Title of Abstract

The Effectiveness of Physical Therapy versus Surgery for Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Session Title

Sport, Mentorship, and Development

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Biology

Abstract

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common entrapment neuropathy of the upper extremity. CTS is caused by compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel of the wrist, resulting in pain and numbness in the parts of the hand innervated by the median nerve. Although multiple treatment options are available, this review examines the viability of physical therapy as a non-invasive alternative to surgery. Both open and endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgical methods are included for comparison analysis, as they are equally effective. Soft tissue mobilization and nerve gliding techniques are examined as physical therapy treatments. Preliminary research indicates that both surgery and physical therapy are successful long-term treatments, each demonstrating reduction in pain levels and improved function. Additionally, physical therapy may result in more effective short-term results. Further research directly comparing physical therapy and surgery is still needed. These studies may be expanded to explore how treatment options are impacted by hormonal changes that can influence CTS and differences in unilateral versus bilateral expressions of CTS.

Honors Thesis Committee

Courtney Guenther, Ph.D.; Blair Salvatore, Ph.D.; and Jessica Boulware, M.S.

Start Date

12-4-2019 12:45 PM

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Apr 12th, 12:45 PM

The Effectiveness of Physical Therapy versus Surgery for Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

DIGS 221

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most common entrapment neuropathy of the upper extremity. CTS is caused by compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel of the wrist, resulting in pain and numbness in the parts of the hand innervated by the median nerve. Although multiple treatment options are available, this review examines the viability of physical therapy as a non-invasive alternative to surgery. Both open and endoscopic carpal tunnel release surgical methods are included for comparison analysis, as they are equally effective. Soft tissue mobilization and nerve gliding techniques are examined as physical therapy treatments. Preliminary research indicates that both surgery and physical therapy are successful long-term treatments, each demonstrating reduction in pain levels and improved function. Additionally, physical therapy may result in more effective short-term results. Further research directly comparing physical therapy and surgery is still needed. These studies may be expanded to explore how treatment options are impacted by hormonal changes that can influence CTS and differences in unilateral versus bilateral expressions of CTS.