Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: PRP And Stem Cell Therapy

January 31, 2024
Wrist Pain
by Kolton Opdahl

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, the nagging discomfort of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is an unwelcomed presence. This common ailment, characterized by compression of the median nerve in the wrist, can disrupt daily routines, making simple tasks a challenge and impacting overall well-being. But what if there was a groundbreaking solution that could offer relief without the complexities of surgery?

Enter Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy and Stem Cell Injections – true game-changers in the world of regenerative medicine. Beyond merely alleviating symptoms, these innovative approaches present promising avenues for addressing the root causes of CTS. Join us on this exploration as we delve into the multifaceted benefits of PRP and Stem Cell Therapy, unlocking new possibilities for those seeking non-invasive approaches to reclaim comfort, mobility, and a better quality of life for their hands.

Black and white photo with hand holding painful red spot on wrist.

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) begins with unraveling its anatomy in simple terms. Imagine your wrist as a bustling corridor, and within it lies a narrow passageway called the carpal tunnel. This tunnel is home to the median nerve, like a vital messenger overseeing hand functions.

When this passageway becomes cramped, due to factors like repetitive hand movements or inflammation, it compresses the median nerve, leading to CTS. It’s akin to a crowded hallway causing discomfort. Recognizing this anatomy helps grasp why rest, exercises, and treatments like Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) or Stem Cell Therapy aim to alleviate the squeeze, restoring the fluidity of this wrist corridor and promoting relief from CTS symptoms.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms and Causes:

Symptoms of CTS

  • Numbness and Tingling: Individuals with CTS often experience numbness and tingling sensations, especially in the thumb, index, and middle fingers.
  • Hand Weakness: Weakness in the hand, making it challenging to grasp or hold onto objects, is a common symptom.
  • Pain or Discomfort: Persistent pain or discomfort in the wrist, hand, or forearm may indicate the presence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Nighttime Symptoms: Symptoms may worsen at night, disrupting sleep and causing discomfort during rest
  • Radiating Pain: The pain from the wrist may radiate up the arm, affecting the overall functionality of the hand.

Progression of Carpal Tunnel Symptoms:

The onset of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) symptoms is often gradual and may begin with occasional tingling or numbness in the thumb, index, and middle fingers. Individuals might notice a feeling of “pins and needles” or a mild electric shock sensation. As CTS progresses, symptoms may intensify, extending to the hand and even traveling up the arm. Discomfort tends to worsen during activities that involve repetitive hand movements, like typing or gripping. Some may experience weakness in the hand, making it challenging to hold objects. Nighttime symptoms, including pain and numbness, are common, disrupting sleep. Early recognition of these signs allows for proactive management and can prevent the condition from advancing.

Causes of CTS

It is primarily caused by overuse or repetitive stress on the forearm muscles and tendons that control wrist and finger movements. The specific causes include:

  • Repetitive Hand Movements: Overuse and strain on the median nerve occur in occupations involving constant typing or assembly work.
  • Specific Conditions: Inflammation in the carpal tunnel intensifies CTS symptoms, especially for individuals with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes.
  • Trauma or Wrist Injuries: Compression of the median nerve can result from injuries to the wrist or traumatic events, initiating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Pregnancy-Related Hormonal Changes: Hormonal shifts in pregnancy lead to fluid retention, exerting pressure on the carpal tunnel and contributing to CTS symptoms.
  • Work Ergonomics: Improper hand positioning during activities, stemming from poor workplace ergonomics, can contribute to the gradual development of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome over time.
  • Inflammatory Conditions: Beyond rheumatoid arthritis, other inflammatory conditions like hypothyroidism may elevate the risk of CTS. Inflammation within the carpal tunnel is heightened, potentially leading to the onset or exacerbation of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms.

Understanding and addressing these contributing factors are essential for effective prevention and treatment.

