Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
There are several treatments you can use for carpal tunnel syndrome. Whichever methods you choose, your goal should be to release the pressure from the median nerve and to reduce the amount of scar tissue in your wrist and carpal tunnel. By releasing the pressure on the median nerve, carpal tunnel symptoms such as:
- numbness, burning and tingling in the hand and fingers
- wrist and palm pain
- poor circulation
- loss of feeling
are alleviated. By reducing the amount of scar tissue in and around the carpal tunnel, you will minimize the chance of pain, loss of motion, atrophy, and loss of grip strength and hand control. By treating your carpal tunnel properly and with dedication, you can get your wrist back to normal.
Anti-inflammatory medications can be used to reduce inflammation of the median nerve and reduce CTS symptoms. However, often this method is usually only somewhat effective for mild cases of CTS and does not heal the damaged tissue. As a result, CTS patients who only use anti-inflammatory medications as treatment find their CTS returns again and again. It is important to heal the tissue in the wrist to avoid the symptoms from becoming worse and increasing the chance of surgery being required.
Although pain killers provide some relief they will only mask the symptoms of CTS and are a temporary solution. As well corticosteroids and diuretics that reduce swelling have been found to be temporary pain solutions and do not treat the syndrome at the source.
Read more about medications to treat your CTS.
Cold Compression Therapy- RICE
When treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, rest your wrist as much as possible and apply ice for 10-20 minutes at a time, at least 3 times a day when you experience CTS pain. If you have a cold compression wrap for the wrist, you will quickly find that frequent cold treatments for the wrist are much less troublesome, and you can do this while getting on with your day. Note that the importance of the cold compression therapy is very high, though when surveyed, most CTS sufferers never take advantage of this easy treatment step. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy may be used after acute swelling of the wrist has improved and rest prevents further progression of the injury. Ice will reduce initial inflammation and swelling and the Inferno Wrap™ circulates blood through the area to speed the healing process. This can be further helped by the use of ultrasound applications over the affected area, as it reduces swelling quickly and reduces scar tissue build up in your carpal tunnel.
Read more about cold compression therapy to treat your CTS.
Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy (BFST)
A Wrist Inferno Wrap™ is one of the most helpful tools to treat CTS. Through the absorption of the Energy Web's healing energy waves, tissues are safely and gently heated - increasing blood flow within the treated area. Your body's natural response to this increased temperature is to try to maintain a condition of homeostasis - a balanced environment or state of equilibrium throughout the body. To do this, your body responds with a rapid increase in blood flow to the area (known as vasodilation), increasing the supply of nutrients to injured cells and flushing out toxins (including lactic acid, commonly found in trigger points) to promote healing. Our Wrist Inferno Wrap™ provides effective, non-invasive, non-addictive pain relief with no side effects.
Read more about BFST to treat your CTS.
The long term use of therapeutic ultrasound is common with this injury, as the application of ultrasound will:
- Counteract atrophy in muscles and tendons
- Increase the elasticity of all tendons that pass through the carpal tunnel
- Soften inelastic scar tissue from injured tendons / muscle fiber to the point where it is eventually re-absorbed by the body
- Decrease inflammation of tendons, and the flexor retinaculum (a fibrous sheath passing through the carpal tunnel). All tendons in the carpal tunnel are sheathed, and once tendons become inflamed, the sheath swells and can also become inflamed, and at the worst, infected. If you suspect you have any type of infection in the area, please consult a physician immediately as this can be very damaging if left untreated. (Never use ultrasound over anything suspected of being infected.)
It is important to know that therapeutic ultrasound will alleviate CTS symptoms, but to truly treat CTS properly and prevent reoccurrence, an extended treatment term is required - 2 months is not unusual. Treatment length will vary depending on the severity, and there are some cases of CTS that are just too chronic, in which case there are very few treatment options other than invasive surgery. If this is the case for your CTS condition, please make sure you are fully informed about the risks and rewards of CTS corrective surgery.
Read more about ultrasound therapy to treat your CTS.
Making some changes in your lifestyle can help reduce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome and reduce the risk of it returning. Staying healthy and treating any conditions that might increase your risk of CTS, like diabetes and thyroid disease, can help. As well, if your work, hobbies or daily tasks are causing more strain on your hands and wrists try reducing your wrist movements or use the proper equipment to relieve the strain. If you are unable to reduce a stressful motion wear a splint during the activity to minimize bending in your wrist. Be sure to use tools appropriate in size and weight and with little vibration to prevent wrist strain and stretching or flexing your wrist, arms and shoulders regularly throughout the day can help maintain more flexible joints and increase the flow of blood to your wrists.
Read more about how lifestyle changes can help treat your CTS and reduce the risk of it returning.
In more severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, surgery may be required. Surgery on the transverse carpal ligament may be required to relieve the pressure on the median nerve and the carpal tunnel. This type of surgery is done without a stay in the hospital and usually only requires a local anesthetic . Unfortunately the results are not guaranteed; symptoms may continue for several months and/or return. As well, recovery time can be a few weeks or months and can disrupt your work, hobbies and daily activities.
Read more about surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome.