The position we sleep in is very important, as it can interrupt blood circulation in certain parts of our body. We can also do simple exercises to reduce stress.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a very common problem that occurs because of certain activities, such as working and typing on the computer for several hours per day. There are a number of symptoms that characterize this condition, such as weakness, numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers. Learn more about the main causes and best natural remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome in this article.
What is “carpal tunnel syndrome” and what causes it?
This condition is the result of increased pressure on the median nerve, which is located in the wrist and responsible for hand movement and sensibility in the palm and fingers. It is a narrow “tunnel,” which means that even the slightest swelling can press down on the nerve, causing pain, weakness and numbness.
This syndrome is caused by excessive computer use and other strenuous activities. In other words, typing for an extended period of time, clicking the computer mouse too many times, performing repetitive movements at work, playing a musical instrument or playing certain sports are all activities that can cause tendinitis or bursitis.
Carpal tunnel syndrome usually occurs in people between 30 and 60 years old, and affects more men than women. Some additional factors that can trigger this condition are:
- Arthritis in the wrist
- Broken bones
- Cyst or tumor on the wrist
- Water retention (pregnancy or menopause)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
The most common symptoms for people with carpal tunnel syndrome are:
- Numbness in one or both thumbs (depending on the triggering activity), as well as in the pointer and middle fingers
- Tingling in those same areas
- Pain that extends from the hand to the elbow
- Problems with precise movements and coordination
- Weak grip when carrying bags
- Weakness in the hands
- Feeling of heat in the fingers or palm
- Frequent nighttime numbness
Homemade remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome
- Take one tablespoon of flaxseed oil per day for two to four weeks straight. The fatty acids in this oil prevent and reduce swelling.
- Choose foods that are rich in vitamin B6, such as potatoes, bananas, brown rice, chicken breasts and green vegetables.
- Apply a cold compress to your wrist or hand to reduce swelling. Never use heat pads or warm towels because this will make your symptoms worse.
- Wet a cotton ball with a bit of arnica dye and apply it to the affected area.
- Dissolve two tablespoons of powdered ginger in one cup of boiling water. Cover the mixture and let it cool. Drink two cups of this drink per day as it is an excellent anti-inflammatory.
- Boil three tablespoons of fenugreek flour with plenty of water for 15 minutes until a paste is formed. Once the mixture has cooled, apply it to the spot on your wrist or hand that hurts the most.
3 therapeutic juices for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The first juice on our list includes one grapefruit, one orange and one slice of pineapple without the peel. Wash the first two fruits and slice them in half; juice them. Pour the liquid into a blender and add the previously chopped slice of pineapple. Blend all three together and drain the mixture. Drink one glass every three days on an empty stomach (as a preventative measure) or daily (to treat pain or symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome).
- The second juice calls for one leaf of kale and two green apples. Wash, peel and chop the apples. Place them in a blender with the kale and additional water. Blend the mixture for a few minutes. Drink one glass per day.
- Finally, our third recipe includes the following ingredients: one slice of peeled pineapple, half an apple and one thin slice of ginger. Chop the pineapple and place it in a blender. Add the peeled, seedless apple and the slice of ginger. Drink one glass per day, preferably in the morning.
Recommendations for avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome
- Keep a natural, neutral posture: try not to bend your hands or wrists; rather, they should be stretched out (as often as possible). If you spend a lot of time typing, your keyboard should be placed so that your wrists don’t have to be in an unnatural position. When opening or unscrewing containers or lifting objects, try to use your entire hand instead of just the first three fingers. This will alleviate pressure on your carpal tunnel. When you’re at work, rest for a few minutes every hour by changing activities.
- Lead a healthy lifestyle: this will keep you from suffering from problems in the circulatory system in general. Get a good night’s rest, do exercise on a regular basis, don’t smoke, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water, avoid fats and sugars, etc.
- Pay attention to your sleeping posture: the best way to sleep at night is with your arms by your side and your wrists straight out. On the other hand, if you sleep with your hands under your body, you may apply additional pressure to your wrists.
- Do specific exercises for the wrist area: these movements will help you to improve circulation and reduce tension. For example, you can place your hands palm-down and make small circles with your wrists in either direction. Or, you can extend your hand and keep your thumb tense, grabbing your right thumb with your left hand, thus applying slight pressure and “stretching” the thumb (do this five times and then switch hands). Other exercises involve extending your fingers, opening and closing them, or squeezing a ball as hard as possible. Finally, you can lift a light weight (no more than two kilos) by resting your forearm on a table so that your wrist hangs off the end and then lift the weight by flexing your wrist.
- Use ergonomic objects: this type of keyboard is very popular, but there are other ergonomic products out there, as well. They keep you from exerting too much pressure on your wrists, hands and elbows.
Images courtesy of handarmoc, Birdies100, Elise Hui, Viktor Rosenfeld, Martin Terber, Dmitry Dzhus.
More information at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/carpaltunnelsyndrome.html