Determine the causes of your carpal tunnel symptoms. You can then identify whether there are activities for you to avoid or do differently and ways you can help prevent the condition.
Prevent nerve damage and loss of muscle strength in your fingers and hand.
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is based on the seriousness of the condition, whether there is any nerve damage, and whether other treatment has helped. Treatment options include treatment without surgery (nonsurgical treatment) or with surgery.
If treated early, carpal tunnel symptoms usually go away with nonsurgical treatment.
If your symptoms are mild, with occasional tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain, 1 to 2 weeks of home treatment are likely to relieve your symptoms.
If home treatment does not help, or if your symptoms are more severe (including the loss of feeling in your fingers or hand, or the inability to perform simple hand movements such as holding objects or pinching), have your doctor examine you and recommend treatment.
If your symptoms are not severe, expect your doctor to recommend nonsurgical treatment to see whether symptoms improve. Nonsurgical treatment includes:
Evaluating any other medical problems thatmight contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome, and changing your treatment forthose problems if needed.
Changing or avoiding activities thatmay be causing symptoms, and taking frequent breaks from repetitivetasks.
Using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Although studies have not shown NSAIDsto be effective for carpal tunnel syndrome, they may help relieve yoursymptoms.
Learning ways to protect your joints as you go through yourdaily activities.
In some cases, oral corticosteroids or corticosteroid injections into the carpal tunnel may be considered if other methods to reduce inflammation do not work.
Surgery is sometimes recommended when other treatment has not helped, if a carpal tunnel condition has continued for a long time, or if there is nerve damage or the risk of nerve damage. Surgery involves cutting the ligament that forms the roof of the carpal tunnel. This relieves the pressure on the median nerve, which eases or ends the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Surgery is usually successful. In some cases it does not completely relieve the numbness and pain in the fingers or hand. This may be the case if there has been permanent nerve damage caused by long-standing carpal tunnel syndrome or by other health problems such as diabetes.
1995-2011 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.