Carpal Tunnel Treatment
Acupuncture, magnet therapy, vitamin B6 supplements, and chiropractic care have benefited some people, but their effectiveness remains unproven. An exception is yoga, which has been shown to reduce pain and improve grip strength among people with carpal tunnel syndrome.
For some people, surgery may be recommended. Carpal tunnel surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States. It is generally recommended if symptoms last for six months. However, if there is significant loss of muscle in the thumb or significant median nerve damage, surgery might be suggested sooner.
Surgery involves cutting the band of tissue around the wrist to reduce pressure on the median nerve. This is done under local anesthesia and does not require an overnight hospital stay. Many people require surgery on both hands.
Although symptoms may be relieved immediately after surgery, full recovery can take months. Some people may have infection, nerve damage, stiffness, and pain at the scar (see Complications of Carpal Tunnel Release). Occasionally, the wrist loses strength because the carpal ligament is cut.
People should undergo physical therapy after surgery to restore wrist strength. Some people may need to adjust job duties or even change jobs after recovery from surgery.
There are two types of carpal tunnel surgery:
Open Carpal Tunnel Release
Open carpal tunnel release surgery is the traditional procedure used to correct carpal tunnel syndrome. It consists of making an incision up to two inches in the wrist and then cutting the carpal ligament to enlarge the carpal tunnel. The procedure is generally done under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis, unless there are unusual medical considerations.