Self Help for CTS
Many patients wish to know what they can do themselves to prevent or treat CTS. Unfortunately the options are rather limited but it is possible to make a few suggestions.
1) Rest/activity modification - if you find that a particular activity reliably aggravates symptoms then it is probably worth trying to either do less of that activity or find an alternative way of doing it. Most patients with CTS find that a day of heavy use of the hands will be fairly reliably followed by a night when they spend much of it awake with tingling fingers and it is likely that one could alleviate the condition with a prescription for absolute rest - unfortunately stopping using one's hands altogether is neither practical nor desirable and for many patients it is impossible to pursue this option.
2) Lose weight - especially if you are under the age of 65 there is a strong association between the occurrence of CTS and being overweight and it is likely, though not so far convincingly proven, that weight loss helps.
4) .... with reservations.... try a yoga class - there is just enough evidence in the existing literature to suggest that this might be helpful and it seems very unlikely to make anyone worse. It really needs more studies doing and clarification of what positions/exercises are useful. If enough people report benefit on here as anecdotal evidence we might set up a trial.
5) Exercises and manipulations - see the section on alternative and unproven treatments. Many forms of exercise, manipulation and massage have been suggested for CTS. A comprehensive Cochrane review (Page MJ 2012) concluded that there was only limited and very low quality evidence of benefit for any of these treatments but a few of the simpler exercises are things which can be tried safely at home without spending money on a therapist and are unlikely to make the situation worse as long as one does not persist in doing them if they seem to aggravate symptoms. When we can source some suitable illustrations we will add them here.
Revision date - 12th November 2013