Coping with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Without the Need for Pain Meds)

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a painful condition that causes weakness and numbness in your hand.  According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, approximately 3 million new cases of carpal tunnel syndrome are diagnosed in the United States each year. It is estimated that between 4 and 10 percent of the population will experience symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome at some point in their lives. Women are three times more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome than men.

CTS can be triggered by repetitive tasks like typing, or it can be a side effect of another medical condition.  Therefore, other conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, obesity, or pregnancy can trigger CTS.

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you might also find it difficult to sleep, as the pain can be severe at night. Using remedies that don’t require medications assist in keeping you more alert and prevent problems with daily activities.

Try Wrist Splinting (by Using a Wrist Brace)carpal tunnel wrist brace

If you experience tingling or numbness in your hand due to carpal tunnel syndrome, a wrist splint can help alleviate symptoms. Wrist splints immobilize your hand to reduce the swelling in your wrist, thereby easing the pain.

This can make it easier to perform day-to-day tasks and can prevent permanent damage to your hand. Wrist splints for carpal tunnel syndrome should be worn for about six hours per day and can be found at a drugstore or online. Follow the instructions on the packaging to ensure the splint fits correctly.

Make Sure Your Work Space is Ergonomic

If you spend a lot of time at a computer, make sure your work space is ergonomic. Carpal tunnel syndrome is frequently exacerbated when you type or use a mouse. The repetitive motion may cause your wrist muscles to become fatigued, leading to CTS.

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome and your doctor has ruled out other causes, buy an ergonomic keyboard and mouse.

This is especially true if your wrists are bent or you have them positioned incorrectly while typing. To avoid carpal tunnel syndrome, you should make sure your wrists are straight while working. You should also make sure your chair is at the right height, with your feet resting flat on the floor.

It helps to use a wrist or forearm rest while typing to prevent overuse of your wrists. If you spend hours in front of a computer each day, you may also want to invest in a standing desk to prevent repetitive stress.

Try Wrist Stretches and Exercises

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you should avoid aggressive stretches, especially ones that involve bending your wrist. Instead of forcing your wrist into extreme positions, try gentle wrist stretches and exercises that help relieve CTS. These exercises might include squeezing a tennis ball or even playing the piano or guitar. These activities improve your strength, flexibility, and grip strength — all of which can help ease CTS.

Get a Massage

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be painful and is particularly difficult to treat. Some doctors recommend combining multiple treatment methods to treat the condition. Massage therapy can help reduce pain and improve blood flow in your joints. It may also increase your range of motion.

Use Heating Pads or Cold Packs

Another option for easing carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms is to use a heating pad or ice pack. Cold therapy can help reduce swelling, making it easier to move your fingers and wrists. Warm therapy will help reduce the pain, increase blood flow and improve the range of motion in your hands and wrists.

Warm therapy should be applied over your hands and wrists, while cold therapy should be applied directly to your wrists. You can use a heat pack or heating pad or you can apply a warm compress, like a washcloth soaked in warm water.

You can also use cold therapy by applying a cold pack or wrapping a towel that has been soaked in cold water around your wrists.

Eat the Right Foods and Vitamin Supplements

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you might want to try increasing your intake of vitamin B6 and magnesium. These nutrients help relieve pain and improve your overall health. Vitamin B6 plays an important role in metabolizing amino acids, which decrease CTS pain. While vitamin B6 and magnesium supplements are available, you can also get this nutrient from whole grains, beans, fish, and peanuts. Magnesium is found in foods, such as whole grains and dark leafy greens.


Having CTS should not deter you from working. As long as you know the reason for the condition and you treat it naturally, you can work at a computer or perform daily tasks with greater ease.

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Great Northern Therapy Associates is your partner who can provide counseling services to injured workers.  We have therapists throughout many states who can meet in person and via remote telehealth sessions to work with injured workers and develop an individualized plan to help them adjust and successfully return to work.

We have partnered with and provided mental health support to workers at some of the largest companies in the world. But, at our core, we are still “people taking care of people,” one person at a time.  Contact us today by filling out a form (below), submitting a referral, or calling us at the number below.