Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How long does it take for carpal tunnel syndrome to go away?"
I am a 29 year old librarian and my doctor diagnosed me with carpal tunnel. Typing is essential to my livelihood. How long will I need to rest before it goes away completely?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which inflammation occurs in the area where a group of tendons and nerves pass through the wrist into the hand. The tunnel that passes through the wrist is called the carpal tunnel, and there isn't much room for anything else in there. The inflammation compresses the structures that pass through this area. The structure most effected by this is the median nerve which sends pain signals too and from part of the hand. The initial therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome is rest for the hand and sometimes a brace which keeps the wrist in the most optimal position. For some people, this is enough for the inflammation to subside and the hand to get better. For others, this rest and time does not reduce the compression on the median nerve. With patients like you that type a lot, it is tougher for carpal tunnel syndrome to heal because the inflammation does not go away as easily. If your symptoms go away with rest and don't return, then you're good to go. If they do return, then you may need a referral to a hand surgeon (orthopedic) to perform a carpal tunnel release surgery. This is where the surgeon cuts away the connective tissue that is compressing the tunnel and allows more room for all the structures in the wrist. Good luck.
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