There are several treatment options which relieve the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome as well as treatment which gives permanent relief from the condition. 

Treatment options fall into two categories:

  • Non-surgical
  • Surgical

Carpal Tunnel treatment without surgery

It is important to know that non-surgical treatment options offer temporary relief of symptoms.  As such they should not be considered as permanent solutions.  Furthermore, they usually only provide relief of mild symptoms and have little to no effect on those that are more severe or have been present for some months.

Often, your GP will recommend and trial some or all of the non-surgical options to improve symptoms before a more permanent solution can be considered.  We talk more about surgical treatment in this article.

Wrist Splint

A wrist splint is a popular treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and usually, the first option recommended by your GP.  There are two types of splint available:

  • Resting splint
  • Working splint

And while both work on the same principle of relieving pressure on the nerve by keeping the wrist extended, they are worn at different times. 

Many people experience symptoms worse during the night, and the resting splint is designed to wear while you sleep.  It can help ease the pain, tingling and other symptoms which cause discomfort and restlessness.

The working splint is intended to be worn during the day to support your wrist while you carry out activities known to bring on symptoms or make them worse. 

Some people also find relief by reducing or avoiding activities which exacerbate symptoms, but unfortunately, it isn’t always possible.  When it is difficult to avoid them altogether, regular breaks from the hand and wrist movement can help ease the pain, tingling or altered feeling.

While wrist splints can be a useful temporary treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it can take three to four weeks to see any improvement in symptoms. 

Steroid injection

A steroid injection is most useful for those with mild or intermittent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms.  But is a short-term option.  The steroid is injected into the wrist to reduce swelling around the median nerve, releasing pressure on it thereby easing pain and other symptoms.  When the effects of the injection have worn off, usually after a few months, it is likely that they will return.  Unfortunately, repeated doses are not a long-term solution.

Some people also find temporary relief from over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen.  As with the steroid injection, they reduce pain and swelling offering some relief from uncomfortable symptoms.

Alternative treatments

Yoga, acupuncture and chiropractic therapy prove useful for some people, helping give temporary relief.  Hand exercises prescribed by a physiotherapist or occupational therapist are also effective in a small number of cases. 

Benefits of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome surgery

“Carpal Tunnel Syndrome surgery is the gold-standard treatment”

Consultant, Mr A Aladin BSc, BMBS, MRCS(Eng), DM, FRCS(Eng)

In fact, it is the only permanent treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  While other options offer temporary relief from symptoms, they do not treat the condition.  Carpal Tunnel Surgery has significant benefits:

  • Immediate relief from pain and discomfort
  • Little or no pain following surgery
  • Highly unlikely to recur
  • Regular activities resumed within a month of surgery
  • Quick procedure with no need for an overnight stay

The operation is carried out by open, or keyhole surgery and both procedures involve making a cut to the carpal ligament to create space in the tunnel, releasing pressure.  Over time the ligaments usually grow back together, and the extra space in the carpal tunnel remains, creating a permanent treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Just as symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome differ from person to person, it is important to remember that different treatments are more useful for different people.  It is crucial to choose the one that is right for you and your lifestyle, and for many, sooner permanent relief is preferred to enable them to continue with day to day activities including work, hobbies and daily activities.

“There is a more reliable chance of full recovery if we catch it in the early stages”

Consultant, Mr A Aladin BSc, BMBS, MRCS(Eng), DM, FRCS(Eng)

To talk to us about permanent relief from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or to make an appointment call us on 01623 624137 or email enquiries@nottinghamroad.co.uk

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