Does your thumb on either hand feel like it’s going to sleep? Do you feel pain at the wrist joint? Do you get a pins and needle feeling in your hand? Does your hand, especially your thumb, feel weak?
Chances are that you have carpal tunnel syndrome. While it’s a fairly common problem, the pain and numbness it causes certainly doesn’t feel “common.”
Carpal tunnel refers to the tight space in the wrist that the median nerve, which is one of the nerves that runs down the length of your forearm, get compressed in what is already a tight space.
There are several ways people develop carpal tunnel including:
Females tend to suffer from this problem more often than men, but those who have short, wide hands also tend to be affected.
Workers who perform repetitive tasks need to be especially aware of the early signs of carpal tunnel, which include a burning sensation, a feeling of pins and needles, a weakness in the hand, pain in the wrist, thumb, and often even the fingers.
The earlier carpal tunnel is treated, the easier it is for the body to heal.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel tend to start off so small and build up so gradually that many people are not even aware there is a problem until it becomes serious.
Symptoms often start at night, when we typically sleep with our wrists bent. Common symptoms include:
You can usually tell that the pain you are feeling is carpal tunnel when your wrists, thumb, hands, and fingers hurt but the pinkie finger, and often times the ring finger, does not.
Left untreated, this condition will lead to weakness and a lack of coordination in the hand, fingers, and thumb. This will leave you almost unable to use your hand for everyday tasks, such as writing, holding a fork, or lifting a glass.
Compression of the median nerve in the wrist can also lead to permanent nerve damage. This is why getting treatment for carpal tunnel early is so important!
If you suffer from carpal tunnel, one of the first things you want to know is how you can get rid of the pain!
The good news here is that, for most people, carpal tunnel syndrome treatment is easy to find, easy to do, and no surgery is necessary in most cases. You should see your chiropractor or other health care professional to rule out any other possible issues, but carpal tunnel is fairly easy to diagnose. Schedule with our Juneau Office for your wrist evaluation.
Want to know how to get rid of your carpal tunnel symptoms and pain? We are here to clue you in on 12 little secrets about doing exactly that.
Sometimes, if you have a mild case of carpal tunnel or if you are going to give birth shortly so you know that your carpal tunnel pain will be ending soon, common carpal tunnel home remedies can help to give you relief from the pain. Some of the best home remedies are:
Do what works best for you. Some people believe ice baths are the bomb while others claim that only heat offers them relief. Everyone is different so spend some time experimenting with different methods to find what works for you.
Pay attention to whatever it is you are doing with your hands and reduce your grip. Try not to use so much pressure when typing or writing, don’t hold on to tools or a steering wheel so tightly. Relax your grip and reduce the amount of pressure that you use.
You should also avoid flexing your wrists, in either direction, to any extreme. Your wrist should stay as neutral as possible. Use ergonomic keyboards and computer mice that are designed to reduce stress on the wrists.
One of the most obvious things to do is to stop doing whatever is causing you pain! This is one of those “sounds good on paper” things that is much harder to do in real life. Not many of us have the opportunity to stop working (if that’s the cause) but you might be able to find a way to do exactly that.
Depending on the root cause, you can have your doctor write a note stating that you need to do “alternative work” for a certain period (usually two weeks). Your work must allow you to have alternate duties or take the time off.
If you work for yourself, well, maybe you should give yourself a two-week vacation and give your wrists and hands a well-deserved rest!
However, if you are experiencing carpal tunnel because you play a musical instrument or because of a certain sport you are playing, it will be easier to take some time away to let your body heal.
Pain that is caused by health conditions, such as fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, taking a 2- week break might help for a while, but you will probably need a longer-term solution.
While giving your hands and wrists a break sounds great, sometimes, even that is not enough. There are a few simple stretches and exercises that can help to stop the pain and keep hands, fingers, and wrists more flexible. Do these 3 exercises a few times each day and before bed to help ease carpal tunnel syndrome.
Some of the best exercises for carpal tunnel include:
Some women experience the pain of carpal tunnel during pregnancy due to swelling. This swelling of the hands and wrists puts pressure on the median nerve, causing pain and numbness of the hands and fingers. Unfortunately, this pain can persist even after you have given birth.
For most women, it’s simply a matter of time before the swelling and inflammation causes things to return to normal. Your doctor might suggest cortisone injections to help relieve the pain, but the injections themselves can be quite painful.
Some of the best ways to speed up the healing process after pregnancy include:
Why does everything seem to hurt worse at night when you are trying to get your rest?! The answer to this is complicated, but most times, as in the case of carpal tunnel, it’s because we sleep in positions that cause pain. The pain from carpal tunnel can also increase at night because of a buildup of fluid, which put pressure on the area.
