Carpal tunnel affects hundreds of thousands of men and women each year. Most patients want to know if carpal tunnel can get better on its own or with conservative treatment.

Dr Galpern and the experienced team at Comprehensive Hand Surgery Center understand that many people want to avoid surgery as a first step. To answer the question, can carpal tunnel syndrome go away on its own, it helps to understand what causes the condition.

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome happen when the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel in your wrist. This nerve provides sensation and motor function to your three middle fingers and your thumb. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common hand conditions, which women get three times more often than men. Without proper care, it can progress and become worse.

Some of the symptoms include weakness when gripping objects, pain or numbness, a feeling of pins and needles in your fingers, and a swollen feeling in your fingers. With compression on the nerve, you can also get burning and tingling in the thumb, index, and middle fingers and pain and numbness that gets worse at night.

Pressure on the nerve can be caused by repetitive motion in the hand and wrist. This can happen from a hobby or sports activity or poor ergonomics at your desk while working on a computer. In some cases, you may have been born with a carpal tunnel that is smaller than average. This increases your risk of even minor swelling that can compress the median nerve. Other health conditions can increase your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, such as:

  • Pregnancy
  • Injury
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Arthritis
  • Inflammatory illnesses

When you understand the risk factors, you can reduce your potential for developing carpal tunnel by avoiding repetitive action. In some cases, developing symptoms is unavoidable. Consider the ergonomic position of your hand and wrist while working at a desk. Use a wrist pad to keep your hands and wrists parallel while typing, and avoid positions where your hands are elevated above your wrists.

Will Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Get Better on Its Own?

The short answer to can carpal tunnel syndrome go away on its own, is no. However, it can be resolved with non-surgical options and treatments. With rest and reduced pressure on the median nerve, inflammation may subside, and the tissue could return to normal.

However, when carpal tunnel syndrome is due to an anatomical issue or it has progressed to nerve damage, the chances for non-surgical treatment decrease. Additionally, you can reduce symptoms and be pain-free before the episode has fully healed. This can increase your risk of further damage when the area is not allowed to heal completely before you begin using it again. Diagnosis begins with a physical exam and often requires medical imaging and nerve testing.

Non-Surgical Options and Treatments

In addition to paying attention to the ergonomics in your work environment to reduce the strain on your hands, wrists, and elbows, there are other non-surgical options for treatment. These may help eliminate your need for surgery.

The first step is to address the underlying issue. In some instances, that may be your hand and wrist position; in other cases, it could be an underlying medical condition. These conditions can include gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or hypothyroidism.

Dr Galpern is a board-certified hand surgeon who can work closely with your primary care provider or specialist to reduce damage to your median nerve as you address these other health conditions.

Other actions you can consider are physical therapy, hand splinting, stretching, and behavioral modification. Each of these treatments can address specific aspects of the condition and help to relieve pressure on the nerve.

For example, therapists can prescribe stretching and strengthening exercises for the hands and arms that help reduce pain and swelling. After several weeks of icing, splinting, and other treatments, Dr Galpern may explore steroid injections before discussing a minimally invasive carpal tunnel release or other surgical procedure.

Wearing splints helps hold your wrist in a neutral position, which is also essential during sleep since overextending the wrist can happen without your knowledge. Also, consider dietary interventions that can help reduce inflammation in your body, such as reducing your sugar intake.

Call Today to Schedule a Consultation for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

It is important that you do not overlook the signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome since the problem will not resolve on its own. Typically, you will at least require non-invasive and non-surgical treatments to reduce inflammation and pressure on the median nerve.

Dr Galpern can answer your questions about the long-term outlook and whether your condition may require surgery to create more space for the nerve and reduce nerve damage. Call today to schedule a consultation and begin your treatment journey so you are once again pain-free.

Comprehensive Hand Surgery
Phone(804) 506-3050
2819 North Parham Road Richmond Suite 100, VA 23294 Get Directions