Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a problem with the nerves of the hand. It happens when the median nerve gets squeezed inside a thin passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. This nerve gives feeling to the thumb, index, and middle fingers, and half the ring finger. This causes tingling, numbness, and pain in the hand. It can cause you to lose your grip and drop things.
It is treated with activity changes, wrist splint, and drugs. Surgery may be done if symptoms are severe. Some people look to natural treatments to help ease symptoms.
Possibly Effective / Possibly Not Effective
Unlikely to Be Effective
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution
Talk to your doctor about all herbs or pills you are taking. Some may get in the way of your treatment or other health problems you may have.
A1. Yang CP, Hsieh CL, et al. Acupuncture in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Clin J Pain. 2009 May;25(4):327-333.
A2. Sim H, Shin BC, et al. Acupuncture for carpal tunnel syndrome: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Pain. 2011 Mar;12(3):307-314.
A3. Hadianfard M, Bazrafshan E, et al. Efficacies of acupuncture and anti-inflammatory treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2015 Oct;8(5):229-235.
B1. Weintraub MI, Cole SP. A randomized controlled trial of the effects of a combination of static and dynamic magnetic fields on carpal tunnel syndrome. Pain Med. 2008 Jul-Aug;9(5):493-504.
B2. Colbert AP, Markov MS, et al. Static magnetic field therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome: a feasibility study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2010 Jul;91(7):1098-1104.
B3. Carter R, Hall T, Aspy CB, et al. Effectiveness of magnet therapy for treatment of writs pain attributed to carpal tunnel syndrome. J Fam Pract. 2002;51:38-40
C1. Moraska A, Chandler C, et al. Comparison of a targeted and general massage protocol on strength, function, and symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Apr;14(3):259-267.
C2. Elliott R, Burkett B. Massage therapy as an effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2013 Jul;17(3):332-338.
D1. O’Connor D, Marshall S, et al. Non-surgical treatment (other than steroid injection) for carpal tunnel syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(1): CD003219.
D2. Piazzini DB, Aprile I, et al. A systematic review of conservative treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Clin Rehabil. 2007 Apr;21(4):299-314.
Low Level Laser Therapy
E1. Rankin IA, Sargeant H, Rehman H, Gurusamy KS. Low-level laser therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD012765
E2. Bekhet AH, Ragab B, Abushouk AI, Elgebaly A, Ali OI. Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in carpal tunnel syndrome management: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lasers Med Sci. 2017 Aug;32(6):1439-1448.
E3. Burger M, Kriel R, Damon A, Abel A, Bansda A, Wakens M, Ernstzen D. The effectiveness of low-level laser therapy on pain, self-reported hand function, and grip strength compared to placebo or "sham" treatment for adults with carpal tunnel syndrome: A systematic review. Physiother Theory Pract. 2017 Mar;33(3):184-197.
Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Richard Glickman-Simon, MD
Last Updated: 3/2/2019
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