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If carpal tunnel syndrome is not treated, symptoms may worsen or last longer. The earlier the issue is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat. If you only have mild carpal tunnel symptoms, home care may be the only treatment needed. Home remedies include:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve)
- Wrist splints
- Learning to perform tasks differently to reduce pressure on the nerve of the wrist
Other non-surgical treatments include physical therapy, steroid injections, ultrasound therapy, and yoga. Carpal tunnel syndrome is not primarily an inflammatory process. However, pain is a common complaint, and anti-inflammatory medications are sometimes used to try to treat the pain. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) may provide some relief but are unlikely to cure carpal tunnel syndrome. Direct injection of steroid medication by your doctor into the carpal canal has been shown to be an effective treatment for some people with carpal tunnel syndrome. This is a procedure that can be done in the doctor's office with only minimal discomfort.
Physical therapy can be particularly useful after carpal tunnel surgery. Therapy can reduce swelling, stiffness, and pain after surgery. Therapy can also help to restore strength after surgery. Not everyone needs therapy after surgery, but for some, it can be very helpful.
Avoiding smoking, maintaining an appropriate weight, and regularly exercising may help prevent the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Modification of workstations, keyboards, and tools has been attempted to try to prevent the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Whether these ergonomic interventions help is unknown. Appropriate treatment of wrist arthritis, when present, can prevent or treat carpal tunnel syndrome.
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Milind J Kothari, DO. Carpal tunnel syndrome: Treatment and prognosis. 13 November 2018. 28 December 2018