"Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Gadgets and Alternatives"


I've noticed many patients use gadgets to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. But is this a good choice or another fad? Sometimes our health advice comes from friends, family, and customers at the local health food store. I am sure you were given a persuasive story before buying. Late night TV infomercials are used too often for medical advice. If your carpal tunnel symptoms show up at night, you may have fallen prey to these sales pitches. There are lots of snake-oil salesmen to take advantage of this often debilitating and frustrating condition which affects millions every year.

Copper bracelets and magnets seem to be particularly in style today. But do these and similar gadgets even work?

There are a couple of studies looking at herbs and magnets. According to the research there is very little evidence that these devices do anything at all. There are no studies on copper-so I guess the jury is still out on that question. However, they don't pass the smell test in my opinion. These gadgets are probably safe, except for making your skin turn a little green from a copper bracelet.

What about yoga? Surprisingly, one clinical trial of 51 patients over eight weeks showed that doing yoga improved carpal tunnel symptoms better than using a wrist splint.

As far as chiropractic care, there is some evidence that mobilization movements can help ease symptoms. In the short term, chiropractic care is at least as effective at reducing pain when compared to taking powerful pain-killing drugs.

The first step is to make sure you are properly diagnosed. There are too many patients who get incorrect diagnoses or have resigned themselves to taking pills for indefinite periods of time.

One important consideration is whether your hand symptoms are from a neck injury. Injury to nerves in the neck and wrist can lead to what is known as double-crush syndrome. The wrist and the neck, needs to be examined to get a thorough diagnosis. There are also rare causes of carpal tunnel syndrome, such as diabetes, which has to be considered.