Best Carpal Tunnel Creams and Braces for Relief

Wrist being examined

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common and painful condition caused by compression of the median nerve in the passageway from your wrist to your hand. This compression can cause numbness, tingling, weakness and discomfort in the hand and fingers.

While severe cases may require surgical intervention, many people find relief from carpal tunnel symptoms through conservative treatments like oral anti-inflammatory medication, wrist splints or braces and topical pain-relieving creams and gels.

Benefits of a Carpal Tunnel Cream

Applying a good carpal tunnel cream can be an effective part of a non-invasive treatment plan. These topical products work in two primary ways:

  • Counter-irritants like menthol and camphor create a cooling or warming sensation that temporarily override pain signals from the affected nerve and surrounding areas.
  • Anti-inflammatory ingredients such as diclofenac, ketoprofen, and methyl salicylate can help reduce swelling around the compressed median nerve.

Finding the Best Cream for Carpal Tunnel

So, what makes a good carpal tunnel cream? With many effective carpal tunnel creams containing one or more of the above active ingredients, finding your ideal product may involve some trial and error. Pay close attention to how each product impacts your specific symptoms and avoid creams with ingredients that may irritate your skin. What might be a great cream for you might not provide the same relief for someone else.

Best Wrist Splint for Carpal Tunnel

While topical creams provide symptom relief, they don’t address the cause of the symptoms. Wrist splints or braces can reduce pressure on the median nerve by keeping the wrist in a neutral position and limiting mobility to avoid further compression during activity. A good splint or brace should have the following qualities:

  • A proper fit that immobilizes the wrist in an optimal neutral position.
  • Adjustability to control the compression level.
  • Made with breathable, lightweight materials for comfort.

Best Carpal Tunnel Brace for Sleeping

Nighttime bracing can be especially beneficial, as our wrists are prone to bending during sleep which exacerbates nerve compression. The ideal carpal tunnel brace for sleeping will keep the wrist in a neutral, straight position throughout the night.

For optimal results, apply your preferred carpal tunnel cream and allow it to fully absorb, then wear your brace, especially while sleeping. The brace limits nerve compression, preventing further damage, while the cream works on alleviating pain. Do note that when symptoms persist or worsen, more invasive options might be necessary. Long-term, daily use of a brace/splint can lead to muscle stiffness and weakness due to immobility.