The carpal tunnel is the narrow passageway in the wrist that contains the median nerve. This nerve allows for feeling in the thumb, index, middle and part of the ring finger. If you start to feel tingling or numbness in the fingers or hand, you may have a common nerve condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the inside of the wrist swells, causing pinching and compression of the median nerve.
If you experience mild carpal tunnel syndrome, you may be able to ease your symptoms with lifestyle changes and over-the-counter medications to help with inflammation. Here are five home remedies for carpal tunnel relief:
Take breaks from repetitive tasks
Any activity that involves repeatedly straining the wrist can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Whether you’re typing, using a hand drill, or playing video games, try taking 10 to 15-minute breaks every hour. During these breaks, stretch your hands and move your wrists to improve blood flow to these areas.
Stretch your hands and wrists
Before you work or do any activity that involves repetitive movements, stretch your hands and wrists. You can practice these quick wrist exercises anywhere. An easy, yet effective exercise is making a fist and then straightening your fingers out. Repeat this movement 5 to 10 times per hand.
Wear a wrist splint
Keeping your wrists straight can help relieve the pressure on your median nerve. You can buy a wrist splint at the drugstore to hold your hand properly aligned when doing daily repetitive activities. It may also help to wear the splint at night to keep you from sleeping with your wrists in bent positions.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), such as ibuprofen or aspirin, may also help relieve pain. Not only can these medications relieve pain, but they can also reduce inflammation around the nerve.
Be less forceful
Gripping a tool or typing too forcefully, in combination with repetitive motions, may increase your risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. Be aware of how you are using your everyday tools. If you find yourself straining or forcing tasks, try relaxing your grip or reducing the force you’re using.
Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. We only consider surgery for treating carpal tunnel if there is severe damage to the median nerve. For a comprehensive evaluation from the physicians at Brain2Spine Institute, schedule an appointment online.