Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the compression or pinching of the median nerve which can result in numbness, weakness, tingling or a pins and needles sensation in the hands or arms. Symptoms vary from person to person, but usually start mild and gradually intensify if left untreated. In the most severe instances, the symptoms can be almost debilitating and may require surgery. This is why it’s all the more important to address the situation sooner rather than later. As most orthopedic doctors will tell you, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can usually be alleviated through one or more simple at-home methods. Before we delve into that, we need to address how CTS develops in the first place.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are relatively easy to identify, but the root cause isn’t always clear. For instance, pregnant women – particularly those in their third trimester – can suddenly experience CTS symptoms. However, these usually resolve themselves after giving birth.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome also has been linked with medical conditions like diabetes, obesity, hypothyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis. Consult your physician to help determine if your CTS symptoms are related to another issue.
Finally, CTS can develop as a result of the repetitive motion of the wrist or due to regularly handling objects that vibrate excessively. Most individuals in the repetitive motion category will begin to experience symptoms if their hands are lower than their wrists while typing. Also Read – 7 Tips to Help You Fight Insomnia
How Do You Reduce or Eliminate the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
There are several methods of at-home care you can try to alleviate CTS symptoms and avoid costly surgeries. Keep in mind that these methodologies will have varying levels of success from person to person and may not yield instantaneous results. You may have to try one or more for an extended period of time before seeing any real effects.
The best starting tactic to combat CTS symptoms is to allow the afflicted area to rest so that it may recover on its own. Avoid triggering behaviors such as:
• Repetitive wrist and/or hand movements.
• Operating equipment or tools that vibrate in excess (such as jackhammers).
• Gripping objects too tightly or in the same way for too long.
• Sleeping on hands or wrists.
• Taking the wrist out of a neutral position for extended periods of time.
• Any other behavior or activity that causes pain or discomfort.
Listen to your body and be conscious of when your symptoms are at their worst. Identifying and amending the activities that cause your CTS to flare up will be a large step in your recovery.
Heat & Ice Therapy
In addition to giving your hands and wrists as much reprieve as possible, heat and ice therapy also have proven to be successful in combating CTS symptoms.
For ice, immerse the afflicted area into a bucket or large bowl of ice water for 10 to15 minutes at a time. Repeat this every one or two hours as needed.
For heat, you can use the same method, but with hot water for immersion. Or, you can use a heating pad or other similar heating product placed directly onto the hand/wrist area.
Remember that these therapy modalities will have different results for different people. You may need to experiment with both for varying increments of time before discovering which one offers the maximum amount of relief. Also Read – Learn the Perks of Doing Yoga Online
Stretching & Shaking
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is brought on by the compression or pinching of the median nerve. Thankfully, there are some effective physical therapies that you can do on your own to help relieve this.
The first one you can try is the shake. Simply relax your hands and shake them as if you’re trying to air dry them. Do this for 15 to 30 seconds at a time. You should notice a reduction in cramping and tightness.
Another method you can try is the spider stretch. Place your hands together in a praying fashion and then spread your fingers apart. Then – while applying pressure at the fingertips – you’ll push your palms away from each other. Repeat the motion of allowing your palms to come close together and then push away using your fingertips.
The final at-home stretch should greatly improve the condition of your wrist if done regularly. To start, fully extend one arm directly out in front of you. Allow your hand to hang downward with your palm down in a relaxed position. Using your other hand, gently push down on the top of your extended hand until you feel a stretching sensation in your wrist. Hold this position for roughly 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat this process two to three times per arm every hour for maximum effectiveness.
The combination of these three activities should help improve the condition of your median nerve and offer increased mobility.
Wrist braces help keep the wrist straight and in a neutral position, which is especially important during sleep as that is the most opportune time for recovery. If your daily routine allows for it, you may consider wearing the brace during the day as well.
Your local drugstore likely carries an assortment of wrist braces that you can try on before purchasing. If purchasing online, it’s always best to select a wrist guard that has several positive customer reviews. These items range in price and will have varying degrees of effectiveness. Make sure to be extra deliberate in your shopping process.
Medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen can also help aid in reducing CTS symptoms. Even though these are over-the-counter, be mindful of how they might interact with other medications you may be taking at the time to ensure they’re safe. Consult your physician for more details.
Although over-the-counter medications may offer temporary relief to CTS-related aches and pains, please remember that they are not a long-term solution.
Be Consistent In Your At-Home Treatment
Once you find an at-home treatment that effectively reduces your CTS symptoms, be sure to remain consistent in your self-care routine, and avoid activities that can trigger a flare-up. The best way to avoid invasive surgery is to minimize your symptoms as much as possible using the aforementioned methods. Again, it’s going to be a trial and error process, and you will need to make some lifestyle changes to see results.
In the event that none of these at-home treatments offer relief, then the next step would be to consult an orthopedic doctor to determine what your next options are.