Seeking treatment for CTS can help prevent permanent nerve damage. So if you suspect CTS, make time to see your primary care doctor or clinician.
Initial treatment typically involves resting your wrist in a splint, primarily at night. Keeping the wrist still and supported in a neutral position helps the nerves and tendons to heal. During the day, limit or avoid doing actions that aggravate CTS. “Cold packs, stretching and certain over-the-counter medicines may also help your symptoms,” Torres says. Your primary care doctor or clinician may suggest physical therapy to help strengthen your hand and wrist. If these measures don’t help, you may benefit from corticosteroids or other types of medicine – injected directly into your wrist or taken by mouth.
When symptoms are severe or don’t respond to other treatments after at least six months, open carpal tunnel release surgery may offer relief. During this common outpatient procedure, local anesthesia is administered before a surgeon cuts the band of tissue around the wrist to reduce nerve pressure.
Another surgical option is endoscopic surgery, which allows for smaller incisions. It offers the possibility of faster recovery and less discomfort than traditional open surgery.
Regardless of the treatment or type of surgery, specifically the type of surgery, prompt evaluation and treatment are most important in achieving relief of carpal tunnel symptoms. Often, delay in treatment results in permanent residual pain, numbness and weakness.