Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Carpal Tunnel and Essential Oils

Yesterday I thought I was going to do a straight-through series of blogs about aspects of infertility, but I will defer that for a day since a good friend of mine is talking about the pain in the wrist of tenosynovitis-- more commonly known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I want to give her some ideas on how to deal with that using the most pleasant of all interventions (therapeutic-grade essential oils) along with other non-invasive aids to pain management and healing.

Here is a video about 'carpal tunnel release' done surgically. You may want to think seriously at some less invasive techniques for the release (as below with essential oils, icing, and NOT overdoing all the fine motor work without doing compensating exercises and resting properly "on purpose").

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of several conditions that result from repetition of a pattern of movements. Other examples of this Repetitive Strain Syndrome are 'tennis elbow', 'writer's cramp' and the ganglion cysts that develop on the wrists of computer keyboardists who leave their computer at work and then spend hours at home on Facebook, et al. In general, people who use their wrists a lot (carpenters, typists, super-nerds, pianists, painters, knitters)are prone to develop tenosynovitis.

A good diagnosis is important for treatment.

Tenosynovitis is an inflammation of the fibrous sheaths that are wrapped around the tendons of the ankles and wrists. With the inflammation there is often a spectrum of related symptoms:

  • immediate acute pain and a dull ache that can travel up the forearms or legs
  • grinding and cracking noises
  • numbness
  • tingling
  • crampy stiffness
  • increasing weakness
  • sometimes, swelling

    The ergonomic folks (usually people you work with who have taken a course with Occupational Health and Safety) have a whole list of recommendations. It's a good idea to use the furniture and assorted appliances properly when you have them-- don't slump or let your wrists flag (clue: if your wrists are tired and if your hands are cramped, what does that tell you?). Take breaks in your activities if they are repetitive. Those are the commonsense suggestions from people familiar with this condition.

    Some Ideas of How To Deal With The Pain:

    On the internet I see three other common suggestions for carpal tunnel sufferers. I have added my own spin:

    (1)Take painkillers, both over-the-counter and prescribed. (I don't do this myself and have trouble recommending it... this is stuff that other people suggest for pain management... standard dealing with the symptoms and ignoring the effects of the drugs used to deal with the symptoms.  But this is your body and your decision.)

    (2)Surgery. (My very last choice... but I'll let you do your own research and decision-making around this most invasive method of dealing with wrist pain and inflammation).

    (3)Ice the area and stay away from the aggravating activity until there is no more pain. (My notes: ice the area by freezing water in a styrofoam cup and peeling it back to expose about an inch or two of ice. Holding the cup, rub the ice in small circles over the affected area continuously for exactly seven (7) minutes. Don't pause (can cause freezer burn). Reddening means that there is increased blood circulation, which means healing is taking place. After icing, use a warm damp cloth (a washcloth) and gently begin to warm the area a little. Massage lightly with any of the essential oils and blends as listed below. Take a break of a day or two and just ice on a regular basis (maybe every three hours or so) until the pain has disappeared or diminished entirely). Think of ways to vary your activities so that you will not re-afflict your wrists. Acupuncture and similar "energy" therapies are often successfully used either separately, or in conjunction with other treatment. 

  • (4)The strong 'silk worm enzyme' serrapeptase
     has been shown in some published studies to be effective in pain management and healing related to repetitive strain (carpal tunnel).

    (5)These are essential oils that should be in your Repetitive Strain First Aid kit if you are someone who works using their wrists a great deal:

  • Chamomile (Roman) 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil- 5 ml

    1 comment:

    Cynthia said...
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