Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a painful ailment caused by too much pressure on your wrist’s median nerve. The nerve extends from your forearm to your palm via the carpal tunnel (a thin channel at the base of your hand that includes tendons, blood vessels, and ligaments).

Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include pain, numbness, and tingling in hand and fingers. It can also impede wrist and finger ranges of motion. Various non-surgical treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome are available to help ease its symptoms. So, without further ado, let’s discuss the factors leading to this syndrome.

Factors Leading to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome frequently results from various circumstances, including age, genetics, pregnancy, and traumas. Some people are more likely to get it due to their lifestyle; for example, those who type or play instruments daily are at a higher risk. 

Repeated motion can cause tendons in the carpal tunnel to bulge, putting pressure on the median nerve. Other conditions, such as arthritis and diabetes, are other contributors.

Over-the-counter drugs, splints, and wrist support a few ergonomic changes to the work environment or activities causing discomfort. Physical therapy and corticosteroid injections are commonly used as non-surgical treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome

Some lifestyle adjustments, such as frequent hand motions, having a balanced diet, and adequate sleep, may also help minimize the symptoms.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Wrist Splints

When individuals put pressure on their wrists, it can strain the median nerve. Wrist splints and braces can help relieve pressure on the median nerve by maintaining the wrist in a neutral posture while you sleep. 

Also, wearing a brace during the day may be beneficial, especially if you engage in activities that cause flare-ups. Repetitive actions or additional tension on your wrist might aggravate your discomfort. You can try wearing a brace at work if your workplace permits it to treat the pain.

Wrist splints and braces come in various materials, including stiff plastic, foam, cloth, and fabric. The assistance you seek is determined by the severity of your carpal tunnel syndrome and should be discussed with your doctor or physiotherapist.

  • Physical Therapy

An essential aspect of non-surgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome includes physical therapy. Physical exercises can help improve your hand, wrist, and forearm flexibility and strength. 

Your physical therapist may also recommend ultrasound treatment and massage to aid muscular relaxation. Your doctor or physical therapist may propose a regimen suited to your needs. Moreover, ergonomic adjustments such as correct workplace setup and posture help prevent further stress on the median nerve.

  • Occupational Therapy

This therapy is another effective treatment option for carpal tunnel syndrome. Stretching and strengthening exercises for the muscles and tendons in the hand, wrist, and forearm can reduce discomfort and support the wrist structure.

A physical therapist may also recommend equipment and strategies to improve hand function and mobility, such as splints or taping. Occupational therapy can help you manage pain and increase strength, flexibility, and agility. Early-stage CTS is treated with occupational therapy. 

Among these therapies are:

  • Splinting: A splint might help to relax the hand and minimize swelling. It can also minimize pain and suffering and the likelihood of subsequent problems.
  • Exercises for strengthening the fingers, wrist, hand, and forearm.
  • Massage that can help with pain and edema.

Passive range of motion exercises can promote flexibility and help reduce wrist and hand discomfort. Exercises that promote strength and function (gripping or squeezing a ball) can help lessen discomfort. 

Hand and wrist massages using specialised methods targeting areas of pain and tightness can reduce stress and improve circulation. This combination of exercise and massage is useful in treating carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a complementary treatment that can cure carpal tunnel syndrome, relieve pain, and improve circulation. Traditional Chinese acupuncture is frequently supplemented with physical therapy, dietary counselling, lifestyle changes, and Tai Chi for longer-term results. 

Electrical stimulation devices are also utilized to drive needles into deeper pains, which can produce stronger analgesic benefits. Acupuncture is usually considered safe when administered by a highly qualified practitioner. Nevertheless, you should explore the risks and benefits with your healthcare physician before adopting any treatment technique.

Adopting certain lifestyle changes can help you deal with carpal tunnel syndrome. Let’s discuss them below.

Lifestyle Changes for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Resting and Stretching

Ample rest and performing stretching exercises are certain non-surgical treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome you can follow. You can also avoid exercises that aggravate pain in the afflicted region, such as typing or holding objects for extended periods. Additionally, relaxation methods may also help reduce swelling and inflammation in the afflicted area, allowing faster recovery.

  • Ergonomics

When lowering carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, ergonomic modifications can majorly impact. Carrying heavy things, typing at a computer for long periods, or even gardening can generate strain and tension, putting additional strain on the wrists and hands. 

Ergonomically performing these activities can help minimize these problems. It includes sitting appropriately, utilizing wrist supports while lifting, and taking frequent pauses from tasks that strain your hands and wrists.

Pain Management for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs

NSAIDs, which lower swelling and wrist discomfort, are the preferred treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. For most people, an over-the-counter NSAID, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, is sufficient to treat the condition’s pain and discomfort.

In the short term, NSAIDs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, and others) may help reduce discomfort from carpal tunnel syndrome. Yet, there is no evidence that these medications help treat the underlying carpal tunnel syndrome causes.

  • Corticosteroids

Corticosteroid injections may be another excellent non-invasive treatment option for carpal tunnel syndrome discomfort. These injections are frequently advised treatments because they can relieve inflammation and pressure on the nerve in the afflicted location. 

When administered properly and sparingly, steroid injections are safe and have minimal negative effects. However, getting steroids injected into the same area many times might produce complications and is not normally advised. 

  • Topical Treatments

Carpal tunnel syndrome discomfort can be relieved using topical menthol solutions. Popular treatments such as Biofreeze or Aspercreme can be applied to the afflicted region during the day, lowering discomfort and making it easier to use at work than an ice or warm water bath. 

Menthol on the skin delivers a wonderful cooling feeling, which offers short pain relief. While it can be quite beneficial, it does not cure the underlying disease, so you should continue avoiding the abrupt use of your wrist.


Most patients can adequately manage CTS with non-surgical therapies. The non-surgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome like rest, wrist splints and supports, ergonomic adjustments to tasks that may worsen CTS, physical therapy to strengthen hand and wrist muscles, drugs to decrease inflammation and nerve pressure, steroid injections into the carpal tunnel, avoiding repetitive activities are all viable options. 

It is crucial to remember that seeking medical advice for treatment is equally important, as self-diagnosis and therapy may result in further difficulties. To properly manage CTS, a medical specialist can diagnose it accurately and propose a specific treatment approach.

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