As with most musculoskeletal conditions, treatment plans for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) advise non-surgical or conservative management initially, with surgery only in emergency situations or after non-surgical options are exhausted. Can we know who will benefit the most from non-surgical treatment?
A study conducted a two-stage analysis which included an initial evaluation followed by non-surgical treatment and a re-evaluation one year after non-surgical treatment concluded. The main aim of the study was to analyse factors contributing to the long-term effects of non-surgical treatment of CTS and to identify failure risk factors. Read more here.
The study involved patients diagnosed with CTS, of which an occupational cause was identified in (76%). Treatment included a total of ten sessions of whirlpool massage to the wrist and hand, ultrasound, and median nerve glide exercises performed at home. The subjects were divided into three age groups: <50, 51-59, ≥60 years old.
Whilst the majority of patients felt substantial progress in both stages of the study, some did not. Patients with more acute cases, as evidenced by poor results on a nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test, were less likely to respond to care, which highlights the importance of seeking early treatment for CTS as soon as symptoms develop.
Furthermore, participants who did not improve the setup of their working environments and reduce the overuse of their hands at work or who did not modify their routines to reduce the stress applied on the hands and wrist, reported much lower levels of improvements at the one-year point. Interestingly, age was not found to be a significant factor, which is surprising, as past studies have reported that being over 50 year of age is a risk factor.
Not only are Osteopaths trained in the same non-surgical treatment methods used in this study, but they can combine such approaches with nutritional counselling (to reduce inflammation) and manual therapies to improve function in the wrist and other sites along the course of the median nerve to achieve the best possible results for their patients.
You can book online at www.cramosteopaths.co.uk/