March 10, 2017
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Manual therapy, surgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome had similar functional improvements

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Women treated for carpal tunnel syndrome with either manual therapy or surgery experienced similar effectiveness in improving self-reported function, symptom severity and pinch-tip grip force, according to results.

Researchers randomly assigned 100 women with carpal tunnel syndrome to either a manual therapy or surgery group. Researchers assessed self-rated hand function with the Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire for primary outcomes, while secondary outcomes included active cervical range of motion, pinch-tip grip force and the symptom severity subscale of the Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire. An assessor unaware of group assignment assessed patients at baseline and 1 month, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months after the last treatment, according to researchers.

César Fernández De Las Peñas,

Results showed a statistically significant increase in self-reported function and pinch-tip grip force at 1 month in the manual therapy group vs. the surgical group. However, researchers noted similar improvements in self-reported function and pinch grip force between the two groups at 3 months, 6 months and 12 months. According to results, improvements in symptom severity that were not significantly different at all follow-up periods were reported by the manual therapy and surgery groups. Both groups reported no significant changes in pinch-tip grip force on the less symptomatic side and in cervical range of motion, researchers found.

“Patients with carpal tunnel syndrome can benefit from physical therapy as the first therapeutic option for their symptoms,” César Fernández De Las Peñas, PT, PhD, DMSc, of the department of physical therapy, occupational therapy, rehabilitation and physical medicine at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Alcorcón, Spain, told Healio.com/Orthopedics. “A multimodal approach should be applied, not only targeting to the carpel tunnel, but also including the cervical spine and the upper extremity. It is also important that patients involve themselves during the treatment for doing the appropriate exercises. If physical therapy is not effective, other therapeutic options as surgery can be considered.” – by Casey Tingle

Disclosure: Fernández De Las Peñas reports no relevant financial disclosures.