Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome should begin as early as possible under a doctor’s close supervision. Initial treatment usually will involve resting the affected hand and wrist for a period of two weeks, immobilising the wrist in a splint to prevent further aggravation, and generally avoiding activities that may worsen your condition.
In some cases of inflammation, the application of cool packs can help to reduce swelling. Corticosteroids can also be injected directly into the wrist or taken by mouth to relieve pressure on the median nerve and provide immediate but temporary relief to patients with mild or infrequent symptoms. Surgery is also an option, albeit in more serious cases where symptoms persist for six months or more. Done under local anaesthesia, this involves severing the band of tissue around the wrist in order to alleviate the pressure on the median nerve.
While symptoms can be relieved almost immediately after surgery, full recovery from carpal tunnel surgery can take up to a few months. Patients may experience stiffness and slight pain at the surgery scar and in some cases, the wrist can lose its strength because the carpal ligament is cut during surgery. As such, patients are encouraged to undergo light physical therapy after surgery to fully restore wrist strength.
If you’re a working professional or if your job requires significant manual labour, carpal tunnel syndrome can negatively affect your performance in the workplace. Prevention is always much better than the cure, or surgery in this case, therefore it’s highly advisable to consult your doctor or physician quickly if you start to experience symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.