Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is characterized by a tingling, numbing, and painful sensation in your wrist. This can be caused by compression of the median nerve that runs along your forearm and into your hand. It can also be caused by adhesions, or stickiness, between the median nerve and the wrist ligament that lies right on top of the nerve.
How this can happen depends on a few different risk factors including pregnancy, inflammation, a repetitive task injury, thyroid issues, and more.
Current treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome involves the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and plenty of rest. However, the problem with anti-inflammatory medicine is that it can inhibit your body’s healing response. Inflammation is a necessary process in the body. It’s your body’s natural response to injury and it’s exactly what sparks the healing process. While reducing inflammation with painkillers can help reduce pain, it might also be affecting how long it takes you to recover.
Another problem with carpal tunnel is that it requires plenty of rest. If you continue to use the affected wrist, you’ll only continue to reinjure the area. This leads to a longer recovery and in some cases, permanent nerve damage.
Carpal Tunnel Surgery Risks
In hopes of speeding up recovery, some sufferers choose to have carpal tunnel surgery. However, surgery on the median nerve is not without risk and significant cost. The average cost of carpal tunnel surgery is about $1,000 with insurance and nearly ten times that amount if you don’t have coverage. With such a high cost, you’d think that you’d walk out of the surgery pain-free, but unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Only about 50% of carpal tunnel operations are successful and follow-up surgeries even less so: 40%.
And even if you experience temporary relief, about 85% of patients report a return of carpal tunnel symptoms shortly after surgery.
As you can see, the overall odds of a successful carpal tunnel operation aren’t in your favor.
Natural Carpal Tunnel Treatment at Home
Carpal tunnel can be successfully treated without surgery from the comfort of your own home or through the help of a health and wellness center that specializes in integrative recovery.
While individual treatment plans can vary based on your symptoms, the following advice is generally given for those suffering from CTS pain:
1) Plenty of Rest
As cliché as it sounds, carpal tunnel requires plenty of rest. If you’re stubborn and continue to use your hand, you’ll only worsen the condition and prolong your recovery period.
2) Use a Wrist Splint
Using a wrist brace for carpal tunnel can help stabilize your median nerve and prevent further injury. This is especially important at night while your sleep as you want to keep your wrist in a neutral position which can be difficult to do when you’re not awake.
3) Ice Therapy
You can ice your wrist for about 10 minutes every hour until you experience relief.
An ancient practice known as Yoga has been shown to successfully reduce carpal tunnel pain. Just remember that some Yoga poses can be intense. You should opt for beginner poses that are gentle on your wrist.
Because carpal tunnel has been linked to nutritional deficiencies, it’s important that you’re meeting the RDA for micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B6, in particular, is recommended at a dosage of 200mg per day for individuals undergoing carpal tunnel syndrome treatment. Other and more specialized vitamins may be recommended by your doctor.
Diet is another important factor in treatment. As inflammation is one of the potential causes of carpal tunnel, patients should strive to consume an anti-inflammatory diet rich in vegetables, fruit, fish, and grass-fed meats.
7) Carpal Tunnel Massage
A new technique in the field of CTS treatment, a myofascial massage is a non-invasive therapy that aims to “release” the entrapped median nerve through a series of massages and stretching. Look for a health and wellness center that specializes in myofascial massage.
Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
By allowing time for ample rest and recovery, practicing proper nutrition, and addressing the cause of your carpal tunnel syndrome, you can have relief without the costs and risks of surgery.