Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition where the inside of the wrists and the hand become painful and tingly. The carpal tunnel is a small channel in the bone structure of the hand. Through that runs the medial nerve and it’s this nerve that feeds information to and from the thumb side of the hand. If that nerve fibre becomes inflamed and swollen, it gets squashed in the carpal tunnel and this can result in pain, numbness, tingling, weakness in movement and maybe even muscle damage in extreme cases.
Sometimes carpal tunnel syndrome is intermittent. it can come and go depending on a number of other factors. For example, many years ago when I was pregnant with my third child, I suffered badly in both hands. Once the bay was born, voila! No carpal tunnel syndrome anymore! it can be aggravated or even caused by obesity, infections, bone fractures in the hand or even from repeated actions with the hands like typing.
So how do you diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome? Well your doctor may want to do some nerve conduction tests to determine the severity of the condition but there’s also a quick examination you can do to test for carpal tunnel. One is called the Phalen’s test. It’s easy to do but remember to hold the position for at least 30 seconds to determine any tingling.
(Video courtesy of The Pain Score)
So what herbs can we use for carpal tunnel? Well because this is a nerve condition, we need to use herbs that act on the nerve fibres and one of the best for that is St John’s Wort. Most people recognise St John’s Wort as being a herb to reduce depression and indeed it’s fantastic for that. But it’s also a powerful herb to use in improving nerve conduction. This is a herb that needs to be treated with a little respect though because there are times when you shouldn’t be taking it. If you’re on any antidepressants, if you take anticoagulant drugs, if you take HIV immune drugs. If you’re on the oral contraceptive pill, then you may also need to use additional protection against pregnancy whilst taking St John’s Wort.
One other herb that might be of value here is Horsechestnut. This is usually a herb taken for oedema and to improve the blood vessels. It’s fabulous at reducing swelling in tissue and if the carpal tunnel syndrome has started because the area is swollen then Horsechestnut will reduce the swelling. this will open up the carpal tunnel again and free up the medial nerve.
So if you’re suffering from numbness, pain, weakness or tingling on the thumb side of your hand or up towards your elbow, please have it checked out by your doctor. Once it’s confirmed, then the very best herb blend can be prescribed by your naturopath to help relieve the condition.
If you’d like to know about how herbs can improve your health, please download my free eBook “Feel Healthy with Natural Therapies” and find out how you can regain your health and vitality.
Smiles and abundant health, Ziggy