Carpal tunnel pain relief at night tends to be a commonly searched topic. This is because at night, people tend to sleep with their wrist in a flexed position which puts more pressure on the median neve and aggravates symptoms. In order to understand how to provide pain relief to something, it is helpful to understand what is happening.
What is Carpal tunnel?
The carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway, is made up of bones, ligaments and tendons. This tunnel houses the median nerve, a nerve that runs through the middle of the wrist and into the palm, thumb and all fingers except the little finger. The median nerve allows you to feel sensation in the palm side of the associated fingers and thumb. People experience carpal tunnel pain when there is pressure on the median nerve. A number of things can cause compression of the carpal tunnel, including; repetitive hand motions, wrist anatomy (having smaller wrists), pregnancy or health problems such as diabetes. Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can be; numbness in the hand and fingers, tingling sensations and or weakness in the hand or arm.
Do I have to have surgery?
No, you do not have to have surgery, however, if your symptoms do not improve with non-surgical treatment, it is recommended. Permanent nerve and muscle damage can occur if your symptoms persist and you avoid surgical treatment. One non-surgical treatment involves wearing a supportive wrist splint that help to keep your wrist in a neutral position, hence relieving pressure on the carpal tunnel. Another non-surgical option is to have steroid injections to help reduce swelling around the nerve. The surgical option is carpal tunnel release surgery. Your surgeon will perform this under local anaesthetic and it typically takes less than half an hour. He/she will make a small incision in the hand and the carpal ligament to relieve pressure on the median nerve. This is a common procedure and usually cures the problem.
Okay, but what can I do for carpal tunnel pain relief at night?
In addition to the non-surgical treatments mentioned above, you can try a number of things to help relieve pain at night.
1. Try icing the wrist for 10 minutes once or twice an hour to reduce swelling.
2. Some people have reported that gently shaking the hand and wrist can alleviate pain and discomfort.
3. When lying in bed, try hanging the hand over the edge of the bed so that the wrist can rest in a neutral position.
4. You can try soaking the hand and wrist in warm water whilst very gently flexing it to again try to reduce the swelling.
5. If pain persists, you can use a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen.
If the pain persists after two weeks, it is recommended that you see a doctor. Take a look at our Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Hashemi, who specialises in hand and wrist surgery and can help you to understand your treatment options.