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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Health Center

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Topic Overview

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Mild symptoms usually can be treated with home care. You can:

  • Stop activities that cause numbness and pain. Rest your wrist longer between activities.
  • Ice your wrist for 10 to 15 minutes 1 or 2 times an hour.
  • Try taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
  • Wear a wrist splint at night. This takes pressure off your median nerve.

The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances of stopping symptoms and preventing long-term damage to the nerve.

You also may need medicine for carpal tunnel syndrome or for a health problem that made you likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome.

Surgery is an option. But it's usually used only when symptoms are so bad that you can't work or do other things even after several weeks to months of other treatment.

To keep carpal tunnel syndrome from coming back, take care of your basic health. Stay at a healthy weight. Don't smoke. Exercise to stay strong and flexible. If you have a long-term health problem, such as arthritis or diabetes, follow your doctor's advice for keeping your condition under control.

You can also try to take good care of your wrists and hands:

  • Try to keep your wrist in a neutral position.
  • Use your whole hand—not just your fingers—to hold objects.
  • When you type, keep your wrists straight, with your hands a little higher than your wrists. Relax your shoulders when your arms are at your sides.
  • If you can, switch hands often when you repeat movements.

Learning about carpal tunnel syndrome:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Ongoing concerns:

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 02, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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