Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes pain, tingling, weakness, and numbness in the hand. It results when the median nerve in the wrist is compressed. Carpal tunnel syndrome is treated with non-surgical treatments, such as splinting or corticosteroid injections, or surgery, to release the pressure from the nerve. In a recent review, researchers found that surgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome was more effective than splinting for symptom relief.
The majority of people choose to have non-surgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. The Cochrane Collaboration found that people who had steroid injections or splinting frequently turned to surgery in the future. In contrast, people that had surgery rarely needed additional surgeries. It is not clear if surgery is a more effective treatment than steroid injections. More research is needed, as some practitioners argue for a “watch and wait” approach to carpal tunnel syndrome.