Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the hands and arms. This condition causes tingling and numbness sensation at the early stage. As the condition progresses, the pain becomes severe, the hands weak and damage the nerve. Carpal tunnel can affect both hands and women are more susceptible to this condition than men.
This condition is due to excessive pressure placed on the median nerve that passes through the wrist at the carpal tunnel.
Causes of carpal tunnel syndrome
- Conditions and illnesses such as obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, gout that result to pain in the arm, reduced flow of blood in the area, and soft tissues in the arm.
- Strong and repeated wrist and hand movement causes the tendons to swell
- Dislocated bones, broken bones of the wrist, and bone spurs
- Hand-arm vibrations
- Working in awkward positions for long periods of time
- Numbness or pain in the hand, wrist and forearm usually at night.
- Tingling, pain, numbness and “pins-and-needles” sensations
- Severe numbness or pain can be felt when using the hands or wrist especially when gripping an object using the hand or flexing the wrist.
- Stiffness of the fingers in the morning
- Severe pain in the forearm between the elbow and wrist
- Rest the affected hand, fingers and wrist. Avoid performing activities that can cause numbness and pain. When the symptoms are lessened, continue with the activity gradually. Keep the wrists straight or slightly bent.
- Apply cold compress on the affected wrist for at least 10-15 minutes, once or two times every hour. The cold temperature lessens the numbness, swelling and inflammation. Avoid applying an ice pack directly on the skin to prevent frostbite and making the condition worse. Make sure that the ice pack is wrapped with a towel before placing on the area.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication to lessen the pain and swelling.
- Wear a wrist splint at night to prevent unnecessary movements. It keeps the wrist in a neutral position and minimizes pressure placed on the median nerve.
- Massage the hands and wrist to lessen some of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Rub coconut oil or olive oil on the hands, wrist and fingers and massage using gentle strokes for at least 10-15 minutes. Repeat this process for 2-3 times every day until the symptoms are minimized. Coconut oil and olive oil increases blood flow in the area, relaxes stiff muscles, lessens pain and improves mobility.
- In a tub filled with warm water, mix 1 cup of Epsom salt until completely dissolved and soak the affected hand and wrist in the solution for at least 15-20 minutes. Repeat this process 2-3 times every week until pain and stiffness are reduced. Epsom salt has anti-inflammatory properties and a natural muscle relaxant that is effective in relaxing tight muscles in the hands and wrists.