Background and Aims Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common mononeuritis, placing a significant strain on both patients and public health. Acupuncture is one of the conservative treatments used for this syndrome. The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of electroacupuncture in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome through clinical, electrophysiological and ultrasonographic assessments.
Methods Seventeen wrists of twelve patients who were diagnosed with mild or moderate carpal tunnel syndrome were included. Eight acupuncture sessions were performed twice a week. The outcome measures evaluated at baseline and three to seven days after the last treatment were: The visual analogue scale (VAS) score, the Symptom Severity Scale (SSS) and Functional Status Scale (FSS), sensory and motor conduction studies of the median nerve and the cross-section area of the nerve (CSA) at the inlet of the carpal tunnel with ultrasound.
Results There was a decrease in pain intensity on the VAS scale with median difference -2.45 (p=0.000), a decrease in the severity of symptoms by -0.60 on the SSS scale (p=0.001) and an improvement of the function of the affected limb by -0.25 on the FSS scale (p=0.02). In addition, there was a reduction in the CSA at the inlet of the carpal tunnel by -2.00 mm² (p=0.003). Side effects were observed in 8% of all electroacupuncture sessions and were of local and self-limiting nature.
Conclusions Electroacupuncture is a safe treatment which improves the symptoms and function of the affected limb in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome and induces morphological changes in the median nerve.
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