Home Remedies For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition where the Median Nerve is compressed within the wrist.

This blog post contains the best home remedies for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).

Tests for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Here are a few ways to determine if you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

a) Symptoms

carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms

You may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain/Tingling/Numbness on the front side of the Thumb/Pointer/Middle/Half of Ring Finger/Palm
  • Weak grip strength
  • Clumsy hand
  • Poor control of Thumb

b) Tinel’s Test

tinels test for carpal tunnel syndrome

Instruction:

  • Place your hand in front of you.
  • Keep the palm facing upwards.
  • Use the pointer and middle finger of the other hand to firmly tap the front of the wrist.
  • Continue for 5 seconds.

Results: If there is an increase of tingling/pain/numbness, this suggest there may be compression of the Median nerve in the Carpal Tunnel.

c) Phalen’s Test

phalen test for carpal tunnel syndrome

Instruction:

  • Place the back of your hands together.
  • Make sure the fingers are pointing downwards on both hands
  • Push them together.
  • Hold this position for 1 minute.

Results: If there is an increase of tingling/pain/numbness, this suggest there may be compression of the Median Nerve in the wrist.

d) Nerve Conduction Test

This tests how fast the electrical impulse travels down the nerve.

If there is a significant amount compression of the Median nerve, there will be a reduction in the electrical impulse.

You will need to see your Primary Care Provider to get a referral to do this test.


How to Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at Home

STEP 1: Reduce Inflammation
STEP 2: Avoid Excessive Wrist Flexion
STEP 3: Wear a Night Splint
STEP 4: Neutral Wrist
STEP 5: Swelling Management
STEP 6: Releases
STEP 7: Stretches
STEP 8: Nerve Glides
STEP 9: Strengthening Exercises
STEP 10: Surgery

STEP 1: Reduce Inflammation

A significant amount of inflammation in the structures involved with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is usually associated increased pain levels.

This may limit the ability to perform the suggested exercises on this blog post.

Here are some simple ways to reduce inflammation:

a) Anti-Inflammatory Gel

Apply an anti-inflammatory gel to the areas of pain.

Do this 3 times per day.

b) Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

It is recommended that you take an anti-inflammatory medication consistently for at least 7-10 days.

Keep in mind – there are different strengths/types of NSAIDs and is best used if the prescribed medication is appropriate to the severity of the inflammation.

Note: Please consult your Primary Care Provider before taking any medication.

c) Cold Therapy

Apply an ice pack to the areas of pain for at least 10-15 minutes.

Do this 3-5 times per day.

Note: Do not apply the ice pack directly to the skin as you may develop an irritation on the skin.

d) Try Natural Products

It is suggested that taking turmeric, ginger, chia seeds and/or fish oil capsules are natural ways to help reduce the inflammation.

e) Cortisone Injection

The cortisone injection consists of a steroid (cortisone) and an analgesic substance.

The aim of the injection is to reduce the inflammation and reduce the pain by numbing the area.

Talk to your Primary Care Provider to see if the cortisone injection is appropriate for you.

STEP 2: Avoid Excessive Wrist Flexion

avoid wrist flexion

Wrist flexion involves the hand bending towards the front of the wrist.

In this position – there is a higher chance that the Median nerve will be compressed in the wrist.

This effect is amplified with:

  • Prolonged time in this position
  • Repetitive wrist flexion
  • Whilst gripping something

Recommendation: To give the wrist the best chance of recovery, it is best to avoid or reduce exposure to any activities which encourages using the hand in a flexed wrist position.

For example:

things to avoid with carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Holding a bag
  • Typing on a keyboard
  • Using the phone
  • Knitting

STEP 3: Wear a Night Splint

A night splint is a supportive device that is worn whilst you sleep to prevent the wrist from adopting the symptom-provoking flexed wrist position. (See last point)

It is recommended to wear it at night time as symptoms associated with nerves tend to be more prominent whilst you sleep.

