Carpal Tunnel Home > Carpal Tunnel Treatment

The recommended treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome may include either surgical or non-surgical options. Non-surgical treatment methods typically include splinting and modifying daily activities. It may also involve medications, exercise, and alternative therapies (such as acupuncture or yoga). The other common treatment is surgery, which consists of two different types: open release and endoscopic surgery.

Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: An Introduction

Once your healthcare provider has made a diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome, treatment should begin. This is because early diagnosis and treatment are important to avoid permanent damage to the median nerve.
 
All treatments are focused on relieving pressure from the median nerve. The specific treatment your healthcare provider recommends will depend on:
 
  • Your current symptoms
  • How long you have had them
  • What is causing your symptoms
  • What was found during the physical exam and other tests
  • What has been tried in the past.
     
Carpal tunnel syndrome treatment options are separated into non-surgical options (known as conservative treatments) and surgery.
 
Regardless of the treatment recommended, if you smoke, this is a good time to quit. Research studies have shown that people who smoke have worse symptoms with carpal tunnel syndrome. They are also less likely to have their treatment be successful.
 

Conservative Carpal Tunnel Treatments

Unless there is significant loss of hand strength, your healthcare provider will usually recommend conservative treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. Conservative treatment generally involves:
 
  • Resting the affected hand and wrist for at least two weeks.
  • Splinting the wrist to avoid further damage from twisting or bending. It is especially important to wear this splint during sleep or with activities that aggravate symptoms.
  • Avoiding activities that may worsen symptoms. This may involve some ergonomic changes at work.
  • Controlling any underlying conditions, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or hypothyroidism.
     
He or she may also recommend:
 
  • Medications
  • Exercise
  • Alternative therapies.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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