Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, also known as repetitive strain syndrome, is a condition where the median nerve gets compressed while passing through the carpal tunnel at the wrist. This is accompanied by numbness and tingling, usually in the lateral fingers. Certain movements can irritate the compression and cause pain locally, but sometimes up into the forearm and elbow, less frequently and seldom into the shoulder. Another major symptom is that of wakening up in the middle of the night due to pain.
The Carpal Tunnel can be viewed as a tunnel, a passageway for the median nerve and nine tendons. Through repetitive strain and/or wrong positioning of the wrist, this area can get irritated and inflamed, leading eventually to Repetitive Strain Syndrome. While this is probably the one major cause of it, there are a few other factors that can lead to this aggravating condition. Some of these causes could be scar tissue from an injury, callus formation after a bone fracture, or changes in the bone due to rheumatoid arthritis.
While carpal tunnel syndrome is only seen in about 1% of the population, it is certain professions, such as butchers, assembly line workers or keyboard operators, who are mostly affected by it. If the condition isn’t treated, it can turn into weakness and clumsiness of the thumb and finger muscles.
There are many therapists out there who have had success in treating Repetitive Strain Syndrome. You just have to find one. That of course is easier said than done. But it could be your answer in preventing surgery, which should always be your last way out.
Not every therapist will have the same approach in healing carpal tunnel. Some focus on solely physical therapy, others have had great success with acupuncture or other ancient healing methods. Sometimes the problem or cause of a certain condition lays so deep inside our body that it takes a special technique to unblock the traffic jam.
I have personally had the most success with clients by giving them self-help instructions, reducing their hypertoned muscles in the forearm through non-irritating massage strokes, followed by application of ice. And to unblock the traffic jam I have always used a very ancient Japanese healing method, called Jin Shin Jyutsu.
Below you will find my self-help recommendations. They are essential and are worth your time. But remember, they are natural self-help techniques. It took a while to get to the painful point you are at now. So be patient with your natural healing plan, but be consistent and don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional therapist.
Self-Help for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The following steps are really easy for anybody to follow. Before you start though, take notes in form of a journal. Write down your symptoms, areas of discomfort and pain. Calculate your pain level at a scale from 1-10, 1 being little pain, 7 being the most you can take, 8 9 and 10 much more than you can handle. Compare these notes after one week, then two weeks but stay persistent.
Hydrotherapy. While inflammation is present, I recommend icing the wrist for 10 minutes, three times daily. Put a bag of ice over your bare wrist and leave it on. First it will feel cold, then it will numb it. Once the fluid retention has decreased, continue with hot and cold packs at intervals of three minutes each. This will increase circulation and help the removal of toxins.
Stretching. Stretch your outer and inner forearm muscles for at least 60 seconds each. Hold your arm out in front of you, your palm facing up. Pull the hand down to stretch the forearm flexors. Now you rotate the arm to have the palm facing down. Now you pull the hand up. To stretch the forearm extensors, you hold the arm out with the palm facing down. Press the hand down, keeping all fingers straight. Now, you keep that position but curl the fingers.
Self Massage. Massage your forearm muscles to increase circulation.
Relaxation Techniques Start with daily deep breathing exercises. They will not only relax you and calm your nervous system but every organ will benefit from these very beneficial exercises.
Wrist Positioning. Watch your wrist. If using a computer, take the steps necessary to keep your wrists lined up with your forearm. Though it is best to stay away from repetitive activities which has led to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in the first place. This can only prolong your path to successful healing.