Does your thumb area feel like it’s shutting down on its own? Are you feeling pins and needles on your hands? If so, you likely have carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). This condition can become severe, with some individuals suffering from intense pain that runs through their arms. Some CTS cases can be fixed through a surgical procedure, but if you want to skip the knife, you can try alternative options to find relief for carpal tunnel without surgery.
Some of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include tingling sensations that start within the thumb area and spread through the first three fingers. For chronic to severe cases, there would be a burning sensation on the arm. Symptoms like weakness of the hand muscles, wrist pain at night, and poor finger control can point to CTS.
If you’re suffering from this condition, you can try some remedies at home. The following are some of our tried and tested relief options:
1. Wearing a carpal tunnel brace/splints
One of the common solutions used to alleviate the pain of CTS is wearing a wrist brace or splint. This will keep your hand in a neutral and natural position. It’s not the cure for carpal tunnel without surgery, but it really does wonders for reducing the discomfort.
Also, the pressure from the brace will help ease the pressure on the median nerve. Remember that CTS occurs due to the unnecessary pressure on this nerve located in your upper arm.
Wrist splints help if the person needs to perform tasks like typing, lifting things, and gripping items. Take note that rest is also necessary to prevent your CTS from worsening.
2. Keeping your hands warm
Keeping your hands warm by soaking it in warm water will help a lot. This improves circulation on your hands, which eases the pressure on the median nerve. You can do this for 10 minutes every two hours. Some will use an ice soak for immediate pain relief.
The symptoms of carpal will become worse during winter. Due to the cold temperature, your fingers will have reduced mobility, compromised circulation, and increased swelling.
If you don’t want your hands to get wet all the time, you can purchase a heated glove instead. This comes with electronics that keep your hands toasty. However, the only downside is that it’s challenging to perform some tasks with a heated glove.
3. Performing some stretches
Just because you’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome doesn’t mean you will not move your wrists. At night, you can wiggle your hands to ease the pain. The discomfort of carpal tunnel syndrome often manifests at night due to a lack of movement. When this happens, fluids build up on your arm, which adds more pressure on your median nerve.
Before you perform any task with your hands, make it a habit to do a 15-minute stretching. Some of the wrist exercises you can perform are thumb touches, basic wrist stretch, hand squeeze, and so on.
Always start easy to prevent causing further pain on your hands.
4. Elevating the affected hand
If you’re not performing any task with your affected hand, you can elevate it for relief. This will prevent fluid retention, which is known for making CTS worse.
While elevated, you can also wear a heated glove or brace. This technique is heaven-sent at night, especially for those at a higher risk of developing the syndrome.
Remember that women are more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Those who have diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure are also at a higher risk. If you want to avoid or reduce the discomfort, you should pair elevation with a healthier lifestyle.
5. Taking pain-relievers
If all else fails, you can find immediate and guaranteed relief from taking pain-relievers. You can take over-the-counter (OTC) medications like ibuprofen or aspirin. Aside from alleviating pain, these two drugs also reduce the swelling of the affected hand.
However, you should never use pain-relievers as a long-term solution for (CTS). Prolonged intake of these medications has life-threatening side effects. You should only take painkillers within the shortest time possible. Consider one week as the maximum.
If you wish to take painkillers beyond that period, you should consult a physician first.
6. Slathering some menthol ointments/oils
Another option you have is using menthol ointments. This will ease mild cases of carpal tunnel syndrome. You can also apply soothing oils, which will double as a hand moisturizer.
The only downside to this solution is it can get messy, especially if you have to hold and touch things. As much as possible, apply a thin amount at a time.
For those with moderate CTS cases, some studies suggest that lavender oil will offer anti-inflammatory and soothing benefits.
When to see a doctor
Take note that the alternative solutions we mentioned here only offer short-term relief. You should consult a medical professional if you want to know how to treat carpal tunnel without surgery.
A doctor can check your condition and diagnose the severity of your carpal tunnel syndrome. A physician can also offer you a holistic remedy that will yield better results. Avoid taking any medications without consulting a doctor.
So when should you see a doctor? Ideally, you should consult a doctor immediately whenever you observe the tell-tale signs of carpal tunnel syndrome. That way, you will receive treatment even before the condition worsens.
If you feel unbearable pain in your arm and the inability to control your fingers properly, we recommend that you seek a doctor immediately. This is likely a case of severe carpal tunnel syndrome that home remedies alone can’t relieve.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can affect your quality of life. Almost all line of work involves the hands, and if yours developed CTS, it would affect your performance.
What we discussed here are just some of the tried and tested remedies you can try. In the end, consulting with a medical professional is still the best move, especially for severe cases.