Many of us have experienced the uncomfortable sensation of a swollen palms, and it can occur suddenly without warning. This nuisance may only last for a few minutes on many occasions, but on others it can persist for much longer. But is there a reason to panic? In most cases, the answer is NO. What’s happening in our palms and fingers reflects what is happening both inside and outside our bodies. These factors are rarely cause for concern. However, in those few cases where there is a problem, it’s good to be able to identify it, and understand whether it’s treatable at home, or if it’s time to see a doctor.
1. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed as it travels through the wrist at the carpal tunnel, and causes pain, numbness and tingling in the part of the hand that receives sensation from the median nerve. (source) This is a very common syndrome in both men and women of various ages and occurs mostly in people who engage in monotonous actions (such as office work). If treated early on, the problem is easily remedied, but the longer it takes to diagnose and treat, the longer the healing process takes.
Home treatments require several actions:
- Icing – If you suspect that the source of the inflammation is from a repetitive action, ice your wrists twice a day for 15-20 minutes each time. Use an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel. Avoid placing the ice directly on your skin.
- Take breaks – If you keep bending your wrists and fingers repeatedly when doing computer work, sewing, or knitting, make sure you take a 5-10 minute break every hour and avoid straining your wrists during those breaks.