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 ten 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 five.
- Relax your wrists and fingers.
- Make tight fists with both hands.
- Bend both fists downward. Count to five.
- Repeat each step ten times.
- Then shake arms loosely while hanging at your side.
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website. Available at:
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research website. Available at:
Last reviewed September 2012 by John C. Keel, MD
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