If you suffer from severe carpal tunnel syndrome, you may have considered getting surgery, but you may want to reconsider this option. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy, physical therapy might be just as effective as surgery for treating carpal tunnel syndrome.
For the study, 100 women diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome were randomly divided into two even groups.
The first group of women had surgery to treat their carpal tunnel, and the other group instead used physical therapy treatment. Those getting PT treatment had one 30-minute session each week where they underwent manual therapy of the neck and median nerve. Along with that, those using physical therapy were also given exercises to perform at home.
One month after starting the study, the women getting treatment had better hand function and improved grip strength compared to the women who had undergone surgery. The study did follow-ups at three, six, and twelve months. Improvements in grip strength, function, and decreased pain were similar for both groups at those points.
While the women did report similar recovery levels at the three-month and beyond follow-ups, PT could be a better option for some people, particularly when it comes to recovery time. In a look beyond just this study, for more than one-third of those getting surgery, they are unable to work for a while, sometimes up to eight weeks.
Of course, this is only one study, which involved only women, all of which were treated at the same hospital. Follow-up studies will be needed to make a more generalized conclusion about the effectiveness of physical therapy versus surgery for those with carpal tunnel syndrome. It does, though, give hope for another option for those who want to avoid surgery.
To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.
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