Natural Remedies for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and other Wrist Issues

As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  If you are in a profession that demands repetitive wrist movement (such as being a carpenter or pianist or typist) there are a number of ways to reduce your wrist of creating inflammation between the delicate structures that form the wrist.  One reason the wrist is so flexible (the most versatile joint in the body) is because it is comprised of a series of 14 carpal bones that fit together like a loose jigsaw puzzle, snuggly bound by a series of sheaths and tendons.  The fingers are extremely clever and capable (hence the term “dextrous”) and thus command a good deal of nerve power.  When the structures of the wrist become inflamed and swollen from overuse, the pressure from the swelling can cause pressure on the nerves, especially on the palm side of the wrist, and this can indeed be very painful.  As with many common ailments that involve compromised or pinched nerves, B vitamins can be quite helpful in aiding nerve healing.  Whether you are hoping to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome or treat it, consider taking 1000-2000 mcg B12 (I like the sublingual “dots”) and at least 50 mg of B6 daily for 6-12 weeks.  Also, to reduce the swelling, go easy on mammal food (beef, pork, cheese, milk, etc) for a few months because these foods are high in arachadonic acid, which promotes inflammation.  I also really like to use high potency digestive enzymes away from food (1000-2000 mg daily of a high CFU count bromelain) once or twice daily.  When you take enzymes NOT with food, they don’t work on the food in your stomach, but get into the bloodstream and act as “extra” white blood cells.  All cellular debris, including tissue injury, is broken down enzymatically by the immune system.  Specifically, white blood cells contain packets of enzymes called lysosomes, which promote the degradation of anything that needs to be peed, pooped or sweated out of the body.  Enzymes drive just about all biochemical processes — so you can use them to your advantage whether to help digest food, or to help digest tissue injury.


I teach yoga and like to teach a wrist stretch that can help keep those joints flexible and less prone to strain.  Standing, bring your arms parallel to the floor in front of you and stack the right wrist on top of the left wrist.  Then turn your thumbs pointing down to the floor, so your palms are facing each other.  Deeply interlace the fingers.  Pull the interlaced knuckles away from your body enough to straighten the arms, then tuck the knuckles down towards your belly, and sweep them up next to your chest and under the chin.  From there, gently attempt to straighten your arms out and parallel to the floor again.  If this is the first time you are trying this exercise, it is highly unlikely you will be able to straighten your arms.  However, with frequent attempts (once or twice daily, gently) you will develop more flexibility in the wrists.


Another fairly common wrist problem is ganglion cysts.  This looks like a grape sized (or smaller) protrusion, typically on the back of the hand, and usually close to the wrist.  Because the individual carpal bones are sheathed in tissue which houses the lubricating synovial fluid, sometimes this tissue can be pinched up between the tiny bones and create a “sac” which can fill with fluid.  Ganglion cysts are typically not painful, but they can be disconcerting, and may hamper wearing gloves or a watch.  The old fashioned treatment was to smash the cyst with a large book — older medical texts will actually advise using a large Bible!  I don’t advise using a Bible or any book, because smashing the cyst could cause a good deal of damage to the delicate structures in the hand.  You could ask your doctor to insert a needle into the cyst and pull off the fluid, then tape a coin down with duct tape or surgical tape for several weeks to prevent the sac from filling up again with fluid.  Sometimes identifying the Traditional Chinese Medicine meridian  (usually small intestine, “triple burner,” or large intestine) and massaging along the meridian can improve the drainage along that channel, and the cyst will slowly reduce and disappear.  Using Vitamin E oil, or the lymphatic-stimulating lubricants such as Phytolacca (Poke root) or Castor oil can be especially effective.  There are a number of helpful cyst-draining homeopathic remedies as well, mostly notably Calc fluor, which could be taken as a cell salt (usually 6x or 12x potency) 3-4 pellets nightly until they no longer taste sweet.  Reducing the salt in your diet may also help to drain the cyst, especially if you have a tendency to high blood pressure.