Non-surgical or conservative carpal tunnel syndrome treatments resolve many patient's symptoms, and that's good news if you don't want or need surgery!
(Conservative and non-surgical really mean the same thing).
They mean any treatment other than carpal tunnel surgery such as:
Ice, wrist braces, Pain relieving creams and gels, Night splints, pain relieving medicines, ergonomic fixes, and work restrictions...as well as physical therapy, carpal tunnel exercises, cortisone injections and even homeopathic or alternative treatments.
Good old ice on the wrist area usually helps relieve some of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), especially if the cause is from repetitive activities or over usage of the hands, which can cause inflammation of your tendons in the wrist.
However, if your CTS or inflammation is from Arthritis, ice is not recommended as it will make your joints even more stiff and sore!
Mild moist heat or topical creams and gels are best for these type of cases along with the other treatments we will be talking about.
Ice cubes in a zip-lock bag, or a bag of frozen peas can work fine because they conform to your wrist better than the solid plastic type ice packs used for food or drinks. Although they can both be messy and a bother to use over and over again.
If you want a no-fuss, no-mess solution for work or home, and have a comfortable custom-fit coverage of the wrist,
TRY these amazing ICE WRIST WRAPS (Many pro-athletes and doctors use the Active Wrap brand, I HAVE 2 OF THEM!)
These wrist wraps also allow ARTHRITIS SUFFERERS to use warm moist heat for their wrists!
Although you may have symptoms in the fingers, Remember to ice the wrist/palm area (the carpal tunnel area) See Anatomy of the Carpal tunnel
You should ice your wrist about 3 times a day for 15 minutes for a couple of weeks...then if you have improvement in your symptoms you can use ice or cold therapy after repetitive hand activities...i.e. work, hobbies, gardening etc...
I often have patients follow the cold therapy with 5 minutes of moist heat (warm wash towel heated in microwave) followed by range of motion type exercises or
carpal tunnel exercises.
The use of Carpal tunnel wrist braces or carpal tunnel wrist splints during the day and nocturnal or Night Splints to sleep in at night are an important aspect of any carpal tunnel syndrome treatment plan. It can help immobilize and give the wrist support and prevent excessive bending of the carpal tunnel (which can cause tendonitis of the wrist and irritate the median nerve. See Carpal tunnel causes
Using comfortable carpal tunnel Night Splints can prevent you from unknowingly bending and crimping your wrist all night long...until the symptoms wake you up!
I have contracted with several different medical suppliers to provide you with the type of wrist braces and splints and other medical products that doctor's offices use.
I have too many patients that love these pain relieving creams and gels not to recommend them. They feel great when they go on and the relief can last for hours. I think they are so effective in some people because the carpal tunnel and its related structures are fairly close to the skin's surface. I probably have tried them all, and I believe these work the best.
Many patients refer to these type of drugs as carpal tunnel medicine. There is a whole class of these drugs and they are called
anti-inflammatory drugs...such as, over the counter Aspirin, Advil, Motrin, Aleve etc...(Tylenol is considered just a pain reliever; it does not have any anti-inflammatory properties).
Prescription anti-inflammatories include things like Celebrex, Lodine, Mobic, Naprosyn, and Motrin or Ibuprofen.
All these different types of medicines basically do the same thing...they try and reduce the inflammation in your body and hopefully your wrist and tendons.
Some studies have shown they help with CTS, some have shown they don't help that much. The number one side effect with these medicines is G.I upset..(stomach upset). You shouldn't take them if you have or have had a history of ulcers.
Also recently there have been warnings about these type of medicines causing heart attacks in people who already have coronary heart disease...so, as with any medications check with your provider to see if these medicines are okay for you to use.
This can be a form of treatment, so I included it here. Ergonomics simply means making your job or even your home tasks easier by fixing or modifying it in some way.
Changing one's workstation or desk or computer height, chair height etc...so that it is more comfortable for you and easier for you to maintain proper posture throughout the day can help you reduce muscle fatigue. Read more information about CTS Prevention and visit our Ergonomic Products Store
Bad wrist posture when typing or when using a mouse for extended periods may bother some people's wrist. Many people love the newer Ergo mouses and Pads
Read Reviews and more Info on Ergonomic Mouses
Visit the Ergonomic Mouse Store
Restrictions can be a form of treatment in that you are trying to give your wrist and hands some rest, so the have time to heal. Restrictions are meant to be followed at home as well as work. Many cases of CTS are not caused by work at all, but restrictions are still needed.
Work comp cases usually get the most attention in regards to work restrictions or light duty. They are needed to limit the use of your hands, to limit the use of power tools, gripping etc..
Even though work may NOT have caused your CTS, Activities at work or home can flare-up or aggravate your condition and make your conservative treatments less effective.
Of course the different types of carpal tunnel surgeries would be considered forms of carpal tunnel treatments. Also read how Work comp effects surgery outcomes Still trying to Decide if you need carpal tunnel surgery? Read these articles below:
All or some of these carpal tunnel treatments that we have discussed may help or eliminate your carpal tunnel symptoms. This information will also help you take an active role in your care along with your healthcare provider.
Take control of your life and start to feel better now!
Best carpal tunnel braces
Best Night splints
Best Pain relieving creams/gels
CTS causes and controversy
Lab tests and Xrays for CTS
Carpal tunnel splints
Recovery from surgery
Best gels for surgery scars