Published: 06/25/2013 - Updated: 12/08/2016
Characterised by sharp pains, tingling, burning, numbness as well as weakness in the hands and wrists, carpal tunnel syndrome has become more common than we think and there are times in which sufferers from this disease often cannot even sleep from the pain.
There are many circumstances that can lead to this syndrome, such as pregnancy or repetitive bending. It occurs because the bone passageway narrows, known as "carpal tunnel," which is located on the wrist. Symptoms occur when the median nerve passes through this duct, compressed often by an inflamed tissue. The pain may radiate to the shoulder and if left untreated, may even require surgery.
Acupuncture: People with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome were tested this traditional Asian therapy 8 times over a month, and were less prone to pain than those who only took medication. Besides, acupuncture can reduce inflammation, often relieving nerves.
Wet cupping therapy: This consists of puncturing certain points on the body and applying suction on them using a suction cup. It is recommended that this be carried out by a health professional and has even proven to be effective in cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the short term.
Applying cold: If you think your carpal tunnel syndrome is due to repetitive maneuvers, applying ice for 15-20 minutes on your wrists often relieves pain and reduces inflammation. This remedy combined with massage and acupuncture can be very beneficial.
Rest: If you are a person who works at a computer or in an activity that requires you to bend your wrists constantly, take breaks of 5 minutes each hour. Also, do not spend your time relaxing on video games or other activities that may worsen the situation.
Stretching: Perform the following stretch if possible: Bridge the tip of your thumb to the tip of the little finger, then the three middle fingers passing through this bridge leading them toward the palm. With your other hand, take your fingers out of the way trying to straighten them. Try to resist stretching, but push and stretch out tendons of the wrist carpal tunnel creating more space for the median nerve. Perform 5 repetitions three times a day.
Self-massage: Apply some massage oil or lotion on your fingers and gently massage your hand, from the fingertips, through the palm, and reaching a little beyond the wrist to the forearm. Take 5 to 10 minutes, twice a day.
Wrist splints: Perhaps the most contested therapy to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, it is used to keep the wrist immobilized, and prevents bending. People may or may not advise its use, depending on the symptoms that are present in your particular case.
Steroids and corticosteroids: These medications are usually prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation. Rather than correcting the problem, it is a temporary option since it may not be used for a long time. Keep in mind that this is not a permanent solution.
Surgery: The option feared by all, involves cutting the transverse carpal ligament that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel to make room for the nerve.
Hand and arm pain is regularly confused or misdiagnosed as this syndrome, so it is important to consult a specialist if you are suffering from any of the above mention symptoms. Remember to ask for a second opinion because misdiagnosis may lead to unnecessary surgery. It is important that before considering surgery you try the other options in order to treat the syndrome.