(Plus – you can’t really control the position of your wrist when your sleeping!)

If the symptoms also persist throughout the whole day, it is suggested that you wear the splint during the day as well.

Keep in mind – The goal is NOT to become completely reliant on the splint but to use it to manage your symptoms.

Why is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome worse at night?

I believe this is associated with the lack of movement in the arm.

This may lead to a:

  • build up of swelling in the wrist
  • reduction in the amount of oxygen being supplied to an already compressed nerve.

STEP 4: Neutral wrist position

It is essential to understand the most optimal position when using your hand.

This minimizes the chance of compression the nerves in the carpal tunnel.

(Keep in mind – depending on what you’re doing with your hand, this will not always be possible!)

To determine a neutral wrist:

a) Middle finger aligned with forearm

what is a neutral wrist

b) Wrist extended slightly backwards

neutral wrist position

STEP 5: Swelling management

If there noticeable amount of swelling in the wrist, this may place additional compression on the nerves in the carpal tunnel.

Perform this simple technique to help reduce the amount of fluid building up around the nerves.

a) How to Reduce Swelling in Hand

carpal tunnel swelling massage

Instructions:

  • Place your elbow onto a table.
  • The forearm should be vertical and fingers pointing upwards.
    • (This position will use gravity to drain the swelling away from the wrist.)
  • Wiggle your fingers for 30 seconds.
    • (This movement will use a muscular contraction to “pump away” the excess fluid.)
  • Starting from each finger tip, use your other hand to firmly grasp and pull down towards the forearm.
    • (This technique will help push and guide the swelling out of the wrist.)
  • Repeat 3-5 cycles.

STEP 6: Releases

There are a total of 9 different muscles which reside in the carpal tunnel along side the Median nerve.

If there is increased tension in these muscles, this may take up extra room in the limited space in the tunnel. This can lead to additional pressure on the Median nerve.

a) Releases

Instructions:

  • Rest your forearm on the table with the hand facing downwards.
  • Place a massage ball underneath the forearm.
  • Place your other hand on top of the forearm and apply a downward pressure on top of the massage ball.
  • Continue for 1 minute.

b) Palm

palm massage

Instructions:

  • Use the thumb of your other hand to apply a firm gliding pressure into the palm of the hand that has Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Aim to cover the entire surface.
  • Continue for 1 minute.

c) Fascial Glide

(You’ll need someone else to perform this technique on you.)

carpal tunnel syndrome stretch

Instructions:

  • Have your helper place their thumbs on the sides of your palm. (See above)
  • The helper will then apply a firm pressure with their thumbs to spread/open the front of the wrist.
  • Repeat 5 times.

STEP 7: Stretches

a) Finger Flexor Stretch

finger flexor stretch

Instructions:

  • Straighten your arm in front of you. (palm facing upwards)
  • Keep your hand and fingers opened.
  • Bend your hand towards the floor.
  • Use your other hand to pull your fingers back towards you.
  • Aim to feel a stretch on the fingers and forearm.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 times.

STEP 8: Nerve Stretch

This exercise can help reduce tension, decrease sensitivity and improve blood flow.

.. BUT IF OVER DONE – can aggravate your nerve! (Please be careful with this one.)

a) Median Nerve Stretch

median nerve glide

Instructions:

  • Pull your shoulders back and down.
  • Keep your elbow completely straight throughout this exercise.
  • Lift your arm out towards the side to shoulder height.
  • Bring your arm backwards.
  • Twist your entire arm outwards so that the palm is facing upwards.
  • Extend your wrist/fingers backwards so that the fingers are pointing towards the floor.
  • Aim to feel a gentle stretch in your fingers, wrist, forearm and biceps region..
  • Hold for 1-2 seconds.
  • Repeat 20 times.

Note: DO NOT push this stretch too far as it can be quite painful.

