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Aside from surgery, medication and lifestyle changes, several other treatments can help ease the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Rest, Ice, Elevation

Along with taking anti-inflammatory medication, you will need to rest your hands and wrists for a short time. In addition to rest and medications, ice and elevation can provide temporary relief from carpal tunnel syndrome while you are modifying your lifestyle to prevent recurrence.

Splinting

To assure that your wrist is rested, your doctor may choose to put your wrist in a splint. The splint holds the wrist in a cocked-up position. It may be worn only at night, when symptoms are usually at their worst, or throughout the day and night. Since any motion raises the pressure in the carpal tunnel and counteracts the effects of the splint, many doctors recommend the splint be worn continuously for the first week to ten days.

Exercises

According to a report published by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a simple warm-up routine may greatly reduce the incidence of carpal tunnel syndrome. This routine, combined with medication and rest, may prove to be better at treating symptoms than simple rest and medication.

The warm-up routine is as follows:

  1. Hold your hands in front of you as if pushing on a wall. Count to five.
  2. Relax your wrists and fingers.
  3. Make tight fists with both hands.
  4. Bend both fists downward. Count to five.
  5. Repeat each step ten times.
  6. Then shake arms loosely while hanging at your side.

References:

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://www.aaos.org .

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research website. Available at: http://www.mayo.edu .



Last reviewed September 2014 by Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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