When the weather gets cold and dry every winter, I break out my home remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome. It used to be that I spent the better part of every winter in pain and discomfort when my carpal tunnel flared up. Back in the days when I worked a regular office job, it was excruciating to have to spend eight hours a day with my hands on the keyboard. For years, I relied on over-the-counter drugs to relieve the pain during the day, but found that many of them upset my stomach.
What a blessing it was when I discovered Ayurveda and essential oils as home remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome! With a few lifestyle changes during the winter months, I’ve found that I have almost completely eliminated the discomfort and pain of carpal tunnel syndrome. The good news is that you probably already have most of these in your home apothecary, so you can get relief right away.
Home Remedies for Carpal Tunnel: Lifestyle
Stress is a big contributor to inflammation in the body, and carpal tunnel syndrome is an inflammation of the nerves in the wrist and hand. Doing whatever you can to reduce your stress levels will go a long way to easing your symptoms. Try meditating for 10 minutes twice a day to help reduce stress or gentle exercise like yoga and tai chi to improve circulation. (Be sure to let your yoga or tai chi instructor know about any discomfort in your wrists so they can offer modifications to the poses, or even recommend other stretches that can help!).
Sleeping with either or both of your wrists elevated on pillows can help relieve the pain and discomfort associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. I prefer to use a firm brace on my wrist at night while I keep it elevated, and while it takes a little bit of getting used to, it gives me results. Check at your local pharmacy for a stiff brace that you can use at night.
A little bit of ice goes a long way when it comes to home remedies for carpal tunnel. I place a cold ice pack on my wrist for 10 minutes twice a day, when the symptoms are severe, to help keep the inflammation down. You can do this at night just before bed, too, to help you sleep at night.
Home Remedies for Carpal Tunnel: Herbal Remedies
Herbs are a great alternative to over-the-counter drugs for relieving the symptoms of carpal tunnel. The best way to treat carpal tunnel with herbs is to use them in teas and tinctures that you make yourself — this way, you can be sure that you’re getting the full effects of the herbs and not wasting money on lots of chemical fillers that you find in the over-the-counter supplements.
- Chamomile tea is known for its relaxing, soothing properties, but did you also know that it’s a great anti-inflammatory? There are compounds in chamomile tea that can help reduce the swelling and pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Drink three to four cups a day of chamomile tea to help relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- John’s Wort is another herb that’s known for its effects on mood but is also a great source of anti-inflammatory compounds. It’s also been shown to help repair nerve damage associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Cumin, best known as a spice in Mexican and Indian cooking, is a powerful anti-inflammatory that can help relieve carpal tunnel syndrome and help boost your digestion! You can make a simple anti-inflammatory tea by boiling six cups of water for five minutes; remove from heat, and steep ¼ teaspoon each of organic whole cumin, coriander, and fennel for at least 15 minutes. Allow the tea to cool to room temperature before drinking throughout the day to help relieve pain and swelling in the body.
- Willow bark or other herbs related to the willow family (like wintergreen) are great for relieving the pain from carpal tunnel syndrome. But be aware that since these compounds are very similar to aspirin, you should take the same precautions when using them: if you can’t take aspirin, steer clear of these herbs for treating carpal tunnel.
Home Remedies for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Topical Applications
Essential oils and topical salves are also great options for treating the pain and reducing the inflammation of carpal tunnel.
- Arnica, most notably used for bruising, is a potent anti-inflammatory and can be used to treat carpal tunnel. Use a salve or ointment containing arnica twice a day on both sides of the wrist and the palm of your affected hand(s) to help treat and relieve the pain.
Using essential oils topically by applying them to the skin is another way to help relieve carpal tunnel syndrome. Remember that you should never apply undiluted essential oils to your skin! Always dilute your essential oils in a few drops of good quality carrier oil to make sure they are absorbed properly without irritating (or even burning) your skin.
Some of these essential oils also have diuretic properties, similar to home remedies for gout. In this case, removing any excess fluid from the swollen area of the wrist and hand can help to relieve the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome.
You can try making your own blend of the following essential oils, diluted in some good-quality coconut oil as a carrier. Apply them to the affected area on both sides of your wrist and your palm three to four times a day as long as symptoms persist. You can also try putting a few drops on a cold or cool compress and applying it to the affected area.
- Peppermint – Helps cool the inflammation in the wrist and palm.
- Cyprus – Reduces inflammation and increases circulation to the area to relieve pain; also has diuretic properties to remove anything that might build up in the area of the carpal tunnel syndrome to cause pain.
- Wintergreen – Cools the inflammation and increases circulation.
- Helichrysum – Increases circulation to the area.
- Roman and German Chamomile – Both have analgesic (pain relieving) qualities as well as anti-inflammatory properties.
- Lavender – Has both anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties that can help reduce inflammation, speed healing, and help you relax.
Consult your favorite essential oils guide for more detailed information on how and why to use each of these oils as home remedies for carpal tunnel.
Witch hazel uses include a quick and easy way to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome. Applying witch hazel to the affected area 2-3 times a day is another way to help relieve the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome, but because of its drying effects on the body, I don’t normally recommend it during the winter months when the air is naturally dry anyway.
What kinds of home remedies for carpal tunnel do you use? I’d love to hear more about what others are doing to relieve their symptoms! Leave a comment here and share your home remedies with us.