Thursday, September 2, 2010

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

     When you spend too many hours at the keyboard or on the assembly line and your wrists feel locked up with aching pain, you may be able to rub it away.  Here’s an acupressure treatment worth trying, adjusted for self treatment.  In addition to pain, it may reduce associated swelling and inflammation as well, if practiced daily.
     Using the uninjured (or less painful) hand, press and rub two spots in the middle of the other wrist, above and below, that are located two-and-one-half widths from the wrist joint.  One spot is just about where your watch face rests (feel for the valley of tendons); the other spot is on the inner forearm (on the arteries).  Press both spots simultaneously using the thumb and fingers; then release.  Repeat as needed.  Most important, keep it up every day until the pain lessens and vanishes.
     Butcher’s Broom tincture/extract has been used for centuries to improve circulation and relieve water retention.  Today, it is used to alleviate inflammation brought on by carpal tunnel, arthritis, rheumatism, and varicose veins. 
     Turmeric is another herb that contains a powerful anti-inflammatory chemical called curcumin.  The herb has traditionally been used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat pain and inflammation.  The effect of turmeric has been compared to that of cortisone, sometimes used pharmaceutically to treat CTS.  Although turmeric’s pain fighting power is not as strong as cortisone’s, the herb is a lot easier on your system.  Turmeric is similar to that of bromelain.  For some relief, opt for the extract of this wonderful herb.  Unlike the turmeric on your kitchen shelf it contains 95% pure curcumin.
     Boswellia, was and is still, an important herb in ancient Ayurvedic medicine, known for its anti-inflammatory qualities.  New research promises exciting results that appear to confirm this use, as it is said to relieve muscle pain and joint pains and aches associated with arthritis, gout, carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis, and rheumatic conditions, without the side effects that are normally produced by the steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications usually prescribed for these conditions.  This would make it an extremely useful supplement to improve mobility, without the after-effects of gastric irritation.
     Extra pounds may aggravate the symptoms of CTS because the more fat between your tissues can reduce the space in the tunnel in your wrists, putting more pressure on the median nerve and exacerbating pain and numbness. If you’re suffering carpal tunnel syndrome and your overweight, talk to a health practitioner about safe and healthy weight-loss methods. 
     Vitamin B6 is important for fat and protein metabolism, plus the formation of new blood cells.  People who suffer from CTS sometimes have a B6 deficiency.  If this deficiency is contributing to your pain, studies have shown a supplementation of B6 for three months, plus B2, can reduce the symptoms.  Some of the herbs that contain these vitamins are: 
Alfalfa Leaf (B6), Oat Straw (B6 & B2), Wolfberry (B6), Catnip (B6 & B2), Eyebright (B2) and Hawthorne Berry (B6).  If the person suffering CTS has normal B6 readings, the supplementation won’t make a difference.   Another vitamin that shows promise for treatment is vitamin C in any form.  Some of the common herbs containing a good dose of vitamin C are:  Rose Hips, WolfberryChicory Root and Nettle Leaf.
     As for prevention, avoid or reduce the number of repetitive wrist movements whenever possible.  Use tools and equipment that are properly designed to reduce the risk of wrist injury.  And take frequent breaks when typing and always stop if there is tingling or pain.  Take a quick reach for relief called spanning.  Reach your arms straight out in front of you, keep your fingers as far apart as possible.  Relax the digits, and do it again, five times in all.  The goal is to counteract the cramping your hands and fingers have silently endured all day, week or year.

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