To find carpal tunnel relief at night, you need to avoid sleeping in certain positions that aggravate carpal tunnel such as
You can get more rest if you try the following before you hit the hay:
Changing the position in which you sleep will probably do more good than anything else, but the other measures mentioned here have also been known to help. Experiment and try several options to find which ones work best for you.
While most mainstream medicine frowns on homeopathic treatments, many people swear by their healing power. You can certainly give these a try since you have lost nothing if these do not work for you.
Some of the best topical and homeopathic treatments for carpal tunnel include:
If you are unsure how to use the above items, speak to your doctor, pharmacist, or chiropractor.
Get some physical therapy and physical therapy modalities right at your chiropractor’s office, physical therapy exercises and modalities can often help prevent the need for surgery by using different modalities and showing you ways of stretching and strengthening your wrists and hands while teaching you ways to prevent further damage.
Some examples of what physical therapy can do include:
Carpal tunnel syndrome responds well to many of the physical therapy modalities your chiropractor might use, which include:
Chiropractic care and physical therapy related treatments are like hand and glove; they naturally go together to help heal carpal tunnel, so you can avoid surgery.
Before we begin this section, please note that you should always consult with your doctor, chiropractor, or pharmacist before taking any supplement, not matter how “natural” it might be. This is especially true if you are already taking prescription drugs. Avoid problems and possible drug interactions by consulting with a medical professional first.
Nutritional supplements can help reduce the pain, swelling, and inflammation that goes along with carpal tunnel. Some of the best supplements include:
You might not know that massage has so many benefits beyond making you feel really relaxed. Many people find that chiropractic massage can help prevent surgery by breaking up the scar tissues and adhesions that occur from overuse or repetitive use.
Many times, carpal tunnel involves more than just the wrists and arms, but the shoulders and neck as well. Poor posture or subluxations of the spine, shoulders, and neck can cause muscles to tighten. Tight neck and/or shoulder muscles can cause you to make accommodations that can lead to swelling in the wrists, elbows, and forearms.
Chiropractic massage is perhaps one of the most relaxing and beneficial things you can do for your body, including stopping the advancement and pain of carpal tunnel.
This is another highly contentious subject. While research says that there is no proof that essential oils have any healing power, thousands of testimonials say otherwise. You have nothing to lose by trying some of the essential oils listed here.
Some of the most commonly recommended essential oils for carpal tunnel include:
Mixing one or more of the above oils and gently heating them creates a sweet-smelling massage oil. Use several times each day for best results.
Can I get rid of carpal tunnel without surgery? Ask your chiropractor! Chances are, the answer is yes. The majority of people do not need surgery to correct their carpal tunnel syndrome.
The median nerve which gets compressed in the wrist and causes pain begins in the cervical spine. Your chiropractor is a highly trained specialist in the entire musculoskeletal system of the body. This means that he can investigate and treat the compression of nerves anywhere in the body.
Chiropractors treat pain at the source, not simply cover up your symptoms.
Receiving chiropractic adjustments to realign the wrist, fingers, elbows, shoulders, neck and back, reduce restrictions and allow the free flow of blood circulation. This will relieve pain, reduce swelling, and lead to lower levels of inflammation.
Some studies have suggested that many people with carpal tunnel pain are actually experiencing an issue not so much at the wrist, but a pinched median nerve in the upper back, shoulder, or neck. Chiropractic adjustments can reduce the pressure on pinched nerves.
Adjustments have been proven to help stop and even reverse carpal tunnel syndrome. Regular chiropractic care has very positive results in both controlling and healing carpal tunnel.
Your chiropractor might also use other modalities to treat your carpal tunnel including:
Your chiropractor can also offer an assessment of the ergonomics of your workspace or home office to minimize stress and offer you alternative means of doing repetitive tasks.
Working with your chiropractor is the best of all possible treatments as it stops pain while preventing the need for surgery.
Anytime you feel pain, numbness, weakness, or tingling in your thumbs, wrists, or hands and it lasts for more than 4 or 5 days, it’s time to see your chiropractor.
If you feel that the information in this article was helpful, please feel free to share it with others who you think might benefit from it.
However, if you or someone you love is suffering with the pain and difficulty of carpal tunnel, or if you aren’t sure that what you are experiencing is carpal tunnel syndrome, please call our office for a same day appointment. Our highly skilled staff can diagnose your problem and create a treatment plan for your unique situation and your insurance probably covers the cost of treatment. Call us today!