Non-surgical treatment approaches for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) aim to remove pressure on the median nerve where it’s pinched. In a recent review of the literature published on “passive modalities” (non-surgical treatment approaches) for CTS, researchers reviewed studies published between 1990 and 2015 for information on which non-surgical treatment approaches work best. Topping the list is the use of various types of night splints – wrist braces worn at night to prevent bending of the wrist during sleep. The evidence found that night splints were less effective than surgery in the short-term (up to six months) but more effective over the long-term (at 12 and 18 months)!

They did not find studies with a “low risk of bias” (no randomized controlled trial-types of studies) regarding other passive modalities such as ultrasound and electrical stim and hence, they conclude that better

A 2010 study found mobilization treatments and exercises (tendon gliding & nerve gliding) were helpful WHEN patients complied with the treatments and the recommended exercises. Manual therapies, or “hands-on” treatments, are a feature of chiropractic care. Chiropractic treatment for patients with CTS also includes night bracing in addition to manipulation, mobilization, exercise training, nutrition, and ergonomic / workstation modifications, and whole body health awareness.

Doctors of chiropractic understand these non-surgical approaches have limitations. This is why they work with allied healthcare providers when pharmaceutical and/or surgical intervention is appropriate. They may also frequently consult with neurologists for tests such as EMG/NCV (an electrical test that measures the degree of nerve damage) to better understand the patient’s condition. In short, chiropractic offers a multi-modal approach of care, and chiropractors will work with others in the patient’s best interest.