Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can be treated in many ways. Some of them involve taking drugs and undergoing surgery – both of which are a no-no for some people.
Painkillers are severely over-prescribed in the United States, and this problem has led to a dramatic rise in painkiller and opiate addiction. Some addicts eventually turn to even harder drugs like heroin in an effort to find a cheaper high.
It is possible, however, to treat CTS through natural, non-invasive means. Here are 10 ways to start treating your condition naturally.
1. Perform Stretching Exercises
Stretching exercises can loosen your muscles and increase blood flow to your limbs, according to the National Safety Council. You can do them in five- to 30-second intervals throughout your work day. However, if you’ve recently had major surgery on your muscles or joints, consult your doctor before doing these exercises.
2. Put Ice on Your Wrists
Wrap an ice pack in thin cloth, and gently press it over your wrists and forearms for five to 15 minutes, twice or thrice a day. This will reduce inflammation and swelling.
Don’t use heat to treat your CTS. Higher temperatures expand the tissues in your hand’s narrow passageways and worsen your pain.
3. Use Acupuncture
In acupuncture, needles are inserted into specific points in your body to relieve pain and other ailments. According to one study, patients who underwent eight acupuncture sessions over four weeks – and used night splints – experienced a significant improvement in their symptoms.
4. Use Ergonomic Devices
If your work keeps you chained to your desk all day, ergonomic devices might be the solution for you. Make sure to have a good posture while you’re sitting, and align your limbs properly with wrist rests, foot rests, split keyboards, touch pads and the like.
5. Change Your Splints Regularly
Your doctor may have advised you to wear a wrist splint. This should be changed regularly because improperly-fitted splints can compress your median nerve and actually worsen your condition.
6. Lay Your Hands Flat When You Sleep
Sleeping on your side can also aggravate CTS because there’s a higher chance of putting pressure on your limbs. Instead, lie on your back and keep your hands flat on the mattress. If lying on your back isn’t practical for any reason, use a splint to keep your limbs straight.
7. Apply Arnica
Arnica has been scientifically proven to reduce pain intensity in CTS sufferers. You can apply a quarter teaspoon of these ointments on your wrist twice a day. Be sure to spread the arnica throughout the area covering the base of your palm, down to the point below your wrist.
8. See a Chiropractor
Chiropractors specialize in the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Look for the ones near you, and inquire whether they offer treatments for CTS. As with all medical practitioners, however, different chiropractors have different levels of experience in treating CTS. Ask around for recommendations before setting up an appointment.
9. Do Yoga
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Association, yoga regimens were actually more effective than wrist splints in treating CTS. Look for regimens designed to stretch, strengthen and balance joints in the upper body, so you’ll have a better chance of relieving your pain.
10. Keep Healthy
There’s a strong correlation between obesity and CTS, as suggested by a study presented to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. So if you maintain a regular exercise routine and a balanced diet, it’s possible to experience an improvement in your symptoms.
Try these treatments and see what works for you. Perhaps your CTS might become tolerable enough that you won’t require drugs or surgery.