Natural health: alternatives to carpal tunnel syndrome

I suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, and the only recommendations from my doctor are injections or surgery. Is there any natural alternative, or are these my only options for relief?

One of the first things to consider, or indeed rule out, when it comes to carpal tunnel syndrome is whether or not your thyroid is functioning as it should be. Hypothyroidism (low or underactive thyroid) is often linked with carpal tunnel syndrome. If you are also experiencing symptoms such as dry skin, lethargy, cold extremities, sensitivity to cold, hair loss, etc, then it is certainly worth getting your thyroid checked.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is characterised by sensations of pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands — usually the thumb and first three fingers of one or both hands. These symptoms are a result of the median nerve, which runs along the wrist, being compressed.

The best natural solution to the pain of carpal tunnel is Boswellia serrata, also known as Indian Frankincense. Boswellia is the resin of the Boswellia serrata tree, and can be used in place of ibuprofen to reduce pain and inflammation. The active ingredient, boswellic acid, not only reduces vessel constriction, it also supports vascular health.

You will need to take 450mg of Boswellia serrata daily, divided into three doses of 150mg each, as pain relief. For an episode of intense or acute pain, you can double the dosage to the maximum recommended amount of 300mg, three times daily.

While Boswellia helps with pain, you will need to consider a long-term solution that will treat the carpal tunnel. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) is often used to treat nerve disorders, and in the case of carpal tunnel, it also works to reduce inflammation in the soft tissue. The recommended dosage of vitamin B6 is 100mg, three times daily for at least three months.

I have diverticulitis and am unable to take psyllium husks as they cause me pain and bloating. I also have trouble with tomatoes and spicy foods. I have been taking ground flaxseeds and this seems to be OK. Any suggestions for what else I should do, and eat, would be much appreciated.

The main issue with diverticulitis, is avoiding a situation whereby the undigested food particles becomes trapped in the small pouch-like sacs that occur in the lining of the intestines. If this happens, the trapped food can trigger inflammation and bacterial infection. Aloe vera juice taken first thing in the morning and last thing before bed helps to soothe inflammation and heals the mucous membranes. If you feel that bacterial infection may already be an issue, then consider olive leaf extract.

It is a pity that psyllium husks are not a compatible source of soluble fibre for you, since the gel formed when psyllium is soaked in water or freshly pressed juice is wonderful for removing trapped food particles from the diverticulae. Since this condition is often the result of chronic constipation, psyllium husks are also beneficial in this respect.

Seeds and nuts are not typically recommended since they can irritate the membrane and cause bleeding. I assume that you are soaking your ground flaxseed meal before taking it, to benefit from the mucilaginous properties of the seeds when combined with water. Chia seeds — again, freshly ground and soaked before use — are worth considering as an alternative, and are even less likely to irritate your intestines.

Tomatoes, citrus, and leafy green salads are all best avoided. However, you can take leafy greens by way of green smoothie. The main problem with leaves is that they are near impossible to chew into small enough particles that won’t become trapped.

Low-allergen foods, in simple combinations of only a few ingredients at any one meal, is advisable. Well-cooked and/or blended food is the best way to avoid the accumulation of food residue in the diverticular pouches — a slow cooker and a high-speed blender are valuable kitchen appliances for you to invest in.


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Wesley O’ Regan is the General Manager of Popscene in Voodoo Rooms, Cork city. Popscene opened last November and is Cork’s only themed bar that is dedicated to celebrating the best of the 80s and 90s. https://www.facebook.com/PopsceneCork/You've Been Served: Wesley O'Regan, Popscene

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