Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
The carpal tunnel is a very small opening just below the base of the wrist,
between the arm and the hand. It allows the median nerve to pass from the
bones and the muscles of the forearm to the palm, the thumb, and the
fingers. Because the opening is so small, it is vulnerable to pressure and
swelling. Inflammation from overuse, hormonal changes, or arthritis causes
the pain and the numbness of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). CTS may begin as
a mild tingling that's worse in the morning or the evening and can progress
to crippling, excruciating pain.
CTS has always afflicted people who consistently use their hands in a
repetitive motion: Knitters, musicians, writers, grocery clerks, and
assembly-line workers have traditionally suffered from the effects of CTS.
But in the last decade, as work has increasingly centered on the personal
computer, CTS has reached near-epidemic proportions. At least 10 percent of
people who work at computers have CTS, and that number is projected to
The best way to treat CTS is to prevent it from happening. If you work at a
computer, use a wrist rest to relieve pressure on the carpal tunnel, and
take a break every hour to rotate your hands. If you think you may already
have CTS, see your doctor for a test called an electromyograph. If the test
proves that you do have CTS, complementary therapies can help relieve your
pain. Treatments include removing the source of pain when possible,
improving circulation, and reducing swelling. Since a vitamin B6 deficiency
has been linked to CTS, the complementary treatment also encourages the
consumption of that nutrient. Specific treatments from a chiropractor, an
acupuncturist, or an osteopath can be very effective in addressing the
underlying structural cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. Surgery for this
condition should be avoided, if at all possible, because of its high
** All of these prescriptions below have been proven effective; level of
effectiveness depends on the individual. Please consult your doctor when
taking any and all supplements.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Prescription for Natural Cures
James F. Balch
Super Prescription #1
Take 100 mg three times daily. Studies show that this
vitamin reduces the nerve inflammation that is found with
carpal tunnel syndrome. Also, take a B-complex to prevent
an imbalance of the other B vitamins.
Super Prescription # 2 Bromelain
- LifeSource Product
Take 500 mg three times daily between meals. Look for
products standardized to 2,000 M.C.U. (milk-clotting units)
per 1,000 mg or 1,200 G.D.U. (gelatin-dissolving units) per
1,000 mg. Bromelain has a natural anti-inflammatory effect.
Protease enzyme products also have this benefit.
Super Prescription #3 Boswellia (Boswellia serrata)
Take 1,200 to 1,500 mg of a standardized extract containing
60 to 65 percent boswellia acids, two to three times daily.
It acts as a natural anti-inflammatory.
Super Prescription #4
Calcium / Magnesium
– LifeSource Products - See All of our Cal/Mag
Take a complex containing 500 mg of calcium and 250 mg of
magnesium twice daily. This reduces muscle tightness and
Super Prescription #5
White Willow Bark
- LifeSource Product
Take a product standardized to contain at least 240 mg of
salicin daily or 5 ml of the tincture form three times
daily. This herbal extract reduces pain and inflammation.
Super Prescription #7
- LifeSource Products
Take capsules twice daily of a product standardized to 24
percent flavone glycosides. Ginkgo improves circulation.
Symptoms can occur in one or both hands.
Numbness, tingling, or pain in the thumb and the first three fingers
Pain is worse at night and/or in the morning
The weakness of the thumb and the first three fingers
Inability to make a fist
Pain may radiate to the forearm or the shoulder
Continuous use of the fingers and the hand
The constant vibration of the fingers and the hand (as in holding a
jackhammer for long periods of time)
Pregnancy or other hormonal changes that cause fluid retention
Inflammatory arthritis in the wrist
Bone spurs in the wrist
Vitamin B6 deficiency
CTS is often brought on or made worse by pregnancy. If you're pregnant or
nursing, check with your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements or
making radical changes to your diet.
If you're overweight, there's a good chance you will find relief from the
pain of CTS by following a wholesome diet based on whole grains, fresh
fruits and vegetables, and lean protein (especially beans and soy). This
eating plan will help you lose weight safely and will take the pressure off
the carpal tunnel.
Drink a glass of clean water every two waking hours to combat fluid
A deficiency of vitamin B6 may be a cause of CTS, so consume plenty of
beans, brewer's yeast, and wheat germ. Green leafy vegetables are good
sources of B6 as well.
Green drinks are also good for reducing inflammation.
Foods to Avoid
Fluid retention puts pressure on the carpal tunnel, so eliminate sources of
sodium from your diet.
Avoid saturated fat, which slows circulation.
Use a cold compress to reduce swelling.
Cigar and cigarette smoke disturbs the circulation. If you smoke, quit.
If you're exposed to secondhand smoke, remove yourself from the smoky
environment as much as possible.
Pregnant women whose CTS is brought on by edema will find that their
symptoms disappear after their babies are born.
If your CTS has been caused by overuse of the wrist and the fingers,
stop all repetitive hand motions for a few days. When you return to
your work, you'll need to alternate repetitive tasks with other
activities. Take a break every hour to rest and to rotate your wrists,
and try to keep your work environment warm and dry, as cool, humid
conditions can aggravate CTS.
If you work on a computer, make sure your screen is two feet away from
your body and slightly below your line of vision. Also, use a wrist
rest. Most employers are now aware of CTS and will provide ergonomic
workspace if you ask for it.
Bruce Brightman – founder
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As always, consult your physician before taking any and all
LifeSource Vitamins. Individual results may vary.
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