Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition in the wrists or hands that affects about 4% of the population. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms occur most often in the thumb, middle finger and index finger. (1) It’s caused by swelling and inflammation of the carpal bones and tendons, which are located in the wrist.
Without treatment, carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms can worsen over time. Risk factors include poor posture, obesity, arthritis, diabetes, smoking and performing repetitive movements. (2) Carpal tunnel home remedies can help provide relief from painful symptoms. You can also use carpal tunnel syndrome prevention techniques to help reduce your chances of developing the painful condition.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms
- Numbness, loss of feeling or tingling in the hand
- Pain and throbbing in the fingers, hand or forearm
- Difficulty moving the hands normally
- Unusual sensations throughout the hand and fingers
- Pain that extends up the forearm toward the shoulder
- Muscle weakness and shaking in the hand
- Weakened grip and loss of strength in hand
- Throbbing and swelling
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Prevention
1. Stretch Your Wrists and Hands
Stretching your hands every once in a while can help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. Take a break throughout your work day to gently bend your fingers and move your wrists around.
2. Don’t Grip Too Hard
When you’re driving, writing, using a controller or performing other activities, be careful not to squeeze too tightly. Carpal tunnel syndrome prevention involves keeping a looser grip to reduce the stress and pressure on your hands and wrists.
3. Practice Good Posture
Poor posture can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. When using your hands for a long period of time, make sure you keep your feet firmly set on the floor. Sit with your spine straight, be careful not to hunch, and let your elbows rest at the side of your body so your wrists remain in a straight, relaxed position. (3)
4. Eat an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Carpal tunnel syndrome prevention includes eating an anti-inflammatory diet. Certain foods can promote inflammation and worsen joint and tendon pain. Avoid processed sugar as well as trans-fats, saturated fats, alcohol and foods high in sodium. Replace these foods with fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Home Remedies
1. Rest the Affected Hand
Carpal tunnel causes include inflammation from pressure and overuse. Resting the affected hand can help avoid added stress and overuse. Focus on stretching your hands during the rest period and using the carpal tunnel home remedies below.
2. Perform Wrist and Hand Exercises
Carpal tunnel exercises can help provide carpal tunnel relief. (4) Carpal tunnel exercises include:
- Lift light objects using your whole hand and a loose grip to strengthen your hand
- Hold your hands in a prayer pose with your palms touching
- Roll your wrists gently in circles
- Lightly stretch the spaces between your fingers
- Extend and stretch both wrists and fingers while counting to five. Straighten both wrists and relax your fingers, then make a fist with both hands. Count to five as you hold your first, then strengthen again. Repeat 2-3 times per day.
3. Apply Ice
An ice pack can help naturally provide carpal tunnel relief. Hold an ice pack in your hand or over your hand for about 15 minutes, twice per day to help reduce inflammation and relieve painful symptoms.
4. Use Essential Oils
Several essential oils can be used as carpal tunnel home remedies to decrease swelling, dull pain and promote healing. Try wintergreen oil, cypress oil, peppermint oil and frankincense oil. Add 3-4 drops of each to some coconut oil. Rub the mixture on the inflamed area 1-3 times per day to provide relief. (5)