Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: The Conventional Approach

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Filed Under: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Bone & Joint Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

Traditional therapies may relieve symptoms but don’t correct the problem

The standard medical treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome are immobilization using a wrist splint or brace, cortisone injections, and surgery. Unfortunately, none of these treatments have been found to be effective in the long term because they do not correct the underlying problems that lead to carpal tunnel syndrome in the first place.

Specific Risks Associated With Conventional Therapies

Braces. While I believe wearing a brace is a great way to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, the ones most doctors recommend don’t solve the problem over the long-term and, in some cases, may actually do more harm than good. For example, one of the most common wrist braces incorporates a spoon-shaped metal stay that rests in the palm of your hand and keeps the wrist extended. Other braces allow you to bend your wrist backwards toward your forearm, or worse, keep your wrist bent backward constantly.

Cortisone injections. Cortisone and its derivatives may give some temporary relief but are generally ineffective and can cause scar tissue to build up in the area, causing even more trouble. A study published in the Journal of Hand Surgery also found that the failure rate of cortisone injections is close to 73 percent after a one-year follow up. Other side effects of cortisone injections include weight gain and increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and cataracts.

Surgery. Typically, surgeons cut the ligament that bridges one side of the tunnel in an effort to release pressure on the median nerve. This procedure seems somewhat drastic because it leaves the wrist in a permanently weakened condition. It is well documented that any relief gained from surgery may be short-lived because it is common for all the symptoms to return within a few months. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, only 23 percent of patients electing surgery are able to return to work after undergoing the procedure.

Natural treatments of carpal tunnel syndrome are a much better option.

More Dr. Williams Advice on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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