August 12, 2021

How To Get Relief for Carpal Tunnel Pain at Home

7 tricks to try to ease the tingling pain

carpel tunnel brace on wrist while working on computer

Does the thumb side of your hand feel like it’s going to sleep — that weak, numb, pins-and-needles feeling — for no apparent reason? You may suspect that you have carpal tunnel syndrome.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

The good news is that there are several methods you can try at home to ease your pain. And if those don’t work, surgery can be a highly effective treatment.

For a run-down of the best home remedies for carpal tunnel syndrome, we spoke with orthopedic surgeon William Seitz, MD.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a fairly common condition that affects your hand and wrist, says Dr. Seitz.

Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when the median nerve, which runs from your forearm to your hand through a narrow space called the carpal tunnel, is compressed or pinched, Dr. Seitz says.

“Symptoms include numbness, tingling and pain, usually in your thumb and the first three fingers of your hand,” Dr. Seitz explains.

Nine tendons that flex the first three fingers and thumb also run through your carpal tunnel. Anything that makes the carpal tunnel smaller — and pinches the median nerve — can result in carpal tunnel syndrome, Dr. Seitz says.

Home remedies for carpal tunnel relief

While carpal tunnel syndrome can be uncomfortable or painful, you can treat it at home. The first step to take is to stop the activity that is causing the compression.

“Think about the activities that you think might be causing numbness and pain in your wrist and try to stop or reduce them,” Dr. Seitz says. “You can resume the activity when your symptoms improve.”


Here are five ways you can treat your carpal tunnel syndrome at home.

1. Ice it down

Ice your wrist or soak it in an ice bath for 10 minutes to 15 minutes once or twice an hour. The cold should help ease the pain, at least temporarily, in your wrist. It also keeps swelling of the affected tendons down.

2. Wrist splints

Buy a wrist splint to keep your hand properly aligned. It may help to wear the splint at night to keep you from flexing or overextending your wrist while you sleep.

3. Shake it off (gently)

Relieve nighttime pain by gently shaking your hand and wrist or hanging your hand over the side of the bed. This can relieve pressure on the median. Other exercises, especially when combined with a splint, can have a similar effect.

4. Pain relievers

Take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve pain. Take NSAIDs with food and after consulting your primary care physician to make sure there are no medical reasons — such as interaction with other medicines you may be taking — to avoid these pain relievers.

5. Warm water treatment

Immerse your hand in warm water — with a temperature between 92 degrees Fahrenheit and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degrees Celsius and 37 degrees Celsius) — and gently move or flex your hand and wrist. Do this three to four times a day.

6. Ergonomic changes

You can also try some changes to your work environment if you do a lot of sitting and typing at a desk, including:

  • Adjusting your chair height.
  • Changing the position of your keyboard.
  • Changing your hand and wrist positions.

These changes can help take pressure off your median nerve and tendons, providing at least temporary relief.


7. Cortisone shots

Injections of corticosteroids – a type of anti-inflammatory drug – can bring pain relief to those with carpal tunnel syndrome. Just as with other treatments, cortisone shots reduce inflammation of the tendons around the median nerve, easing pain.

When to consider surgery

If these home treatments don’t ease your pain in one or two weeks, it might be time to see an orthopedic physician, who specializes in the treatment of bones, joints and muscles. More intensive treatments might be suggested and your healthcare provider may also look for other conditions that can be affected by carpal tunnel syndrome.

A recent study on which Dr. Seitz worked found that patients with carpal tunnel syndrome who may also have amyloidosis, a protein disorder, could be at risk for congestive heart failure. In this case, a biopsy can be performed during carpal tunnel surgery to test for amyloidosis.

“Your healthcare provider may recommend surgery if there’s severe damage to your median nerve or to prevent permanent sensory or functional loss,” Dr. Seitz says.

Surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome involves cutting the ligament at the base of your palm that covers the carpal tunnel. This procedure increases the size of the carpel tunnel, taking pressure off both your median nerve and your tendons.

“Over time, surgery may be the best route to permanent relief,” Dr. Seitz says.

Related Articles

Person holding wrist at computer desk.
December 15, 2022
3 Stretches To Prevent or Relieve Carpal Tunnel

These movements can help with pain, numbness and tingling in your hands and fingers

woman putting on splint for carpel tunnel wrist pain
December 7, 2020
3 Steps to Fight Your Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Finding relief starts at getting a proper diagnosis

Hand resting on a desktop computer mouse mouse
August 4, 2019
Have a Carpal Boss?

Here’s what you need to know about the bony protrusion on your hand

Individual typing on a laptop.
June 30, 2019
Typing Troubles: How to Avoid Wrist Pain

Desk work doesn’t have to leave you hurting

Did Typing Cause My Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
April 24, 2018
Did Typing Cause My Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The Short Answer from an orthopaedic surgeon

Top view of person sitting in bathtub with cold water and lots of ice.
November 26, 2023
Brrr! What To Know About Cold Plunges

An ice bath can ease sore muscles and decrease inflammation after a workout

Person working on computer with hurting wrist.
November 23, 2023
11 Exercises and Stretches for Wrist Pain

Wrist flexor and extensor stretches are the best stretches for wrist pain

Person rubbing painful wrists and hands on lap.
November 16, 2023
16 Hand and Wrist Exercises To Help Ease Arthritis Pain

Simple exercises like tendon glides and finger lifts can have a big impact

Trending Topics

close up of keto gummies
Do Keto Gummies Work for Weight Loss? Are They Safe?

Research is inconclusive whether or not these supplements are helpful

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

Older person postioned sideways showing dowager hump.
Dowager’s Hump: What It Is and How To Get Rid of It

The hump at the base of your neck may be caused by osteoporosis or poor posture