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How do I Relieve Carpal Tunnel Pain?

By Alex Terris
Updated May 17, 2024
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There are a number of techniques to relieve carpal tunnel pain without having to resort to invasive treatments. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), for example, can reduce pressure on the nerve in the wrist. Stretching the muscles surrounding the wrist and forearm can also lower pain levels. Alternative treatments such as acupuncture and yoga may provide relief for some people. If noninvasive treatments fail to work, however, surgery might be recommended, although only as a last resort.

Noninvasive treatments can often provide significant relief from carpal tunnel pain. Reducing inflammation can help to relieve pressure on the median nerve which can decrease discomfort. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can address inflammation and pain levels and may be useful for controlling the problem. If, however, the condition has progressed to a more severe stage, stronger anti-inflammatory drugs, such as a cortisone injection, may be required.

Stretching the muscles surrounding the wrist can sometimes help to relieve carpal tunnel pain relatively quickly. A physical therapist may be able to provide a set of exercises to increase flexibility, but most of them can be performed at home. These exercises usually need to be repeated multiple times each day in order to have the desired effect. An example of a carpal tunnel stretch involves placing both arms out in front of you and pulling the wrists back towards your body. You should hold this position for about five seconds before making a fist and bending the wrist downward for an additional five seconds.

There are a number of alternative therapies that may provide carpal tunnel pain relief. Acupuncture, for example, is said to help reduce pain from this disorder, although there is no conclusive evidence that it does so. Treatment from a chiropractor is similar because it appears to be effective but is not conclusively proven to work. Yoga, on the other hand, has been shown to reduce pain associated with carpal tunnel.

Although there are many methods to relieve carpal tunnel pain, in some cases surgery is required. If symptoms last longer than six months despite physical therapy and other treatments, surgery is often recommended. The standard surgical procedure involves cutting tissue around the nerve in the wrist to lessen pressure and reduce pain. It is a relatively simple and common operation and can be performed under a local anesthetic. There are, however, always potential complications with any type of surgery.

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