STEP 9: Strengthening Exercises

a) Thumb Opposition

thumb opposition

Instructions:

  • Assume the neutral wrist position. (See Step 4)
  • Press the tip of the finger and the tip of the thumb together as hard as you comfortably can.
  • Make sure that you are keeping your fingers in a curled position.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Perform this movement on each finger.
  • Repeat 3 times.

b) Finger Clenches

finger clenches

Instructions:

  • Keep your hand in a neutral position throughout this exercise.
  • Open your hand.
  • Curl your fingers.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.

c) Thumb Isometrics

thumb strengthening exercise cts

Instructions:

  • Pretend that you are holding a can.
  • Maintain neutral wrist position.
  • Use the finger on your other hand to firmly push into the front of the thumb.
  • Make sure that the thumb does not move.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Perform 10 repetitions.

d) Grip Strength

carpal tunnel home remedies

Instructions:

  • Hold onto a small ball into your hand.
  • Assume a neutral wrist position.
  • Squeeze the ball as hard as you can.
  • Hold for 5 seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.

e) Wrist Flexion

carpal tunnel syndrome exercises at home

Instructions:

  • Hold onto a light weight in your hand.
  • Rest the back of your forearm on top of your thigh.
  • Have your palm facing upwards.
  • Move the wrist upwards.
    • Make sure that you do not move into any tingling/numbness/pain as you do this.
  • Perform 30 repetitions.

Note: As this exercises takes the wrist into flexion, this exercise has the potential to compress the nerves in the wrist. Pease be careful that you do not reproduce any of the symptoms that you have been experiencing.

The following exercises help strengthen the weak muscles in the hand which may lead to using a wrist flexion strategy:

f) Wrist Extension

wrist extension strengthening exercise

Instructions:

  • Hold onto a light weight in your hand.
  • Rest your forearm on top of your thigh.
  • Have your palm facing downwards.
  • Move the wrist upwards.
  • Aim to feel a contraction on the upper side of your forearm.
  • Perform 30 repetitions.

g) Finger Extension

finger extension strengthening

Instructions:

  • Apply the finger resistance band as shown above.
  • Proceed to open and close your hand.
  • Perform 20 repetitions.
  • Repeat 3 times.

h) Pronation/Supination

forearm supination and pronation

Instructions:

  • Support your forearm onto a table with your hand hanging over the edge.
  • Hold onto a hammer.
  • Proceed to twist your forearm (palms up/down).
  • Perform 20 repetitions.
  • Repeat 3 times.

STEP 10: Surgery

Surgery should rarely be the first thing to consider when dealing with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Of course – if there is a significant amount of compression the nerves that is associated severe symptoms, you may be better off getting the surgery sooner than later.

Prolonged periods of compression of the nerve may stop blood (and oxygen) from supplying to the nerves which can result in permanent nerve damage.

What happens during the surgery:

The transverse carpal ligament that holds the nerves/artery/tendons/veins at the front of wrist is cut to create more space around the Median Nerve.

Common Questions

a) What happens if the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is left untreated?

Permanent nerve damage that may result in chronic dysfunctional use of the affected hand.

b) Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome serious?

In most cases, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is not a serious condition as the majority of symptoms improve with treatment.

c) How long does it take to heal?

Depending on your severity of the injury, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can typically take any where from 2- 12 weeks to heal.


Conclusion

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome involves the compression of the Median Nerve in the wrist.

It can cause neurological symptoms such as tingling, numbness, pain and weakness along the thumb, pointer, middle and half of ring finger.

This blog post contains effective exercises and strategies which you can perform your own treatment at home.

If you have severe symptoms, it is suggested that you see a specialist as soon as possible to avoid further injury to the nerve.


What to do next

1. Any questions?… (Leave me a comment down below.)

2. Come join me:

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3. Start doing the exercises!


Disclaimer: The content presented on this blog post is not medical advice and should not be treated as such. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use of the content provided on this blog post is at your sole risk. Seek guidance from a health professional before attempting any of the exercises and/or strategies mentioned on this blog post. For more informationMedical Disclaimer.

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