Image Point Fr/Shutterstock Common carpal tunnel symptoms are pain, numbness, and tingling. “Patients feel characteristic numbness and tingling of the thumb, index, middle and half of the ring digit on the palm side of the hand, most commonly at night (waking them up), while driving, using a cellphone or other activities with the hands,” says David Clark Hay, MD, of Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. “Patients will find themselves shaking their hand out to get the burning and tingling to go away.” The symptoms often develop slowly, beginning with a “pins and needles” type sensation first thing in the morning or when falling asleep at night. Try these home remedies that are hiding in your junk drawer to treat other ailments.
STUDIO GRAND OUEST/Shutterstock The most common carpal tunnel treatments involve immobilizing the affected area so the repetitive movements stop, or surgically opening up the area to relieve pressure. However, a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy suggests physical therapy may work just as well as surgery. The study followed 100 women from Madrid with the condition, half of whom were treated with physical therapy and half underwent surgery. Researchers found that physical therapy (in particular an approach called manual therapy) improved hand and wrist function and reduced pain as effectively as a standard operation for the condition. Moreover, after one month, the patients who had physical therapy reported better results than those who had surgery.
Treating with cold and vibration
tam odin/Shutterstock You’ve probably heard about icing the inflamed area for carpal tunnel treatment, but Baxter warns that this stiffens muscles and tendons and slows the blood flow. Try massaging the area following icing to stimulate the flow of blood, Dr. Baxter. The massage “keeps the muscle fibers supple,” he says, “so the re-injury damage of moving fibers that are trying to stick together to decrease movement is minimized and ice is more tolerable.” These everyday movements are causing you joint pain.