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.
Related Reading: Chronic pain? You’re not alone!
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.
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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.
Check out this slideshow of natural remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome!
Next: Wrist Stretches
Image Credit: Remixed Creative Commons photo via handarmdoc
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.
Next: Thumb Stretch
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by plaisanter~
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.
Next: Warrior II Pose
photo by David Striepe
3. Warrior II Pose
Any yoga posture that involves stretching the arms out to the sides can help with carpal tunnel, and Warrior II is a great place to start!
- Stand up straight with your legs spread out further than hip-distance apart.
- Turn your right foot out, so the toes are facing the wall to your right, and turn your left foot in ever so slightly.
- Bend the right knee, bringing the thigh parallel to the floor.
- Raise your arms, so that they are also parallel to the floor. Think about opening up your chest and pulling your shoulder blades together. You can keep your hands parallel to the floor or rotate your arms so that your hands face out, like in the photo above.
- Turn your head to the right, and breathe. You can stay in this posture for as long as you like!
- Repeat on the left side.
Next: Prayer Hands
photo via Thinkstock
4. Prayer Hands
Any yoga posture that includes bringing your hands into prayer position doubles as an excellent wrist stretch.
- Sit or stand up straight.
- Bring your hands together, palms lightly touching, and lower your hands until you feel a gentle stretch in your wrist.
- Hold for a slow count of 10.
Next: Ice It
photo via Thinkstock
5. Ice It
Carpal tunnel syndrome is often caused by swelling, and ice helps reduce swelling naturally. Set aside some time each day to ice your wrist and hand for about 10 minutes. You can use a bag of frozen veggies. If it’s too cold to put directly on your skin, wrap it in a dish towel.
Some doctors also suggest alternating between ice and heat. To do this, you’ll get two buckets. Fill one with hot water and the other with ice water. Plunge your hand into the hot water for about 30 seconds, then move it to the ice water. Rotate back and forth 10-15 times.
Do you struggle with carpal tunnel syndrome? What natural remedies have helped bring you some relief?
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by blmurch