Self Help for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Posted by Lloyd on June 06, 2011

Q.Are there any alternative treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome? Any self-help ways to help relieve the pain and swelling?

A.Carpel tunnel syndrome — weakness, pain, numbness and tingling in the hand from compression of the median nerve in the wrist — may respond to a variety of alternative therapies.

Double-blind studies have shown supplements of vitamin B-6 to be helpful. It may take several months to see a benefit, but a dose of 50mg twice a day is a safe and inexpensive nutritional approach.

For inflammation and pain, try antiinflammatory herbs. Bromelain, turmeric and ginger can all help reduce inflammation and pain without the side effects of the prescription antiinflammatory medications. Topically, try capsaicin cream (available at drug stores) for pain relief.

Wrist exercises to stretch the median nerve may help prevent more serious carpel tunnel symptoms that require surgery. Hydrotherapy treatments in the form of alternating hot and cold can help increase circulation and decrease pain and swelling. To do this, immerse your hand and wrist in hot water for two minutes, followed by cold for 30 seconds. Repeat three to four times, finishing with cold.

One study found that acupuncture helped 97 percent of patients; 39 percent had previous unsuccessful surgical treatment. Look for a licensed acupuncturist with experience in treating carpel tunnel syndrome. You may also fine relief from manipulation of the wrist joint itself and even the elbow, shoulder and neck. For this, see a chiropractor or an osteopathic physician trained in manipulation.

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