It’s well into the hours of the evening, and you are frantically typing at your computer trying to meet tomorrow morning’s deadline.
Gradually, your palm and fingers feel as if they are burning, tingling, itching, and partially numb.
Has this happened to you?
This may be a sign that you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition of the hand affecting between 3 to 6 per cent of adults in the general population.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused when the median nerve, which runs from your forearm into the palm of your hand, becomes entrapped at the wrist. This compression is exacerbated by activities that include working in one position for prolonged periods of time, such as typing on a keyboard, and by forceful or repetitive hand activities like tennis or gardening. As a result, pain and paresthesia can be felt within the thumb, index, and middle finger, in the palm of the hand, forearm, and may extend as far as the upper arm and shoulder.
There are several natural approaches that ease the symptoms and severity of carpal tunnel syndrome. Below are six effective therapies that can help you feel better, and increase your productivity at work and overall quality of life:
- Ergonomic equipment – Ensuring proper posture of muscles and joints is key to reducing exacerbations of carpal tunnel symptoms. Purchasing an ergonomic mouse and wrist rest for your keyboard, as well as ensuring adequate table height for your work station, can help decrease numbness and nerve pain.
- Exercise– Stretching and strengthening the flexor and extensor muscles in your forearm and wrist can help prevent symptom flare-ups. Stretches can be performed at your desk without any equipment for a few minutes every hour. Seeking the advice from an occupational therapist can be helpful in providing you with additional workplace support.
- Anti-inflammatories – Natural anti-inflammatories including curcumin and alpha-lipoic acid are effective adjunct supplements for reducing nerve pain in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. You may also find symptomatic relief from an Arnica Gel and a Devil’s Claw extract in the muscles surrounding the wrist and wrist joint itself.
- Electro-acupuncture – Electro-acupuncture is a form of acupuncture that adds a pulsating electrical current to acupuncture needles. Electro-acupuncture has been found to be equally effective to night splinting for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, electro-acupuncture and acupuncture are effective natural treatments in reducing pain levels in many types of disorders and diseases.
- Yoga – A randomized controlled trial in the Journal of American Medical Association indicated that yoga classes taken twice weekly for eight consecutive weeks can help reduce carpal tunnel pain, increase grip strength, and improve results of “Phalen’s maneuver” – a common test used to help diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Whole foods diet – Foods high in B-vitamins and iron, including dark leafy green vegetables and whole grains, can help reduce inflammation in the body. Although vitamin B6 supplementation for carpal tunnel syndrome has shown mixed results, you may find symptomatic benefit by supplementing. Make sure not to exceed more than 200 mg of B6 per day.