Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ

Question:

I have just found out I have carpal tunnel syndrome in my left hand. I can't believe all the advice friends and family are giving me: try this, try that. What IS the best way to treat this problem?

Answer:

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common problem, especially in the work place. Numbness and tingling along with wrist and hand pain can be disabling. Many studies show a high cost for CTS as an industrial illness. There's lost time and lost productivity.

Treatment varies quite a bit in the United States and even in Europe. Most doctors start with conservative care. This can include splints, anti-inflammatory drugs, vitamins, and steroid injections.

A recent study among auto workers in Michigan showed nighttime use of splints is a good option. Workers got better even when there was nerve damage that didn't get better. The splint wearers had less discomfort in the wrist and hand AND in the forearm and elbow.

Talk with your doctor about this decision. Treatment is sometimes directed based on the underlying cause of the problem. Sometimes just changing the way you do things is all that's needed.

Robert A. Werner, MD, et al. Randomized Controlled Trial of Nocturnal Splinting for Active Workers with Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. January 2005. Vol. 86. No. 1. Pp. 1-7.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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