb, and first two fingers.
I have suffered from mild carpal tunnel on and off for years. I'm a freelance writer, so typing has basically been an all day, every day situation. It's a fun job, but the discomfort is not so fun. Believe it or not, after having my baby my carpal tunnel syndrome went from mild to moderate from the way that I was carrying my son!
You can find carpal tunnel wrist braces at the pharmacy, but I've had mixed results with those. I had one that worked great, but it got lost, and the one I bought to replace it actually makes my pain worse. If you go for a brace, I suggest finding one that stabilizes your thumb. That was the main difference between the two braces that I have tried, and I think it was a big one.
Taking a break from the activity that's causing your carpal tunnel syndrome can help relieve symptoms, but if the cause is also your livelihood, that's not always an option. That doesn't mean that you have to suffer from hand and wrist pain, though.
Photo by David Striepe
1. Wrist Stretches
A good wrist stretch can help open up the compressed area and relieve some of that carpal tunnel discomfort. This stretch has helped me quite a bit. Here's what you do:
- Sitting or standing up straight, raise your arms so that they are straight out in front of you, parallel to the floor. Make fists with both hands.
- Inhale, and when you exhale, bend your wrists, so that your fists are now pointing toward the floor. You should feel a light stretch in your forearms and your wrists. Hold for a slow count of 7.
- On your next exhale, bring your hands back to neutral, and open your fists, spreading your fingers wide. Flex your wrists, so that you're making a stop motion with both hands, pulling your fingers back as much as you can. You'll feel a stretch on the underside of your wrists. Hold for another slow count of 7.
- Repeat the steps above 10 times.
2. Thumb Stretch
Is your thumb particularly affected by your carpal tunnel? Try this stretch!
- Place your right hand on a flat surface, spreading the fingers wide.
- With your left hand, take hold of your thumb and stretch it across, away from your pointer finger, until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for a slow count of 10.
- Repeat on the left hand. Try to work up to 10-12 repetitions.