Carpal tunnel syndrome is a neurological condition that affects the hands, wrists and arms. It typically is caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist and can be triggered by a number of factors, including improper usage of a computer due to a workstation or space that is not ergonomic. The condition can progressively get worse, is painful and can lead to weakness in the hands. While there is surgery for carpal tunnel, many patients opt to not have this type of treatment.
Alternatives to surgery include the usage of corticosteroids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which can alleviate the pain associated with the condition. These drugs can soothe pain but will not treat carpal tunnel itself. Using a splint on your wrist is another option that can relieve symptoms such as numbness and tingling. It is recommended especially when you go to sleep and can give good support and hold the wrist in a relaxed position.
Individuals will benefit from using a splint, even if they opt to not undergo surgery. The wrists are in a more natural position during the night when the person is asleep, which allows for a restful sleep without inflaming symptoms.
Carpal Tunnel: Should You Have Surgery?
Carpal tunnel is commonly caused by repetitive movements, causing the median nerve, which is located in your forearm, to become pinched and compressed in a way that can cause pain. Surgery can help to correct this problem, but some people choose not to have surgery.
Repetitive movements are the most common cause of carpal tunnel – things like typing or using tools. If your job requires you to do these things, you may not be able to take enough time off to allow the issue to heal fully. Even if you do take time off, the pain related to carpal tunnel may come back once you return to work and resume the activity that caused the pain in the first place.
Over-the-counter pain relievers and wrist braces are also commonly used by people who don’t have surgery to correct carpal tunnel. While they can help to reduce the amount of pain you feel, they won’t actually fix carpal tunnel syndrome. Over-the-counter pain relievers should not be taken for prolonged periods of time.
You may be able to recover from carpal tunnel syndrome without surgery, but the process will require you to avoid activities that caused the pain – perhaps for good.