Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the compression of a nerve in the median of the wrist that produces numbness, tingling, and sometimes pain. Weakness and tingling in the first three fingers, thumb, and the palm surface of the hands can also occur. Pain, burning, and/or tingling sensations can also manifest along the entire arm, neck, hips, and thigh. Carpal tunnel can occur in one of both wrists, and in some cases gripping strength and the ability to pick up and hold objects can be significantly impaired. The condition is most common in women 35 and older.

Conditions that can create swelling or fluid shifts that contribute to pressure on the wrist nerve, such as pregnancy; low thyroid functions; occupations that require forceful or repetitive wrist movements; vitamin B6 deficiencies (monoamine oxidase inhibitor anti-depressant drugs can create a deficiency in vitamin B6 and should be avoided if possible); nerve disorders; compression of the nerve root of the sixth cervical vertebra due to misalignment of the neck; muscular spasm; osteoarthritis; disk disease; or tumor can all cause or contribute to the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, and therefore must be ruled out or properly addressed before lasting improvement can be achieved.. Carpal tunnel syndrome may also be secondary to other wrist conditions, such as sprains.

The appropriate treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome varies, depending on its cause(s). Following treatment, symptoms may improve in one week or take several months. Often carpal tunnel can be successfully treated without surgery, although sometimes surgery is necessary.

What To Consider

Carpal tunnel is often a misdiagnosis of thoracic outlet compression syndrome, in which pressure to the lower cervical and upper thoracic nerves results in dysfunction of the tissues and nerves associated with the brachial nerves. If this is the case, then treatment should focus on resolving the thoracic outlet compression first.

Many cases of carpal tunnel syndrome can also be traced to interference fields in the arm, shoulders, or neck, and are often caused by vaccination scars.

Self-Care Tips

Diet
Eat a whole foods diet and limit your protein intake. Also eliminate foods containing yellow dyes, and avoid stressor foods that deplete the body's level of B6 such as excessive consumption of sugars, caffeine, and processed grains and corn. Good foods to focus on are whole grains, seeds, and nuts, soybeans, fresh salmon, brewer's yeast, molasses, liver, wheat bran and germ, and cod.

Nutritional Supplementation
People with carpal tunnel syndrome often have a large deficiency of vitamin B6, or have lifestyle factors that inhibit B6 metabolism such as stress, or ingesting Yellow Dye No. 5 and tartrazine derivatives. A deficiency of vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, can also cause a pyridoxine-responsive neuropathy (nerve disorder). Treatment with B6 may relieve the symptoms in many cases, eliminating the need for surgery. Daily dosage ranges from 25-300 mg, depending on the person's biochemistry. Caution: Pyridoxine supplementation may create a nerve disorder (sensory neuropathy) in dosages as low as 300 mg, if taken daily for long periods. However, most of the cases of vitamin B6 toxicity have been reported with dosages from 2-5 grams per day.

In addition to vitamin B6, other useful nutrients to relief the pain and help speed healing include vitamin B complex, magnesium, essential fatty acids, folic acid, bromelain, coenzyme Q10, kelp, manganese, protease enzyme formula, pycnogenol, and zinc. Thyroid hormone can also be helpful in cases of carpal tunnel related to low thyroid function.

Aromatherapy
Marjoram, lavender, or eucalyptus essential oils rubbed directly into the tender areas can help relieve symptoms.

Flower Essences
Rescue Remedy to help alleviate stress.

Herbs
Anti-inflammatory herbs effectively support the broader treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. A simple approach involves combining equal parts of meadowsweet and willow bark tinctures and taking one teaspoonful of this mixture three times a day. Other useful herbs include aloe vera, butcher's broom, corn silk, devil's claw, cayenne (capsicum), ginkgo, gravel root, marshmallow, skullcap, turmeric (curcumin), wintergreen oil, yarrow, yucca.

Homeopathy
Aconite, Arsen alb., Ignatia, Nat mur., Chamomilla, and Colchicum are useful homeopathic remedies. Note, however, that homeopathic treatment tends to be constitutional in nature and is therefore normally long-term, but usually successful.

Hydrotherapy
Contrast application (hot and cold water packs applied one to three times daily).

Lifestyle
Avoid repetitive wrist movement.

Caution

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional.

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