Injection Works for Carpal Tunnel Relief
A team of researchers recently set out to determine if surgeryis the best course of action for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).The researchers concentrated on the results of 163 wristsbelonging to 101 patients (n = 93 women, and n = 8 men) whowere referred by their primary care physician to a CTS unitspecifically established for the study. All the participants hadreported CTS symptoms, mostly at night, for at least 3 months.
Of the total wrists, 80 were randomly assigned to receive thedecompression of the median nerve, a standard surgical procedure.The remaining participants were given a local steroid injection.The participants in both groups were similar in age—themedian was 50 for the surgery group and 53 for the injectiongroup—as well as in the length and severity of the disease. Theresearchers examined all the wrists after 14 days following initialtreatment. Of the injection group, 69 of the wrists required a secondlocal injection.
Symptoms were assessed for both groups at 3, 6, and 12months. The researchers used visual analog scale scores tocheck improvement. At 3 months, the researchers found that94% of the wrists in the injection group reached significantimprovement for the nocturnal symptoms, compared with 75%of the wrists in the surgery group. At 6 months, 85.5% of thewrists in the injection group reached a 20% or better responsefor nighttime symptoms, compared with 76.3% in the surgerygroup. At 12 months, 69.9% of the wrists in the injection grouphad a 20% or better response for the nocturnal symptoms, comparedwith 70% in the surgery group. (The findings were reportedrecently in Arthritis & Rheumatism.)