Tendons and the median nerve pass through the carpal tunnel in your wrist. If you make repetitive movements, the tendons rub in the same place over and over, which causes irritation and inflammation. Swelling inside the carpal tunnel compresses the median nerve, resulting in pain and numbness in your hands and wrist. Home remedies for carpal tunnel pain include cold packs, warm compresses, splints, medication, and ergonomics.
Cold Packs, Warm Compresses
The sensation of cold helps to alleviate the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome, as well as reduces the swelling inside your wrist. When your wrists hurt, wrap cold towels around them or bathe them in a sink full of ice water. Ice packs should be wrapped in a towel before being applied to your wrist. Alternate warm compresses with the application of cold packs several times a day in order to help the swelling go down faster.
Using splints immobilizes your wrist, keeping you from making the movements that are causing stress on your carpal tunnel. This allows the irritated areas to heal, reducing compression on the median nerve, and eliminating the source of pain. It is important for you to ensure that your splint is high quality and professionally fitted. A poorly fitted wrist splint can result in additional compression of the wrist if it is too tight, or a lack of support if it is too loose. A splint that is too tight will leave marks on your wrist and hand when you take it off. If your splint is too loose, you will be able to move your wrist freely within it.
The most beneficial over-the-counter medicines for carpal tunnel pain are non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs, also known as NSAIDs. Ibuprofen and naproxen are effective in the management of carpal tunnel pain. They help reduce the swelling within the carpal tunnel, which removes the pressure on the median nerve.
Holding your wrists in the correct position when typing can help to reduce carpal tunnel symptoms, including pain. Try to keep your wrists as straight as possible, and do not rest your wrists on hard surfaces while typing. Specially designed keyboards and mouse pads offer cushioning and ergonomic positioning to prevent carpal tunnel problems.
If you experience carpal tunnel pain, try to avoid the activity that is causing the pain as much as possible. If you cannot avoid the activity entirely, resting periodically can help reduce the pain, as well as other symptoms. Changing activities several times a day can also help prevent carpal tunnel pain.