Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Contrast hydrotherapyâ€”alternating hot- and cold-water applicationsâ€”may offer relief from CTS symptoms. This approach decreases inflammation, offers pain relief, and enhances healing. Immerse your wrists fully in hot water for three minutes followed by one minute in cold water, and repeat three times. Do this two to three times daily.
According the National Institutes of Health, acupuncture may be useful in treating CTS. Studies suggest that acupuncture restores normal nerve function and can provide long-term relief of pain associated with CTS. Acupuncturists treat people with CTS based on an individualized assessment of the excesses and deficiencies of qi located in various meridians. In the case of CTS, acupuncturists will often target the liver, gallbladder, and kidney meridians.
CTS is commonly treated by chiropractors. The methods most chiropractors use to treat CTS include manipulation of the wrist, elbow, and upper spine, ultrasound therapy, and wrist supports. Two studies support the use of chiropractic treatment for CTS.
In the first study, 25 individuals diagnosed with CTS reported significant improvements in several measures of strength, range of motion, and pain after receiving chiropractic treatment. Most of these improvements were maintained for at least 6 months.
A second study compared the effects of chiropractic care with conservative medical care (wrist supports and ibuprofen) among 91 people with CTS. Both groups experienced significant improvement in nerve function, finger sensation, and comfort. The researchers concluded that chiropractic treatment and conservative medical care are equally effective for people with CTS.
Massage may help prevent or relieve symptoms, especially when rosemary and/or St. John's wort oil are used.
Most people's symptoms clear up within a few months with conventional treatment. If left untreated, CTS in advanced stages can become quite serious, involving a loss of sensation, muscle deterioration, and permanent loss of function.