Can carpal tunnel syndrome go away without surgery?

Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome wonder if the condition can be cleared up without surgery. Read on to see how.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful, sometimes debilitating condition that can make everyday activities unbearable. The good news is that carpal tunnel pain can be treated without surgery, as long as it is treated early, before symptoms become severe.

Can carpal tunnel pain go away without surgery?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the nerves of the palm and wrist. The space the nerves run through, between the bones and ligaments of the hand, is called the carpal tunnel. Compression of the tunnel results in tingling, numbness and weakness in the hand and wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by the natural shape of the wrist and hand, or by repetitive motion. If symptoms are discovered early and treated quickly, surgery is not typically needed to restore normal feeling and use of the affected area.

Next steps for carpal tunnel treatment

The arm and hand surgeons at Norton Louisville Arm & Hand have broad expertise that ranges from treating ailments like carpal tunnel and trigger finger to more complex procedures such as reattachment microsurgery.

How to treat carpal tunnel without surgery

“There are many options for people with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms,”  said Amit Gupta, M.D., hand surgeon with Norton Louisville Arm & Hand. “It depends on the cause.”

Some ways to address carpal tunnel without surgery include:

  • Ergonomics: This includes adjusting your work environment to reduce strain on the arms, hands, wrists and elbows. Incorporating armrests and wrist rests, and using appropriate seating and computer height are all ways to do this.
  • Exercise: Yoga and hand therapies can provide relief by stretching and strengthening the hands and arms. A physical therapist can provide the stretches and exercises that might help reduce pain, swelling and other symptoms.
  • Medication: “We can try nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine,” Dr. Gupta said.

Sometimes, patients require a steroid injection.

  • Addressing underlying conditions: It’s important to rule out any underlying conditions that could cause carpal tunnel symptoms, such as gout, hypothyroidism or rheumatoid arthritis.

See a health care provider to learn what is the best treatment for your carpal tunnel syndrome.

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