If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you may have wondered how to use heat to help reduce your pain.
If you apply heat to an area, it increases blood flow.
This is a good thing, because tight muscles cause pain and other symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. The increased blood flow relaxes those muscles.
There is just one thing to know: While the increased blood flow is good for healing, sometimes it can cause additional swelling. That isn't good.
As a rule, you can tell yourself whether applying heat is making you feel better or worse.
If your carpal tunnel symptoms feel worse after using heat, then it is not the appropriate treatment for your carpal tunnel discomfort. Instead, switch to ice or cold therapy.
If your symptoms are less, and you feel better after using heat, then it is a good therapy for you to use.
How do you apply heat for your carpal tunnel syndrome?
Moist heat seems to go more deeply into your muscles than dry heat.
Soak a towel in very hot water and wring it out. Or, wet, wring out and heat a towel in a microwave oven (be careful--the towel can get really, really hot in a microwave.) If you wrap the hot pack in plastic, it will stay hot longer because air can't get to it.
Moist heating pads that use electricity are available at stores.
Apply the heat directly to your skin or
place a cloth between your skin and the heated towel or heating pad (make the cloth whatever thickness you can still feel the heat through.)
*You don't want to burn yourself!*
If it feels too hot, place another towel between your skin and the heat source.
You can tell the heat is working when your skin gets bright pink. This means your circulation has increased and your muscles are relaxing.
The length of time to leave your heating pad in place is 5 to 30 minutes.
Where do you apply the heat to relieve your carpal tunnel syndrome?
You might think the logical place to work on your carpal tunnel is in the areas where you have the most symptoms (pain, numbness, tingling, nervy sensations or other discomfort.) That's not necessarily true.
In reality, the causes of your symptoms are most likely where you are NOT hurting.
What this means is: Use heat therapy where your symptoms are and also use heat on the areas that are causing your carpal tunnel syndrome.
You feel your symptoms around your wrist, hand and lower arm. But, the cause might be the muscles near the top of your lower arm, in your upper arm or even your shoulder.
Feel around, press into your muscles with the fingers of your other hand, and find out what's tender. That's one way to find the muscles that are causing your carpal tunnel pain. Those are the other areas where you should apply heat, beside your lower arm, wrist and hand.
Remember, if you feel worse, even a little bit, after using heat, it is probably not the best treatment your carpal tunnel pain. Instead, switch to ice therapy.
So, now you know how to use heat to reduce your carpal tunnel syndrome.
And, that's a good thing.
"Because You Deserve to Feel Better!"