Electroacupuncture may improve carpal tunnel symptoms

Patients treated with electroacupuncture plus splinting were more likely to show improvements.
Patients treated with electroacupuncture plus splinting were more likely to show improvements.

Electroacupuncture plus nocturnal splinting provides small benefits to patients with primary carpal tunnel syndrome, according to research published in CMAJ.

Vincent C.H. Chung, PhD, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial of 181 patients with carpal tunnel syndrome to assess the efficiency of combining electroacupuncture treatment with conventional treatment via splinting.

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Patients were randomly assigned to receive either electroacupuncture combined with splinting (n=90) or splinting alone (n=91); 174 patients completed follow-up. At 17 weeks, the electroacupuncture group showed greater improvements in disability, function, dexterity, and maximal tip pinch strength measures than patients who were treated by splinting alone. The differences between groups were small and clinically unimportant for reduction in pain.

“For patients with primary carpal tunnel syndrome, chronic mild to moderate symptoms and no indication for surgery, electroacupuncture produces small changes in symptoms, disability, function, dexterity, and pinch strength when added to nocturnal splinting,” Dr Chung concluded.

Reference

  1. Chung VCH, Ho RST, Liu S, et al. Electroacupuncture and splinting versus splinting alone to treat carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized controlled trial. CMAJ. 2016; doi: 10.1503/cmaj.151003
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