Use of Arnica to relieve pain after carpal-tunnel release surgery

Altern Ther Health Med. 2002 Mar-Apr;8(2):66-8.


Context: Arnica is commonly used by the public as a treatment for bruising and swelling.

Objective: To assess whether Arnica administration affects recovery from hand surgery.

Design: Double-blind, randomized comparison of Arnica administration versus placebo.

Setting: Specialist hand surgery unit at the Queen Victoria NHS Trust.

Participants: Thirty-seven patients undergoing bilateral endoscopic carpal-tunnel release between June 1998 and January 2000.

Intervention: Homeopathic Arnica tablets and herbal Arnica ointment compared to placebos.

Main outcome measures: Grip strength, wrist circumference, and perceived pain measured 1 and 2 weeks after surgery.

Results: No difference in grip strength or wrist circumference was found between the 2 groups. However, there was a significant reduction in pain experienced after 2 weeks in the Arnica-treated group (P<.03).

Conclusions: The role of homeopathic and herbal agents for recovery after surgery merits further investigation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arnica*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / surgery*
  • Complementary Therapies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ointments
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wrist / anatomy & histology
  • Wrist / physiology


  • Ointments
  • Plant Extracts