Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition affecting the hands and arms that causes tingling sensations and numbness at the initial stage.
As it progresses to advanced stages, it may lead to severe pain and weakness in the hands and even cause nerve damage. CTS can occur in one or both of hands and is generally more common in women than men.
The cause of most cases of CTS are unknown, however it is usually due to excessive pressure on the median nerve that travels through the wrist at the carpal tunnel.
A number of factors can contribute to CTS, such as the anatomy of your wrist, repetitive use of the wrist, an injury, workplace factors and nutritional deficiencies. Certain medical conditions can also increase a person’s risk.
Such medical conditions include diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, fluid retention, high blood pressure, obesity, pregnancy, kidney failure, menopause and autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Advanced stages of this condition may require medical attention. However, home remedies can reduce symptoms and help restore wrist and hand function in mild cases of CTS.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome.
1. Cold Compress
For temporary and quick relief from inflammation and numbness caused by CTS, you can use a cold compress. The cold temperature will help relieve pain by numbing the affected area. It even reduces swelling and inflammation.
- Put a few ice cubes in a plastic, sealable bag.
- Wrap the bag in a towel and apply it on the affected area.
- Leave it in place for about 10 minutes.
- Repeat every hour or so, as needed.
Note: Never apply ice directly on your skin.
2. Massage Therapy
Massaging your hands and wrists is another effective way to alleviate some symptoms of CTS. It will activate the pressure points on your hands, which in turn will increase blood supply, relax stiff muscles, improve mobility and reduce pain.
- Rub some warm coconut or olive oil on your hands and wrists.
- Massage your arms, wrists, hands and fingers with gentle strokes for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Do this 2 or 3 times daily until you notice improvement in your condition.
You can get help from a massage therapist, also.
Note: Do not massage if your joints feel too tender or painful.
3. Epsom Salt
Epsom salt is a natural muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory due to its magnesium content. It can effectively relax the tightened muscles in your hands and wrists.
- Mix ½ to 1 cup of Epsom salt in a deep tub with warm water.
- Soak your hands and wrists in it for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Use this remedy 2 or 3 times a week until you get relief from pain and stiffness.
4. Castor Oil
Castor oil is another good remedy for treating CTS. It can help reduce inflammation, suppress pain and restore normal functioning in your wrists.
- Warm some castor oil and apply it on your hands and fingers.
- Massage your wrists, thumbs, fingers and the back of your hands for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Wrap your hands in flannel and leave it on for an hour.
- Do this once daily for a week or until there is improvement.
5. Acupressure and Acupuncture
Acupressure and acupuncture therapy can also help in the natural treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. It helps restore normal nerve functioning and provides relief from pain.
In fact, it is a good option for those who want to avoid early surgery. A 2012 study published in Journal of Research in Medical Sciences also found acupuncture therapy to be helpful in reducing the symptoms of CTS.
There are specific acu-points on your wrist and elbows (for example, pericardium 6 or PC 6) that you can press gently for a few seconds using your thumb and forefinger to promote the flow of energy and restore range of motion. Consult a skilled acupuncturist for proper treatment.
6. Stretching Exercises
It’s good to flex, rotate and stretch your hands, wrists and arms several times a day when suffering from CTS. This helps increase blood circulation and may also alleviate some of the symptoms.
Stretching exercises are easy to do and can be done while sitting at your desk, waiting in line or whenever you have a few minutes to spare.
- Make a fist, release your hand and shake out your fingers. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
- Put your hands in prayer position. Spread your fingers apart and keep the tips touching the fingers of the opposite hand while you open and close your palms. Do this for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Shake your hands as if you are trying to air dry them for 5 minutes at a time.
Ask your doctor about more stretching exercises that can increase circulation, movement and mobility of your wrists and hands.