by Glickman-Simon R

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a problem with the nerves of the hand. It happens when the median nerve gets squeezed inside a thin passage in the wrist called the carpal tunnel. This nerve gives feeling to the thumb, index, and middle fingers, and half the ring finger. This causes tingling, numbness, and pain in the hand. It can cause you to lose your grip and drop things.

It is treated with activity changes, wrist splint, and drugs. Surgery may be done if symptoms are severe. Some people look to natural treatments to help ease symptoms.

Natural Treatments

Possibly Effective

Possibly Effective / Possibly Not Effective

Unlikely to Be Effective

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution

Talk to your doctor about all herbs or pills you are taking. Some may get in the way of your treatment or other health problems you may have.



REFA1 Yang CP, Hsieh CL, et al. Acupuncture in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. Clin J Pain. 2009 May;25(4):327-333.

REFA2 Sim H, Shin BC, et al. Acupuncture for carpal tunnel syndrome: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Pain. 2011 Mar;12(3):307-314.

REFA3 Hadianfard M, Bazrafshan E, et al. Efficacies of acupuncture and anti-inflammatory treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2015 Oct;8(5):229-235.

Magnet therapy

REFB1 Weintraub MI, Cole SP. A randomized controlled trial of the effects of a combination of static and dynamic magnetic fields on carpal tunnel syndrome. Pain Med. 2008 Jul-Aug;9(5):493-504.

REFB2 Colbert AP, Markov MS, et al. Static magnetic field therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome: a feasibility study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2010 Jul;91(7):1098-1104.

REFB3 Carter R, Hall T, Aspy CB, et al. Effectiveness of magnet therapy for treatment of writs pain attributed to carpal tunnel syndrome. J Fam Pract. 2002;51:38-40

Massage therapy

REFC1 Moraska A, Chandler C, et al. Comparison of a targeted and general massage protocol on strength, function, and symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized pilot study. J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Apr;14(3):259-267.

REFC2 Elliott R, Burkett B. Massage therapy as an effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2013 Jul;17(3):332-338.


REFD1 O’Connor D, Marshall S, et al. Non-surgical treatment (other than steroid injection) for carpal tunnel syndrome. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2003;(1): CD003219.

REFD2 Piazzini DB, Aprile I, et al. A systematic review of conservative treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. Clin Rehabil. 2007 Apr;21(4):299-314.

Low Level Laser Therapy

REFE1 Rankin IA, Sargeant H, Rehman H, Gurusamy KS. Low-level laser therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 8. Art. No.: CD012765

REFE2 Bekhet AH, Ragab B, Abushouk AI, Elgebaly A, Ali OI. Efficacy of low-level laser therapy in carpal tunnel syndrome management: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lasers Med Sci. 2017 Aug;32(6):1439-1448.

REFE3 Burger M, Kriel R, Damon A, Abel A, Bansda A, Wakens M, Ernstzen D. The effectiveness of low-level laser therapy on pain, self-reported hand function, and grip strength compared to placebo or "sham" treatment for adults with carpal tunnel syndrome: A systematic review. Physiother Theory Pract. 2017 Mar;33(3):184-197.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Richard Glickman-Simon, MD
  • Review Date: 03/2019
  • Update Date: 03/02/2019