Essential Oils for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome happens because of stress to the arm and hand at work. Therefore, most people who have carpal tunnel syndrome experience weakness, tingling, or numbness in their hands. When pressure is exerted on the hand repetitively, the carpal tunnel becomes narrow. This can result in limited hand and wrist mobility, loss of strength, swelling and pain.,
Fortunately there are a number of excellent essential oils with the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help reduce the inflammation and pain associated with the condition. If you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome and would like to find out more about the best essential oils for the condition, please read on.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs of carpal tunnel syndrome vary among people but usually involve the following:
Itching and numbness in the palm of the hand or the thumb. The itching and numbness may also extend to the middle and index fingers.
Fingers may become numb during the evening hours. That is because the hand is in a more relaxed position at rest or when a person is sleeping.
During the morning, patients report experiencing tingling and numbness in their hands, which sometimes runs down the shoulder.
If the condition becomes severe, the patient may experience less of an ability to grip items. That is because the hand muscles shrink. When this occurs, muscle cramping and pain tend to worsen too.
In some instances, the median nerve in the hand starts to lose the ability to function because of the pressure or irritation surrounding it. This can lead to problems such as loss of feeling in the fingers or the loss of the ability to use the thumb, for instance, to pinch. The nerve impulses become slower as well.
Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome, as mentioned, develops because of repetitive motions at work. These motions may involving recurring typing or any movement of the wrist that is repeated. The condition most often emerges when the patients uses his or her hands and they are lower than the wrists.
Another reason that carpal tunnel syndrome can develop is because of obesity or diabetes. It is also known to affect people with conditions such as hypothyroidism or rheumatoid arthritis. It is not confined to work-related stress or repetitive-type work.
Pregnancy is another common reason why individuals can experience carpal tunnel syndrome.
Facts about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Research suggests that women are three times more likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome than men. This may be due to the fact that their carpal tunnel is smaller than men’s. Also, women type a great deal or occupy roles where repetition is required at work.
Some of the jobs that are associated with carpal tunnel syndrome include assembly line work, sewing or knitting, baking, or even hair styling. Many musicians develop carpal tunnel syndrome as well.
When making a diagnosis for carpal tunnel syndrome, a doctor may ask that the patient fully flex his or her wrist while fully extending the arm. He may also request the patient to tap the inside wrist to confirm a diagnosis. Doctors use another test, as well — an EMG-NCV — which measures the nerve function over the carpal tunnel.
The carpal tunnel itself is a narrow passage that is located on the palm side of the wrist. It is comprised of ligaments and bones. The median nerve, which is designed to control movements in the thumb and first three fingers, is located in the passage or tunnel as well as the tendons of the thumb and fingers.
Most people who complain of carpal tunnel syndrome first complain of numbness or tingling in the hand and fingers. The little finger is usually not affected. People have a tendency to drop things because of hand weakness.
While the carpal tunnel is located on the palm side of the hand, both sides of the hand can be affected by carpal tunnel syndrome. Because of swelling inside the wrist, the hand can be affected adjacent to the thumb.
Sometimes medical professionals find it difficult to distinguish between arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. People with carpal tunnel, as noted, often do not experience tingling or numbness in the pinky finger whereas people with arthritis often do.
Fortunately, carpal tunnel syndrome rare leads to permanent nerve damage. While it can happen on occasion, it is normally considered rare.
Carpal tunnel develops gradually. Patients usually notice the condition either at night or on first awaking in the morning. The feeling they experience is closely related to a pins-and-needles sensation when the hand falls asleep. If you notice tingling or pain during the day, you can gain some relief by shaking the hand or moving the fingers.
Essential Oils for Carpal Tunnel
Essential oils are one of the very best natural remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome and other similar inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Unlike the powerful medications on the market, essential oils are far less likely to cause unwanted side effects as long as you use them responsibly. There are several excellent anti-inflammatory and analgesic essential oils that can help reduce swelling and soothe pain. The following are some of the very best.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is one of the most popular of all the essential oils and for very good reason. It is an extremely diverse essential oil that can help deal with a wide range of external and internal health issues as well as treating emotional health. Not only that but lavender essential oil is regarded as one of the mildest acting oils and is one of the few that you can use without diluting it in a carrier oil.
When it comes to treating carpal tunnel, lavender oil is blessed with excellent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can help soothe your pain and inflammation. But don’t take my word for it; a recent study has revealed that this oil is extremely effective for the condition.
A study published in 2017 set out to investigate the effects of lavender essential oil on 48 patients with mild or moderate carpal tunnel syndrome. One group was treated with a topical ointment made with lavender essential oil while the other was treated with a placebo. The researchers found that the lavender oil group experienced significant improvements with the researchers concluding that lavender oil was an effective treatment for carpal tunnel. (1)
Wintergreen Essential Oil
Wintergreen essential oil is not as popular as many of the oils on the market but it has outstanding cooling properties and excellent analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. These properties make it a great option for soothing the pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. You can use it alone or combine it with a good anti-inflammatory oil like frankincense for even greater effect.
Peppermint Essential Oil
Like wintergreen oil, peppermint essential oil has analgesic properties and a wonderful cooling effect that can work wonders on carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. Again, you can use the oil alone (diluted in a carrier oil) or blend it with an anti-inflammatory oil such as frankincense oil for even greater relief. Peppermint oil is also great for relaxing your muscles and alleviating muscular aches and pains.
