Results from a randomized clinical trial suggest that physical therapy and surgery are similarly effective for improving pain and function in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

In the study, Spanish researchers randomized 120 women with CTS into two groups—treatment with physical therapy and treatment with surgery—to compare the 1-year effectiveness of manual physical therapies, including desensitization maneuvers of the central nervous system, and surgery, explains a media release from the American Pain Society.

At 12 months, 92% of the study participants completed the follow-up.

According to the release, the researchers found that patients who had surgery and those treated with physical therapy showed similar outcomes for pain relief and function at 6 months and 12 months. However, patients assigned to physical therapy experienced significantly greater relief of symptoms and improvements in hand function at 1 and 3 months.

The study appears in a recent issue of The Journal of Pain, the peer-reviewed publication from the American Pain Society.

[Source(s): American Pain Society, Newswise]