Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is an extremely common wrist issue often leading to surgery.
Symptoms of CTS can include burning, tingling or itching numbness in your palm and thumb or your index or middle fingers. Weakness is your hand and trouble holding things as well as shock-like feeling that can extend up into your arm.
The carpal tunnel is an opening in your wrist that is formed by the carpal bones on the bottom of the wrist and that lets tendons, ligaments and nerves pass through it to reach your hand. The median nerve helps you move your forearm and gives feeling to most of your fingers and hands.
The median nerve provides feeling to the thumb, index, and middle finger, and part of the ring finger (but not the little finger). It also controls some small muscles at the base of the thumb.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome starts when irritated, overworked tendons begin to form adhesions and restrictions between the surrounding tissues. The adhesions cause tendon irritation, inflammation, and compression on the nerve.
The most common causes include:
- Frequent, repetitive movements with the hands
- Extending or flexing the wrist for long periods of time
- Conditions and certain foods that cause inflammation in the joints. Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase tension in the muscles and aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. Diabetes (elevated blood sugar levels increases inflammation)
- Women, on average, have smaller carpal tunnel size than men and are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Hormonal or metabolic changes (for example, menopause, pregnancy, or thyroid imbalance).
The NSAIDs like Motrin, Naproxen and Ibuprofen are commonly used long term to treat the pain associated with carpal tunnel have side effects. These include easy bruising, indigestion, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, liver, and kidney damage.
It is possible to help Carpel Tunnel to heal rest and natural anti-inflammatories the tissue can return to normal.
A study published in the September 13th, 2020; medical journal Biomedical Reports found that vitamin D deficiency was considerably more prevalent in patients with CTS (95.8%) compared with normal range controls (22.9%).
Vitamin B6 reduces nerve inflammation. Vitamin B6 boosts the health of nerves and is essential in maintaining a properly functioning nervous system by assisting in the production of five different neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters carry important electrical signals from one cell to another. It has been suggested as an effective treatment to provide relief for carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers due to its ability to reduce inflammation and swelling of the tendons and muscles around the wrist joint. Take 100mg 2x day (too much B6 can cause nerve damage). Magnesium glycinate helps relax your blood vessels and the muscular tissue that can compress nerves in the delicate carpal area and works synergistically with B6.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in the herb turmeric that has significant anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce CTS-related pain and swelling. Additionally, curcumin can reduce oxidative stress in the tissues of the wrist, lessening carpal tunnel symptoms. Medical studies suggest curcumin can reduce symptoms of sensory neuropathy, and peripheral neuropathy and provide the significant analgesic benefit of reducing pain and swelling. Take 500mg 2-3x day
Serrapeptase is an enzyme derived from silkworms that may help reduce carpal tunnel symptoms such as pain and swelling. It works by breaking down proteins, including the tissue proteins around the wrist which can cause inflammation and pain. Additionally, serrapeptase is thought to have antioxidant properties, which could further protect the wrist tissues from damage due to oxidative stress. (Do not take with blood thinner medications).
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring chemical found in the Cannabis sativa plant and does not contain THC. CBD can be especially effective for treating localized pain caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. CBD interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system plays a vital role in helping to regulate various functions including immune response, and pain sensation. When CBD is applied topically to the skin, it binds to receptors within the ECS. Studies have shown that CBD has therapeutic properties that can help alleviate neuropathic pain related to nerve damage and beneficial for carpal tunnel syndrome. By targeting the specific area where inflamed and swollen tendons are causing the median nerve to be restricted, topical cream and CBD oil can help you experience fast-acting pain relief. Plus CBD Extra Strength roll on (CV Sciences) use as often as needed.
Give your wrist (s) a rest! Activities, such as texting, typing, working with tools, painting, knitting can all lead to worsening carpal tunnel syndrome. These activities require you to constantly use your wrists and hands. If you don’t take proper breaks from these activities, inflammation can ramp up in your wrist, putting more pressure on the median nerve.
Physical Therapy for “myofascial release” / Carpal Tunnel massage can be very helpful.
Wrist Stretch Exercise is intended to stretch tight forearm flexor muscles that are restricting the median nerve.
Wrist flexor stretch
- Extend your arm in front of you with your palm up.
- Bend your wrist, pointing your hand toward the floor.
- With your other hand, gently bend your wrist farther until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your forearm.
- Hold for at least 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 4 times as long as you are not experiencing increased pain. If they hurt, back off or stop completely and let your health care provider know.
- Beware! Squeezing a stress ball can make CTS worse.
Surgery should be a last resort!
Dr. John M. Erickson, MD at the Raleigh Hand to Shoulder Center states, “There are several important reasons why carpal tunnel release surgery may not work well:
- Incorrect diagnosis. It is important to have the correct diagnosis prior to any surgery. If the problem is actually a pinched nerve in the neck, surgery on the hand and wrist for carpal tunnel will not help the symptoms. Not all hand pain and numbness is caused from carpal tunnel syndrome. Other causes can be diabetic peripheral neuropathy, ulnar neuropathy, cervical radiculopathy, multiple sclerosis, etc.
- Incomplete release. If there is an area of pressure on the nerve remaining after surgery, the patient can have continued carpal tunnel symptoms.
- Nerve damage before surgery. Some patients have severe nerve damage prior to visiting the doctor.
- Scar tissue. Some patients develop excess scar tissue at the surgery site. “
If you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and need help so that you can comfortably write and use your hands while taking part in daily activities, call 508-336-4242. Schedule an in-office or telephone appointment at the Tree of Life Wellness Center in Seekonk Massachusetts and let our 40 years’ experience in Natural Healthcare help you feel better again.
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