Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is pressure on a nerve in your wrist. It causes tingling, numbness and pain in your hand and fingers. You can often treat it yourself, but it can take months to get better.

Check if you have carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)

The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • an ache or pain in your fingers, hand or arm

  • numb hands

  • tingling or pins and needles

  • a weak thumb or difficulty gripping

These symptoms often start slowly and come and go. They're usually worse at night.

How to treat carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) yourself

CTS sometimes gets better by itself in a few months, particularly if you have it because you're pregnant.

Wear a wrist splint

  • A wrist splint is something you wear on your hand to keep your wrist straight. It helps to relieve pressure on the nerve.

  • You wear it at night while you sleep. You'll have to wear a splint for at least 4 weeks before it starts to feel better.

  • You can buy wrist splints online or from pharmacies.

Stop or cut down on things that may be causing it

Stop or cut down on anything that causes you to frequently bend your wrist or grip hard, such as using vibrating tools for work or playing an instrument.

Painkillers

  • Painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen may help carpal tunnel pain short-term.

  • But there's little evidence to say they can treat the cause of CTS, so it's important not to rely on them.

Hand exercises

There's a small amount of evidence to suggest hand exercises help ease the symptoms of CTS.