Italian researchers studied 354 patients with carpal tunnel syndrome referred to surgeons. Over the course of about a year, more than 200 of the study patients were left untreated, only ``sporadically'' using anti-inflammatory medication for pain relief. By the end of the study, patients' reports and tests of nerve function in the wrist showed that 34 percent had seen their symptoms improve; 21 percent had worsened.
Findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
Younger patients have a better chance of improving without therapy, according to researchers.
Also, having carpal tunnel syndrome in only one hand boosted the odds of improvement, according to the study. Patients with two injured limbs were 70 percent less likely to see their symptoms ease.