When you’re at home healing a wrist injury rather than out doing your favorite physical activities, the waiting is often the most frustrating part. Sure, you know you’re supposed to ice, compress, and rest it for several days but you want to do things that involve using both hands and it’s tough to sit around watching movies instead. Even if you’re completely familiar with the usual R.I.C.E. procedures of rest, ice, compression, and elevation, these don’t actually take up much of your day. After all, resting is what’s causing the problem, icing only takes twenty minutes out of every two hours, and compression takes maybe fifteen total minutes out of the day getting it in and out of the elastic bandage or wrist brace. The rest of the day that you’re not at work on light duty, it’s just waiting.
Naturally, you’d prefer to spend this time speeding up the healing process if possible. The good news is that there are actually a few things you can do to make your healing go more efficiently. While we can’t guarantee that any particular method will speed up your healing, most home remedies will do something helpful like bring down the swelling, reduce pain, and boost your vital vitamins and minerals which usually aids with the healing process. At the very least, preparing a few home remedies is a fun way to pass the time. Here are our nine favorite natural methods for healing a wrist injury:
1) Mustard Plaster
Mustard is a surprisingly powerful herb that can boost your body’s blood flow if used as a topical agent. Easier blood flow means that your body can work more efficiently to tend to the wound and encourage healing and can, therefore, contribute to an overall faster healing time. This is why many athletes make mustard plasters at home to treat home sprains and strains. To make a mustard plaster, spoon out three or four tablespoons of flour into a small bowl, then add two or three tablespoons of dry mustard. Add enough warm water to create a paste and spread the solution all the way around your sprained wrist. To get the best possible results form a mustard plaster, apply right after your twenty to thirty minutes of icing and leave the plaster on for about 20 minutes twice a day.
2) Cayenne Pepper
Pepper is another great natural healing agent, although it’s not the pepper itself that has the magic effect. Capsaicin, which is what makes pepper hot and is therefore abundant in cayenne pepper, is a natural pain reliever and enhances your rate of healing. This is actually why older people and anyone suffering from chronic pain tend to go for the very spicy foods. While you’re healing, foods with lots of pepper may be beneficial but it can also be used as a topical ointment to directly affect your healing wrist. To make a cayenne pepper solution, mix one tablespoon of cayenne pepper with one tablespoon of olive oil. Stir well and spread it over the wrist then let it stay in place for 20 minutes before washing gently with warm water and soap. This can be done a few times a day and should help relieve pain without painkillers.
3) Epsom Salt
Epsom salt has been renowned for its health and healing abilities for decades and your sprained wrist is certainly no exception. If you need to kill an hour or so in rest and relaxation where you won’t be tempted to use the healing wrist, take a long hot bath saturated in Epsom salts. This should not only make your skin healthier, it will also enhance your blood circulation which is good for healing and reduce swelling caused by inflammation. Of course, you can also make a much smaller warm Epsom salt bath just for your wrist so you can do other things. You can potentially shorten your recovery time by doing an Epsom soak about twice a day.
4) Water and Fruit
Anytime your body is doing something difficult like healing a delicate wrist injury, water is always the right answer. Drinking plenty of water helps to reduce swelling and will keep you well hydrated during the healing process. For many athletes, water intake is based on your workout routine so it can be easy to forget when you’re on rest and recuperation. You should also eat plenty of water-based fruits to keep your vitamins and minerals up. Pineapple, in particular, includes a lot of bromelain, which is an enzyme that speeds up the healing process.
5) Work Out the Other Wrist
Known as the cross-transfer recovery approach, working out the healthy wrist is a great way to promote healing in the injured one. This is a great way to burn off some of that extra frustrated energy as you wait out the recovery time. Keep your healthy wrist busy with wrist curls, extensions, and tennis ball squeezes which will help your body be ready to build up the injured wrist when it’s ready to handle the stress of regaining strength and function. Any exercise you can do while keeping the damaged wrist safe will promote blood flow and enhance your healing.
6) Ice Massage/ Cold Therapy
One great way to combine both massage and icing is something called an ice massage. This form of cold therapy both chills the area to bring down painful swelling and massages the injured wrist to promote healthy blood flow to and from the damaged area. To prepare an ice massage, fill a paper cup with water and freeze it. With the frozen cup of water, slowly massage around the wrist and peel off the paper around the cup as the ice melts. The cup shape gives you a nice solid round piece of ice rather than the many pieces that usually go into an ice pack.
7) Vitamin E and C
The vitamins and minerals you absorb while healing can make a big difference on how soon your wrist will be ready for action again. Vitamin E is a great supplement and topical and will help your body heal more cleanly than usual Applied to the area, it will help prevent any scarring if your wrist injury came with a scrape and if ingested, it can prevent scar tissue from forming where the tendon took damage on the inside. Vitamin C and citrus, in general, are not only fantastic for healing, they also force free radicals out of the body so that they don’t interfere with the healing process.
Turmeric, like garlic, is one of those magical spices that has way more than just flavor to offer. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory which makes it excellent for bringing down swelling and it can also reduce spasm, relax muscles, and promote tissue growth. Trying some strongly turmeric-flavored Indian take-out is a great place to start but you can also use it as a topical pain and swelling reliever. To make a turmeric plaster, mix one tablespoon of turmeric with one tablespoon of lime juice. Stir into a paste and apply all the way around your wrist. This time, wrap it in a bandage and leave the mixture on overnight. You should notice a real difference the next day in both swelling and pain.
9) Gentle Massage
Your final recourse for helping your wrist feel better and heal faster is a little bit of gentle massage. This is a classic method with very little complexity except that you have the best perspective on how to massage your wrist to ease the pain and relax the tendons. Gently work your fingertips into and around the injured area. It’s important that you stop if the wrist hurts but mild aching is to be expected. At the very least, the massage should promote blood flow and therefore enable more efficient healing but it can also help your wrist to relax and thus relieve pain as well.
Home remedies are safe, drug-free ways to get healthier and promote good healing while recovering from an injury. With a few spices, vitamins, and plenty of water, you should be back to your usual physical activities in no time. For more helpful information on how to recover from sports injuries and other aches and pains, contact your primary physician.