Wrist getting sore due to typing on a keyboard

How Do You Fix Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Go Away on Its Own?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) symptoms may improve on their own in some cases, especially if the condition is mild. However, complete healing without intervention is rare. Resting the affected hand, avoiding repetitive movements, and using wrist splints may alleviate symptoms temporarily. Persistent or worsening symptoms often require medical attention. While mild cases may respond to conservative measures, advanced CTS might necessitate more targeted treatments like physical therapy, medications, or, in severe instances, surgery. Early detection and proactive management increase the likelihood of successful symptom relief, emphasizing the importance of seeking professional advice for personalized care and preventing long-term complications.

Traditional Treatment Methods

  • Rest: Giving the affected hand a break and avoiding repetitive activities can help alleviate symptoms.
  • Physical Therapy: Exercises and stretches designed to improve wrist strength and flexibility may be prescribed.
  • Ergonomic Adjustments: Making changes to the workplace or home environment, such as using ergonomic keyboards and chairs, can reduce strain on the wrists and contribute to symptom management.
  • Medications: Pain relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs can provide temporary relief from discomfort associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
  • Wrist Splints: Wearing a splint at night helps keep the wrist in a neutral position, reducing pressure on the median nerve.
  • Corticosteroid Injections: In some cases, healthcare professionals may administer corticosteroid injections into the carpal tunnel to reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms.
  • Surgery: In more severe cases or when conservative measures fail, surgical procedures like carpal tunnel release may be recommended to relieve pressure on the median nerve.
Man holds an icepack to his wrist for pain relief from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

How Long Does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Take to Heal?

The duration for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) to heal is influenced by several factors, including the severity of symptoms and the chosen treatment approach. For individuals with mild symptoms, implementing conservative measures such as rest, modifying hand movements, and wearing splints may lead to improvement within a few weeks to a couple of months. In cases where these measures prove insufficient, healthcare professionals may recommend more targeted interventions like physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy, or Stem Cell Injections, extending the healing timeline. Surgical options, such as carpal tunnel release, may be considered for severe or persistent cases, with recovery typically spanning several weeks to months. It’s crucial to follow personalized treatment plans and engage in rehabilitation exercises for optimal healing, emphasizing the importance of early detection and intervention in achieving favorable outcomes.

Alternative Treatment Options

While traditional methods have proven effective for many, the evolving landscape of healthcare introduces these groundbreaking alternatives as options to consider before resorting to surgery. PRP therapy taps into the body’s inherent healing mechanisms by utilizing concentrated blood components, while Stem Cell Injections harness the regenerative potential of stem cells. As we transition from familiar approaches, let’s delve into the promising possibilities that PRP and Stem Cell Therapies bring to the forefront of non-surgical Carpal Tunnel Syndrome management.

What Is PRP?

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) is a natural healing approach that uses a concentrated form of your own blood to promote recovery. Here’s how it works: a small amount of your blood is drawn, and it’s then processed to extract a higher concentration of platelets—tiny cells that play a crucial role in healing. This PRP is then injected into the affected area, be it the wrist for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or elsewhere. The abundance of platelets stimulates tissue repair, reduces inflammation, and may ease symptoms. Essentially, PRP harnesses your body’s healing power to support recovery in a targeted and minimally invasive way.

Advantages of PRP Injections For Carpal Tunnel

  1. Faster Recovery Time: The regenerative properties of PRP can accelerate the overall recovery process, potentially shortening the duration of symptoms and enhancing the return to normal hand function.
  2. Reduced Recurrence: By addressing the root cause and promoting tissue regeneration, PRP helps reduce the risk of Golfer’s Elbow recurrence. This long-lasting impact distinguishes PRP Injections from conventional treatments that may only offer temporary relief.
  3. Minimized Side Effects: PRP is derived from the patient’s own blood, minimizing the risk of allergic reactions or adverse effects. This makes PRP Injections a safer alternative to treatments involving synthetic substances or corticosteroids.
  4. Natural: PRP is a natural substance, containing no synthetic additives. As it utilizes the patient’s own blood components, PRP is biocompatible, reducing the likelihood of rejection or complications associated with foreign substances.
  5. Targeted Treatment: PRP Injections are administered directly to the affected area. This localized delivery enhances the effectiveness of the treatment, directly addressing the damaged tendons and tissues responsible for Golfer’s Elbow symptoms.
  6. Improving Blood Flow: PRP therapy enhances blood circulation to the affected area, facilitating the delivery of oxygen and nutrients. Improved blood flow is vital for the nourishment of tissues in the carpal tunnel, promoting overall hand health.
  7. Minimizing Scar Tissue Formation: By promoting a more controlled and efficient healing process, PRP may help minimize the formation of scar tissue in the carpal tunnel. Reduced scarring contributes to better tissue flexibility and function.
  8. Non-Invasiveness: PRP therapy is a minimally invasive procedure, offering a less intrusive alternative compared to surgical interventions. This characteristic makes it an attractive option for those seeking relief without the complexities of surgery.

