Avoid Surgery With Natural Remedies

A few years ago, I began experiencing pain and numbness in my hands. My grip strength declined so much that I could no longer open a jar of tomato sauce. I had carpal tunnel syndrome, which occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, is pressed or squeezed at the wrist. For my job, I spend all day on the computer, typing and using the mouse. To avoid hand surgery, I made many behavioral and dietary changes. My symptoms eventually disappeared. If you are as averse to surgery as I am, first try these remedies for treating carpal tunnel. They might save you from the pain and cost of surgery. 

Frequent Breaks

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive stress injury. Taking breaks from the repetitive action that is causing the problem is the best way to prevent and treat the injury. I use a timer on my computer to remind me every 15 minutes to get up and move around. I also reduced my computer time at home in the evening. 


Scientific studies have shown that acupuncture is an effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome[1]. I was skeptical, but if it meant I could avoid surgery, I was willing to try it. I had acupuncture twice a week for about 3 months. I don’t know if it was entirely due to the acupuncture, but my symptoms disappeared over that time.

Regarding my experience with acupuncture:

  • It did not hurt.
  • It was quiet relaxing, almost like a meditation.
  • Most insurance companies don’t cover it.

Omega 3 Fish Oil

Omega 3 fish oil treats the inflammation caused by carpal tunnel syndrome. Use the fish oil, not capsules. The capsules contain filler ingredients of dubious quality and you never know if the fish oil in the capsules is a good quality. Get high-quality fish oil from Norway, where the water is cleaner than most places. I use Carlson fish oil. 

Improved Diet

I increased the amount of omega-3 fatty acids in my diet by eating more walnuts and salmon. I avoided processed foods.


Yoga is a stress reducing activity that can help with a number of ailments. Several stretches specifically target the nerves that travel from your neck to your wrist.

Proper Posture

Use the proper posture at your workstation. Put your monitor at eye level. Sit with your back  straight – no slouching. Bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle when typing and put your wrists in a neutral, relaxed position, preferably supported by a wrist pad. Put your mouse comfortably close. If you have to stretch or extend your arm to move the mouse, it is too far away. 

Standup Desks

Consider getting a desk that you can raise and lower so that you can stand part of the day. Maintaining proper posture is easier when you stand. Standing part of the day is also better for your digestion and overall health. Make sure you have comfortable shoes and a pad to stand on. My standup desk helped ease my carpal tunnel symptoms and my shoulder pain. I also was more active at work because walking to someone’s office was easier if I was already standing.

Standup deskCredit: Amazon.com

Ergonomic Keyboard and Mouse

Consider using an ergonomic keyboard and mouse to reduce the stress on your hands. They allow you to place your hands in a neutral position while typing or using the mouse. They feel strange initially, but once you adjust, you will feel an improvement almost immediately.

Ergonomic keyboardCredit: Amazon.com

Keyboard Shortcuts

If clicking the mouse too much is the cause of your problems, consider alternatives, such as keyboard shortcuts. Most software applications have them. The shortcuts also helped me do tasks faster. 

Although not an option for me, you could also look into voice-activated software. 

Avoid Surgery if You Can

I don't know which of these remedies worked for me. They all probably contributed. I stay diligent though because my symptoms could easily return. Once you have symptoms, your condition will get worse over time unless you take action. Surgery might be a temporary fix but it is expensive and inconvenient. It also permanently weakens your hands and creates scar tissue, which itself can become inflamed and cause other problems.

The key is to try these remedies as soon as you have symptoms. Good luck. 

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
Amazon Price: $49.99 $28.00 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 22, 2015)
I used this keyboard at both home and the office. After you start using an ergonomic keyboard, you can't use the old kind anymore.
Ergotron WorkFit-D, Sit-Stand Desk (birch)
Amazon Price: $699.00 $648.98 Buy Now
(price as of Apr 22, 2015)
This kind of desk is ideal because you can raise it and lower it automatically.