How To Deal With Carpal Tunnel Pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is technically a form of neuropathy that particularly affects the wrists and hands causing pain and numbness in the hands. Though the exact cause of compression of the median nerve in the wrist is unknown, it is thought that carpal tunnel syndrome is partially genetic or a result of predisposing factors such as diabetes, obesity, pregnancy, and hypothyroidism. It is important to note that carpal tunnel syndrome is often misdiagnosed and may actually be a form of tendinitis caused by light repetitive tasks such as typing or clicking a mouse. The main difference is that carpal tunnel is a chronic and long-term condition, and that it seems to get worse at night while being affected by wrist position when sleeping.
Most conventional medical treatment of carpal tunnel relies on corticosteroid injections to bring down swelling, wearing splints or even going so far as surgery to alleviate swelling and inflammation. However, there are some natural precautions you can take in terms of diet and supplements that can help alleviate the severity of your symptoms.
1. Eliminate any and all allergens : Eliminate all suspected food allergens, as they can increase inflammation that contributes to the pinching of the median nerve. These common allergens can include dairy (milk, cheese, eggs, and ice cream), wheat (gluten), soy, corn, preservatives, and/orchemical food additives. Your health care provider may want to test you for food allergies to be certain of what you should eliminate.
2. Drink more water : In multiple studies, chronic dehydration has been shown to aggravate carpal tunnel syndrome as a chronic deficiency of water leads to body's retention of it. Water retention causes swelling which compresses on the inflammed median nerve and exacerbates symptoms. Limit caffeine intake and increase water consumption to at least 2.5 litres of water each day.
3. Eat less salt : Water retention resulting in nerve compression can also be caused by too much salt consumption, particularly table salt varieties which lack a diversity of minerals and are usually just sodium chloride. When humans have a high salt intake, there is retention of sodium and thereby water and this expands the extra-cellular volume. This increase in extra cellular volume is a trigger for various compensatory mechanisms to allow an increase in urinary sodium excretion but at the expense of continued retention of sodium and water. Approximately 1.5 litres of extra cellular fluid is retained and this continues as long as a higher salt intake is consumed.
4. Take your B Vitamins : There are numerous studies that conclude that some of the B Vitamins are particularly crucial in situations of neuropathy and can alleviate mild symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Taking a full-spectrum B complex several times throughout the day (particularly before bed) can help you maintain adequate blood levels, as B Vitamins are water-soluble and will be excreted if not used by the body.
5. Consume Alpha Lipoic Acid : The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends ALA as part of your carpal tunnel regime in order to protect the nerve and regenerate feeling. It is also commonly used in the treatment of other neuropathys such as those associated with diabetes.
6. Herbs : Nature's plant helpers can help relieve excess inflammation in the body such as turmeric, bromelain, cat's claw or green tea. However, if your carpal tunnel is caused by pregnancy, you should check with a qualified health care provider before consuming any botanicals.
This article was written by Nakita Valerio, B.A, CSN, BMSA Technician.
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your physician.