What is Stem Cell Therapy?

Stem cell therapy is a medical approach that utilizes the unique capabilities of stem cells to promote healing and regeneration in the body. The injections involve introducing powerful cells with remarkable regenerative abilities into a specific area of the body, aiming to support natural healing. Stem cells are like the body’s repair crew, capable of transforming into various cell types. The doctor will collect the cells, often from the patient’s own body, process them , and then inject them into the targeted region—such as the wrist for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Once there, these versatile cells can promote tissue repair and regeneration, potentially offering therapeutic benefits for various conditions by harnessing the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

Can Stem Cell Therapy Help CTS?

Stem cell therapy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) harnesses the regenerative abilities of stem cells to address underlying issues. Potential ways in which stem cell therapy may help with CTS include:

  • Tissue Repair: Stem cells can differentiate into various cell types, aiding in the repair of damaged tissues within the carpal tunnel.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Stem cells may have anti-inflammatory properties, reducing inflammation in the wrist associated with CTS and alleviating symptoms.
  • Nerve Regeneration: Stem cells support nerve regeneration, contributing to improvement of nerve function and reducing sensations of numbness and tingling.
  • Enhanced Healing: By introducing a concentrated source of regenerative cells, stem cell therapy may enhance the natural healing processes in the wrist, promoting overall recovery.


In conclusion, the journey through Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) can be a challenging one. Innovative treatments, such as Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy and Stem Cell Injections, can offer new solutions. Traditional and alternative treatments, coupled with their unique benefits, offer a spectrum of options for those seeking relief. Whether through rest, physical therapy, or cutting-edge regenerative therapies, empowering individuals to make informed choices is paramount. As medical techniques advance, the promise of finding solace for hands entwined with discomfort becomes an encouraging reality.

FAQ For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

What Happens if I Leave Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Untreated?

Untreated Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) can result in chronic pain, permanent nerve damage, and diminished hand function. The persistent symptoms, if ignored, lead to reduced quality of life, impacting daily activities and sleep patterns. Untreated CTS poses a risk of long-term complications, affecting one’s ability to work, perform routine tasks, and engage in recreational activities. Seeking prompt medical intervention is crucial to prevent these consequences and effectively manage Carpal Tunnel.

What Triggers Carpal Tunnel Flare Ups?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) flare-ups are often triggered by repetitive hand movements, forceful gripping, and prolonged hand activities. Additionally, temperature changes, hormonal fluctuations, and underlying medical conditions like arthritis or diabetes can exacerbate symptoms. Recognizing these helps individuals make lifestyle adjustments, practice preventive measures. Seeking timely interventions to manage and alleviate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can prevent flare-ups effectively.

Why is Carpal Tunnel Worse at Night?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) symptoms can worsen at night due to hand positioning during sleep. When wrists flex or extend during rest, it increases pressure on the median nerve within the carpal tunnel. This leads to heightened discomfort. Nighttime symptoms, including pain, numbness, and tingling, can disrupt sleep, contributing to fatigue.

Are Heating Pads Good for Carpal Tunnel?

Yes, a heating pad can be beneficial for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) pain. Applying heat helps relax muscles, improve blood flow, and reduce stiffness. It can alleviate discomfort, especially when used in conjunction with other treatments. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable combination of therapies for individual cases.

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Hong, Pan, et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Platelet-Rich Plasma in the Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Network Meta-Analysis of Different Injection Treatments.” Frontiers in Pharmacology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 10 Nov. 2022,