Cypress Essential Oil
Cypress essential oil is another oil that people fond effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome. Cypress oil improves circulation and helps speed up healing while it also has good analgesic properties that can help relieve pain. Combine a few drops of cypress oil with some peppermint essential oil and a suitable carrier oil and massage it into the affected area at least twice a day.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Among its many benefits, eucalyptus essential oil has great analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and can also boost circulation. These properties combine to make this oil a great choice for carpal tunnel.
One study published in 2013 looked at the effects of the oil on pain management following knee replacement surgery. While the study did not focus on carpal tunnel, the results were very positive for a range of painful inflammatory conditions. The researchers found that eucalyptus oil should significantly reduce pain and inflammation while inhaling the oil also reduced blood pressure. (2)
People with carpal tunnel should dilute the oil in a carrier oil and massage it into the affected area several times a day.
Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger essential oil is another very powerful anti-inflammatory oil that can help relieve the pain and inflammation associated with carpal tunnel as well as other forms of arthritis. One study published in 2001 set out to evaluate the analgesic abilities of ginger extracts in patients with osteoarthritis.
Over half of the patients involved in the study experienced a reduction in knee pain after being treated with ginger which compared very favorably to those treated with a placebo. Those treated with ginger also became less dependent on traditional drugs. (3)
Combine a few drops of ginger essential oil with a carrier oil and massage it into the affected area several times each day.
Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil is derived from the sap of the Boswelia genus of trees and has been used for centuries as a fragrant incense. However, frankincense essential oil also has excellent anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties and could be a useful ally against carpal tunnel syndrome.
One study published in 2010 demonstrated that frankincense oil had significant anti-inflammatory benefits when used to treat patients with osteoarthritis. (4)
Turmeric Essential OIl
Turmeric is best known as a kitchen condiment but studies have started to reveal just how useful it could be in healing a range of conditions. Turmeric and its essential oil contain a powerful anti-inflammatory agent called curcumin. When applied to the joints or muscles, the oil can help lower inflammation and boost circulation making it a great remedy for carpal tunnel.
Combine your turmeric essential oil with a suitable carrier oil and massage it into the affected area several times each day.
How to Use Essential Oils
Essential oils can enter the body in one of three primary ways. They can be inhaled, ingested (if they are food-grade), or applied topically. The most effective way to use an essential oil is typically by diffusion. Most people think a topical application is the most effective method and for carpal tunnel syndrome, it is definitely the best method of application.
This is done by mixing the oils with a carrier oil. When the oils are absorbed by breathing or through the skin, they are distributed to interact with various bodily systems and organs. The blood delivers the oils directly to the sites. This is how the benefits of essential oils or EOs are optimized.
When treating carpal tunnel syndrome, experts recommend using two to three drops of any of the oils. Make sure that you dilute the oil or oils with a suitable carrier oil before applying it to the affected area.
Selecting the Right Carrier Oil
Carrier oils, when used with essential oils to treat carpal tunnel, are usually made up of sunflower seed oil or similar plant derivative oils. Other oils that can be used as carrier oils include coconut oil, sweet almond oil or apricot oil but there are any number to choose from.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Best Oil to Use for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Actually, it is better to use a blend of essential oils along with the proper carrier oil(s) to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. For example, you might think of blending the oils of frankincense and peppermint oil and pairing them with a carrier oil such as apricot kernel oil.
What Is the Best Oil to Use to Reduce Pain?
If you want to get your mind off any associated pain, choose eucalyptus oil as your choice. You also will benefit from lavender, whether it is inhaled or applied topically. Lavender essential oil will help you sleep better at night. That is when the tingling or numbness of carpal tunnel syndrome seems to kick in.
What Oil Should You Use If You Type a Great Deal?
A good oil to select if you are a typist is marjoram essential oil and a carrier oil such as sunflower oil. Apply three drops of the oil, diffused with a drop of carrier oil, to your hand. This will relieve the tension that is associated with the condition. You can also find added relief by using a supportive oil such as lemongrass.
What Is the Best Oil to Use for Itching?
If you experience itching, stick to a choice such as peppermint essential oil. This type of irritation can be reduced because peppermint is known for getting rid of inflammation. Use three drops with a plant-based carrier oil for maximum relief.
What Are the Most Popular Essential Oils for Treating Carpal Tunnel?
The oils that are most used by carpal tunnel sufferers include eucalyptus oil, lemongrass oil, lavender oil, and peppermint oil. All the oils that are prescribed for this purpose are organic in nature and are of the highest quality.
If you want to remove the pressure and pain of carpal tunnel syndrome, you can do so more easily by opting for a treatment course that includes essential oils. The primary essential oils that you should include in your medicine cabinet are eucalyptus essential oil, ginger essential oil, turmeric essential oil, peppermint essential oil, and lavender essential oil.
Any of these outstanding oils can be applied topically to the affected area as long as they are diluted properly. You can also use lavender oil by inhaling it. Doing so will cause you to feel less stress and get a better night’s rest.
When using essential oils for you hand, make sure that you choose a carrier oil as well; a plant-based product such as sunflower oil is considered best. You can also experience good results when you use carrier oils such as sweet almond oil or apricot kernel oil.