Several non-surgical treatment options available for carpal tunnel syndrome include wearing a wrist brace or splint, stretching, changing your lifestyle habits, and taking pain relievers. Carpal tunnel injections can be used when previous treatments have not reduced your wrist pain. These injections contain a powerful anti-inflammatory agent such as corticosteroids or cortisone.
If you exhibit signs of carpal tunnel syndrome, schedule an appointment with the Pain Experts of Arizona. Learn more about the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome here.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
The goal of these injections is to reduce the prevalence of your symptoms. The duration of the symptom relief can vary from a few weeks to a few months. Some patients find their symptoms to be resolved completely following their injections.
Your procedure takes place in the scanning room, where the ultrasound technician will have you place your hand on a table or bed in a comfortable position. Prior to the injections, the technician will perform an ultrasound to confirm carpal tunnel syndrome is present. After sanitizing your wrist, your doctor will inject corticosteroids or cortisone into the median nerve, which is the nerve affected by carpal tunnel syndrome. The steroids reduce the swelling in the connective tissue, thus reducing the pressure on the median nerve.
Prior to the injection, you should talk to your doctor about your medication as you may need to stop or reduce your medication. Because injections increase the risk of infection, your doctor may ask you to stop taking any immunosuppressive medication. If you’re taking blood thinners, you might need to reduce your dosage. Do not stop or restart your medication until your doctor instructs you to.
You should rest your hand and wrist for six hours and reduce its use over the next several days. You may experience some numbness in your hand due to the anesthetic, and you should not drive yourself home. You may experience an increase in your symptoms over the first few days following your procedure, as the corticosteroid does not typically take effect until at least a day after. It may take up to a week to feel relief.
This procedure is a very safe procedure, but there can be some complications.
An allergic reaction to the corticosteroid, local anesthetic, antiseptic liquid, and band-aids is possible but uncommon.
There is a small risk of infection from the injection, but the doctor will minimize this risk by performing the procedure under sterile conditions.
The needle can potentially pass through the nerve, which can cause severe pain.