Wrist Pain? 8 Ways to Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The numbness and pins and needles in your wrist and hands can be unbearable at times. Try these eight suggestions to get for relief from carpal tunnel syndrome pain.
Take a break
If you’re feeling carpal tunnel pain, temporarily stop what you’re doing, suggests Sara Tomaszewski, MD, clinical instructor in the physical therapy and rehabilitation sciences department at Drexel University. “Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when the median nerve is compressed as it travels from the forearm through the bones and ligaments that make up the carpal tunnel and into the wrist and hand,” she says. “It is a repetitive strain injury and typically comes as a result of repeated or prolonged activities that compress the carpal tunnel, such as typing with the wrists in poor alignment.” Taking frequent breaks during your work day, if you’re able, can give your body a break. Here are more ways to keep your hands pain-free at work.
Rearrange your desk
Computer use is a common culprit of carpal tunnel issues. You can help reduce your risk of carpal tunnel symptoms by setting up your desk area ergonomically. “Make sure your wrists are well supported, you aren’t having to reach forward for the mouse or keyboard, and your shoulders and elbows are resting in a comfortable position,” says Rachel Girrens, MD and DC, of ICT Muscle & Joint Clinic in Kansas. Your shoulders should not be shrugged and your elbows should be bent around 90 degrees as you type. Try these home remedies for carpal tunnel treatment that actually work.
Massage away the pain
When your wrist is feeling uncomfortable from carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, massaging can be helpful, Dr. Girrens says. Gently rub the tendons at the base of your wrist with your thumb, whenever you feel pain. Learn more self-massage techniques.
Stretch it out
These simple stretches relieve the pressure on your carpal tunnel and can be done anytime during the day. “Put your hand on a table or a wall with all the fingers and thumb spread out,” recommends Nick Buratovich, ND, professor of naturopathic medicine at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. “Lean your forearm forward over the back of your hand and apply downward (table) or forward (wall) pressure for several minutes several times a day.” Check out these other stretching exercises to de-stress at work.
Change up your diet
While many carpal tunnel relief tips focus on what you can change on the outside, turns out your diet may play a part too. Girrens recommends taking a vitamin B supplement and adding whole, anti-inflammatory, and magnesium-rich foods to your diet. Find out these anti-inflammatory foods for fighting pain.
Wear a wrist splint
Although it can be too cumbersome to wear a wrist splint during the day, Randy Hauck, MD, of the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center says that sleeping with one on at night is a good idea. “A lot of people aggravate their symptoms at night because they don’t use a splint and they flex their wrist,” he says, noting that that flexing can then make symptoms worse.
Consider a cortisone injection
“A lot of people get better with a cortisone injection,” Dr. Hauck says. “It’s been shown in a number of studies that cortisone can alleviate the symptoms for a while, but it depends on how severe your wrist pain is.” Relief from an injection can last up to three to six months. Ask your doctor if this is the best treatment for you.