Aside from surgery, medication and lifestyle changes, several other treatments can help ease the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Rest, Ice, Elevation
Along with taking anti-inflammatory medication, you will need to rest your hands and wrists for a short time. In addition to rest and medications, ice and elevation can provide temporary relief from carpal tunnel syndrome while you are modifying your lifestyle to prevent recurrence.
To assure that your wrist is rested, your doctor may choose to put your wrist in a splint. The splint holds the wrist in a cocked-up position. It may be worn only at night, when symptoms are usually at their worst, or throughout the day and night. Since any motion raises the pressure in the carpal tunnel and counteracts the effects of the splint, many doctors recommend the splint be worn continuously for the first week to 10 days.
According to a report published by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a simple warm-up routine may greatly reduce the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome. This routine, combined with medication and rest, may prove to be better at treating symptoms than simple rest and medication.
The warm-up routine is as follows:
- Hold your hands in front of you as if pushing on a wall. Count to 5.
- Relax your wrists and fingers.
- Make tight fists with both hands.
- Bend both fists downward. Count to 5.
- Repeat each step 10 times.
- Then shake arms loosely while hanging at your side.
Carpal tunnel syndrome. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 3, 2015. Accessed September 23, 2015.
Carpal tunnel syndrome. OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00005. Updated December 2009. Accessed September 23, 2015.
Last reviewed September 2015 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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