Imagine what life would be like if your hands didn’t work the way you are used to. Imagine if something as simple as brushing your teeth was painful; if something as routine as opening a jar lid was nearly impossible. This is what carpal tunnel sufferer’s deal with every day.
It is commonly believed that certain types of work that require repetitive movements of the arm and wrist can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. The truth is the relationship between repetitive stress and carpal tunnel syndrome is unclear.
We do know for sure that certain conditions put you at higher risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. Rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, or thyroid disorders all increase the risk that your median nerve will become inflamed. Alcoholism and wrist fractures can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
In many cases, mild carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated with a wrist brace. Sometimes the condition is even self-correcting. If it does persist, you could suffer from permanent nerve damage, so it is a good idea to consult with a doctor if you have been living with wrist pain and numbness for a long time. In extreme cases, your doctor may recommend surgery to relieve the pressure on your nerve.
Preventative Measures are Best
An even better response to carpal tunnel syndrome is to take steps early on to relieve and eliminate your symptoms.
As I mentioned above, often a simple wrist brace (available at your grocery or drug store) is enough to correct the condition. You can also try several other natural options.
One often-recommended treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is vitamin B6. There is conflicting evidence regarding the effectiveness of vitamin B6 as a treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. However, vitamin B6 is something your body needs anyway, so it doesn’t hurt to begin taking a vitamin B-complex.
It can take up to three months to notice a difference. Follow the dosage guide when taking a B-complex because some B vitamins can become toxic in high amounts.
Another potential treatment is the use of laser acupuncture. In this treatment an infrared laser is directed onto acupuncture points along the affected arm and hand. In one study, participants experienced a significant lessening of carpal tunnel symptoms that lasted up to three years.[i]
If you can find a natural solution that works effectively you’ll save yourself the expense and pain of surgery. And of course there’s no guarantee that surgery will have a positive result.
Your best defense to this crippling disease is to be aware of how you use your hands, wrists and arms. Never overstrain these parts of your body in a continuous and repetitive exercise. And if you feel pain in your wrist up through your arm…please stop what you’re doing and see a doctor in most cases.
Mark Bromson, M.D.
[i] Naeser MA, et al. “Carpal tunnel syndrome pain treated with low-level laser and microamperes transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation: A controlled study,” Arch Phys Med Rehabil 2002; 83(7): 978-88
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