Carpal Tunnel Treatment

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Carpal Tunnel Treatment:
If diagnosed and treated early, carpal tunnel syndrome can be relieved without surgery.

    . . . Nonsurgical Treatment
Treatment often begins with a brace or splint worn at night to keep the wrist in a natural position. Splints can also be worn during activities that aggravate symptoms.

Simple medications can help decrease pain. These medications include anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen.

Changing patterns of hand use to avoid positions and activities that aggravate the symptoms may be helpful.

A corticosteroid injection will often provide temporary relief, but symptoms may come back.

    . . . Surgical Treatment
Surgery may be considered if carpal tunnel syndrome continues to bother you and you do not gain relief from nonsurgical treatments. The decision whether to have surgery is based mostly on the severity of the symptoms.

  • If the symptoms are severe and won't go away, your doctor may consider surgery.
  • In more-severe cases, surgery is considered sooner because other treatment options are less helpful.
  • In very severe cases, surgery may be recommended to prevent irreversible damage.

    Carpal Tunnel Treatment . . . Prevention
    There are no proven strategies to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome, but to protect your hands from a variety of ailments, take the following precautions:

  • Reduce your force and relax your grip Most people use more force than needed to perform many tasks involving the hands. If your work involves a cash register, for instance, hit the keys softly. For prolonged handwriting, use a big pen with an oversized, soft grip adapter and free-flowing ink. This way you won't have to grip the pen tightly or press as hard on the paper.
  • Take frequent breaks Every 15 to 20 minutes give your hands and wrists a break by gently stretching and bending them. Alternate tasks when possible. If you use equipment that vibrates or that requires you to exert a great amount of force, taking breaks is even more important.
  • Watch your form Avoid bending your wrist all the way up or down. A relaxed middle position is best. If you use a keyboard, keep it at elbow height or slightly lower.
  • Improve your posture Incorrect posture can cause your shoulders to roll forward. When your shoulders are in this position, your neck and shoulder muscles are shortened, compressing nerves in your neck. This can affect your wrists, fingers and hands.
  • Keep your hands warm You're more likely to develop hand pain and stiffness if you work in a cold environment. If you can't control the temperature at work, put on fingerless gloves that keep your hands and wrists warm.

  • Carpal Tunnel Treatment . . . What you can do
    Quick breaks, stretching, aspirin or other over-the-counter NSAIDs may relieve your symptoms temporarily.

    You might also want to try wearing a wrist splint at night and avoid sleeping on your hands to help ease the pain or numbness in your wrists and hands. The splint should be snug but not tight. If pain, numbness or weakness recurs and persists, see your doctor.

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