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Do I Have to Have Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

“For the last few months, I’ve been waking up at night with numbness and tingling in my hand. Lately, I’ve been waking up more often, 3-4 times a night, and I’m having a hard time falling back to sleep. When I drive, my hands fall asleep within a few minutes and I have to shake my hand and fingers to wake them up. This has gotten to the point where I have to do something but I really don’t want surgery. What are my non-surgical options?”

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition that occurs when the median nerve, a nerve that travels down from the neck into the arm and through the wrist, becomes pinched and inflamed. Common symptoms include numbness, tingling, dexterity problems, and weakness in grip and pinch strength. CTS can also interfere with sleep and make many daily activities, including work, difficult-to-impossible.

According to the American Academy of Neurology, there are many non-surgical approaches to the treatment of CTS that should be utilized before surgery is considered. In one study, 40% of neurologists polled recommended non-surgical care due to the potential side effects of surgery, some of which can be severe, resulting in lengthy post-surgical work loss. A partial list of non-surgical care options includes:

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