Pain Relief at Night


Hello! I've recently been diagnosed with CTS and I am having very bad pain at night such as waking up every hour with intense numbness and shooting, throbbing pain up my arm. The pain subsides some when i stand up and pace the room for several minutes but then I wake up again an hour later. I tried sleeping sitting up but the pain does not go away. This has been going on for the last 3 nights. I've been taking high doses of ibuprofen but to no avail. I've been wearing a splint brace at night and throughout the day for several days. Last night I finally took off the splint and secured a bag of ice around my wrist with a bandage and was able to sleep a few hours but still woke up with same throbbing pain and total numbness. Do you have any recommendations for dealing with pain at night? For instance, arm positioning or applying a heating pad to the wrist?

My General Practitioner just prescribed gabapentin for the night pain which I will try tonight. I can't get a cortisone shot until I see the specialist next week (GP won't do it). Looking for advice for dealing with the night pain now. Thank you for your help.


I'm afraid there is no easy fix for that - sorry. Ibuprofen and Gabapentin have both been tried in randomised controlled trials and found to be no better than placebo for pain from CTS. Splints are definitely worth a try but do not work for everyone. They sometimes need to be adjusted to shape to get the best response - take a look at the splinting pages of the website here. Your best bet for a quick fix is undoubtedly local steroid injection but ideally you should have some nerve conduction studies done first (if not already done) to get an idea of how bad the nerve damage is. If you have a short history, severe NCS abnormalities and a lot of pain there may be something to be said for early surgery, though you can still use steroid injection for fast symptom relief while on the surgery waiting list. JB


I was able to calm down the pain by extending my arm and stretching muscles that attach at the armpit. Also, brushing arm and forearm with a rough Tampico skin brush seems to have helped. Night pains went away after acupuncture treatment, but I still have swelling, tingling/pain and motion impairment in my hands.

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