Using Emu Oil for Carpal Tunnel
By Dr. Leigh Hopkins
Several folks have reported relief from carpal tunnel syndrome
symptoms of the burning and tingling numbness in the fingers, with
applications of emu oil to the wrist area. Since some individuals
suffer permanent nerve damage from carpal tunnel syndrome, it is
worth some degree of caution when recommending emu oil for
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive stress injury reported at an
increasing rate in the U.S. work force. Anyone who does repetitive
work with their hands and arms is susceptible. Musicians, cooks,
writers, typists and others complain of finger stiffness in the
morning, a weakened grip and pain and numbness in the hands and
The syndrome occurs when the tendons in the wrist become inflamed
after some type of aggravation such as typing or writing. These
tendons pass between the bones and ligaments of the palm of the hand
in a constricted area called a tunnel. Treatment includes resting
the hands using splints. Oral and injected anti-inflammatory drugs
such as ibuprofen are also common treatments. Surgery may be used to
expand the tunnel and reduce the pressure on the nerve that is
causing the pain.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke reports
that 1% of individuals with this syndrome develop permanent injury.
The majority recover completely and can avoid re-injury by changing
the way they do repetitive movements, the frequency with which they
do the movements, and the amount of time they rest between periods
when they perform repetitive movements.
An uncommon but very effective treatment is to take vitamins B6 and
B2. Doctors noticed that carpal tunnel syndrome often occurred in
women on birth control pills that had high estrogen doses (these
products are no longer available). Pregnant women also have an
increased risk for carpal tunnel syndrome. And finally, diabetics
are also at increased risk. All these conditions are associated with
an increased need for vitamin B6. The dose of vitamin B6 is 200 to
300 mg per day in divided doses. Vitamin B2 is necessary to convert
vitamin B6 into its active form. This treatment should be tried for
three months; if there is no symptom relief by then, vitamin B6 may
not be for you.
In summary: Emu oil may act in an anti-inflammatory manner to
relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome similar to oral
anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and Motrin. Vitamins B6 and
B2 can be taken for 3 months at a daily dose of 300 mg for each
vitamin. These should be taken in 100 mg. doses at each meal. If,
after a trial of 3 months there is no benefit from the use of emu
oil and the B vitamins, you should seek other therapies since
permanent nerve damage may occur in some people.
The information provided is strictly educational and not intended as
medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment, consult your physician.
Reprinted with permission
Emu Today & Tomorrow,
August, 1997, page 6.