In my practice over the years, the results of carpal tunnel release surgery have been reported to me by patients in a not so flattering range of statements from ‘sort of working, I suppose’ to ‘making things horribly worse’ - does this mirror your experience? This is why the findings from this study were fascinating to me - the first time a longer follow-up (4 years) has demonstrated exactly the same outcomes in those treated surgically versus those treated with (a minimal amount of) manual therapy!
Current treatment guidelines recommend different interventions for carpal tunnel syndrome such as orthoses, exercise and manual therapy, however, surgery continues to be the most common treatment approach.
Typically, conservative treatments such as splinting, laser, and steroid injections are provided locally. However, past research has demonstrated that treating carpal tunnel syndrome through desensitization maneuvers of the central nervous system can provide superior short-term outcomes and similar long-term outcomes for pain intensity and function when compared to surgery.
Most studies assessing carpal tunnel syndrome includes a 1-year follow-up period. The objective of this current study is to investigate the 4-year effect of manual therapy compared to carpal tunnel release surgery in a cohort of women with carpal tunnel syndrome, and to determine the surgical recurrence rate of post-treatment carpal tunnel release surgery…enjoy!
THIS WEEK'S RESEARCH REVIEW: “Manual Therapy vs. Surgery for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – 4-yr Follow-Up”
This paper was published in Physical Therapy (2020) and this Review is posted in Recent Reviews, Wrist-Hand and the 2021 Archive.
carpal tunnel syndrome