Carpal Tunnel Recovery

carpal tunnel recovery

Initial Carpal Tunnel Recovery Time

Facing hand surgery for your carpal tunnel syndrome is a big deal. You’re probably wondering about many things concerning the operation. One thing I’m always asked about is how long carpal tunnel recovery time takes. It’s not an easy answer because of several factors. For example, hand surgery procedures vary a lot. Your general health, job, and commitment to therapy also factor into it. However, there are general stages that most people go through. Remember, not all of them may apply to you during your carpal tunnel recovery time.

  • Right before surgery

    Your doctor will give you instructions and a list of pain medications to take later. Fill the prescriptions before the operation. The instructions should also tell you how to prepare your home. For instance, you may need a plastic bag for your hand (to shower). You also may need pillows to rest your hand. You won’t be able to use your hand much. So lifting things after the surgery is not permitted. Doing so can rip the stitches. So arrange for help lifting (a child, your pet, etc.) as well. The little things you do in advance will go a long way later on. Next, you will not be able to drive home after the surgery. So make arrangements for a ride. You will also need a ride to your first appointment after the surgery. Thus, a reliable driver is needed.

  • Day of surgery

    Patients usually have carpal tunnel surgery as an outpatient. That means you don’t stay overnight. You will get either local (in the wrist) or general anesthesia. The actual operation will take about 30 minutes. Afterwards, the doctor bandages the hand in a straight (“neutral”) position. You will not be able to move your hand or fingers. After 1-2 hours the medical staff checks your vital signs and clears you to go home.

Carpal tunnel recovery time at home after surgery

This is when your carpal tunnel recovery time really begins. The pain will be greatest. Use the pain medicines as directed to help. Keeping the bandages dry and clean is very important. Use a plastic bag to cover the hand when showering. Sometimes the carpal tunnel doctor will ask you to come back the next day. The doctor will check the wound for infection or other problems. The doctor will also ask you to start moving your fingers gently. This helps prevent stiffness.

Carpal tunnel recovery time 2 weeks after surgery

The pain is less but the scar is still tender. There also might be swelling around the scar site. All of this is greater if you had open release surgery. In this stage you return to the doctor to remove the bandages and stitches. Patients with endoscopic surgery may be able to return to work. Also, you must wear a wrist splint all the time. Call the doctor if you see anything abnormal like oozing, infection, bleeding, or unusual pain. Any of these can add to your carpal tunnel recovery time.

Carpal tunnel recovery time 1 month after surgery

Few patients need pain medicine by now. If anything, Advil or Motrin can help dull any discomfort while you sleep. The scar is probably still tender and swollen. Gently massaging the scar with lotion helps a lot. The doctor will instruct you to wear the wrist splint only when you sleep. Moreover, you will start a program for hand therapy. These exercises strengthen your hand and improve dexterity. Eventually, (if all goes well) hand strength, coordination and range of motion will return.

Carpal tunnel recovery time 2-12 months after surgery

It’s hard to predict when you can return to work. Most patients usually go back to their job in 2-4 months. Your job requirements greatly impact your carpal tunnel recovery time. If the job requires a lot of rapid and forceful movements, you have to take it slow and gradual. OSHA statistics show that 21-23% of people who had carpal tunnel surgery had to switch jobs. That’s because it’s likely the job caused the carpal tunnel to start with. There will be more follow-up visits with the doctor. That’s to make sure no complications arise. It’s also to assess the progress of your recovery and hand function.


Carpal tunnel surgery recovery time is different for every patient. In the extreme scenario, studies show up to 12% of patients will need a second (revision) surgery.  Surveys report that half of the people who had surgery are unhappy within 2 years because symptoms return. Long-term surveys of carpal tunnel release surgery report up to 15% of patients have revision surgery in 5 years.

cure carpal tunnel at home

Two 15 minute Carpal Rx treatments for 30 days cures symptoms in 97% of carpal tunnel patients.

It was 15 years ago when my wife was waking up during the middle of the night. She was literally screaming from carpal tunnel pain. It would shoot up from her wrist to her shoulder. She still shudders when she thinks about it.

Being a physiologist, I’m skilled in a physical therapy technique called myofascial release. It’s a type of massage with an excellent track record for completely curing carpal tunnel symptoms.

So I’d massage her arm until the pain subsided and we could both go back to sleep. But her pain was so severe that she insisted on wanting surgery even though we’re both well aware of the risks.

I made a bargain with her that if I couldn’t cure her symptoms using massage within 30 days, that I’d go along with her decision to have surgery. Getting busy in the lab, I created an automatic mayofascial release massager. That was the first Carpal Rx prototype, inspired by love and motivated by a bet!

If you don’t want surgery yourself, give the Carpal Rx a try. It works on 97% of patients. If it doesn’t work – just send it back for a 100% refund.

I wish you great success with whatever treatment you undergo. Remember, we’re here for you — and it’s fine to call us just to pick our brains!