Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Treatment

The first step in treating carpal tunnel syndrome is to immobilize the wrist, that is, prevent it from moving. A splint around the wrist is used for this purpose. Some people get relief from CTS by wearing the splint at night. Others may also need to wear the splint during the day.

Certain drugs may be prescribed to reduce pain and swelling. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (pronounced i-byoo-PRO-fuhn), are commonly used for this purpose. In advanced cases of CTS, injections of steroids may be necessary. Steroids also reduce pain and swelling.

In the most serious cases of CTS, surgery may be necessary. The doctor cuts a ligament in the wrist, increasing the size of the carpal tunnel. This procedure results in decreased pressure on the median nerve and, therefore, less pain for the patient. This procedure is almost always done in a doctor's office. A local anesthetic is used to numb the hand and wrist. The patient usually recovers quickly.

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