Current options for nonsurgical management of carpal tunnel syndrome

Hans Carlson, Agatha Colbert, Jennifer Frydl, Elizabeth Arnall, Molly Elliott, Nels Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common of the entrapment neuropathies. Surgical decompression is commonly performed and has traditionally been considered the definitive treatment for CTS. Conservative treatment options include physical therapy, bracing, steroid injections and alternative medicine. While CTS is often progressive, patients may get better without formal treatment. The resolution of symptoms is not necessarily related to the severity of the clinical findings and self-limited activity is common. The current literature suggests that bracing and corticosteroid injections may be useful in the nonsurgical treatment of CTS, although the benefits may be short term. There is limited evidence regarding the efficacy of other treatments, such as therapy, exercise, yoga, acupuncture, lasers and magnets, and further studies are needed. Surgery is recommended for progressive functional deficits and significant pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-142
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Rheumatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Alternative therapy
  • Braces
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Conservative treatment
  • Corticosteroid injection
  • Exercise
  • Treatment outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology


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