Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The medical name for the bones of your wrist are the carpals or carpal bones. At the bend of your wrist, a thick fibrous band of tissue forms the roof of a "tunnel" across the carpals to make a protected path, or "tunnel," through which the nerves, veins, arteries, and tendons travel on their way from your arm into your hand. This is the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Occasionally, the area becomes inflamed from injury or repetitive use, during pregnancy, and in inflammatory arthritic conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Swelling from the inflammation puts pressure on the nerves running in the tunnel, "pinching" them and causing the syndrome: pain, numbness, stiffness, weakness, and loss of use of the hand and, oddly enough, the arm as far as the elbow and even the shoulder. The ultimate treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may require surgery to relieve the pinch on the nerve, but before that point, the vitamin shelf may offer some help.

Carpal Tunnel SyndromeWhat helps Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Medical studies on people suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pain have often shown them to be deficient in vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). When that is the case, taking the vitamin gives some relief of symptoms. Recommendation: Take 100 mg daily (along with B-complex as described below). Although some relief may begin in a few weeks, you should continue the treatment for 12 weeks.
Warning: we would not advise your increasing your dose beyond this level. At doses as little as 200 mg per day over several years, some people develop nerve damage, and the potential for benefit is simply not worth that risk. In order to use vitamin B6, your body must have a sufficient supply of riboflavin (vitamin B2) and the other members of the B-complex group. Recommendation: Take 100 mg B-complex 3 times each day.

What makes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome worse?

• we know of no nutrient that worsens carpal tunnel syndrome or hastens its development.

• Carpal tunnel syndrome can develop as a side effect of taking the medication/mineral lithium, prescribed by physicians for the treatment of bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder. This side effect usually occurs when control of symptoms requires high doses of the mineral. Recommendation: Unless your physician specifically recommends you continue lithium, if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, a trial period off medication to assess whether taking the drug worsens your symptoms is probably prudent.

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