Notice: Users may be experiencing issues with displaying some pages on stanfordhealthcare.org. We are working closely with our technical teams to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience.
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome is based on how serious it is, whether there is any nerve damage, and whether other treatment has helped. If your symptoms are mild, home treatment for 1 to 2 weeks is likely to relieve your symptoms.
For mild symptoms, 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). These can help relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Wear a wrist splint. This takes pressure off your median nerve.
Treatment also may include:
Physical therapy or occupational therapy. This includes ultrasound, stretching, and range-of-motion exercises.
Other medicines to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. In some cases, oral corticosteroids or corticosteroid injections into the carpal tunnel may be an option.
Surgery. This may be an option when other treatment hasn't helped, if you've had carpal tunnel syndrome for a long time, or if there is nerve damage or the risk of nerve damage.
The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances of stopping symptoms and preventing long-term damage to the nerve.
Retraining (learning new ways of doing things) and practicing good ergonomics may also help. This means having your body in the correct posture and position and using equipment that is right for your strength and ability.
Some people try complementary medicine to help with symptoms. There is not strong evidence that these treatments help. Treatments may include:
Dietary supplements, such as vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). High doses of vitamin B6 can cause nerve problems (neuropathy).
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.