Date of Award
Occupational Therapy (M.S.)
Objective: The purpose of this study was to identify which conservative occupational therapy (OT) treatment(s) were most effective in reducing pain in patients diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
Design: A retrospective study of 222 de-identified treatment cases of patients seen from January 1st, 2004 to December 31st, 2013 were examined. Paired sample t-tests determined statistical significance between eight initial and final outcome measures. Binary logistic regressions determined statistical significance of clinically effective treatments that reduced pain at rest and pain with activity.
Setting: The 222 cases were from 31 outpatient rehabilitation clinics offering occupational therapy services.
Subjects: Participants were 18+ years of age and treated by an occupational therapist for conservative treatment of CTS.
Methods: Twenty-two treatments were analyzed for statistical significance using the VAS at rest and VAS with activity. For cases with a clinical significance in the VAS at rest and VAS with activity, frequencies were used to identify predominant treatments utilized.
Results: Massage was found to be statistically significant (p=0.027) in reducing pain at rest among those with a clinically significant reduction in pain at rest. Therapeutic exercises were found to be statistically significant (p=0.026) in reducing pain with activity among those with a clinically significant reduction in pain with activity. Therapeutic exercise, ultrasound, and manual therapy techniques were used in over 50% of treatments.
Conclusion: This study found therapeutic exercise and massage to be statistically significant treatments in the conservative treatment of CTS. Further investigation is warranted to determine specific methods of treatment labeled as therapeutic exercises and massage.
Johnson, Sarah E.; Carlson, Britta L.; and Meyers, Maureen G., "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Retrospective Analysis of Conservative Treatments" (2014). Hand and Upper Extremity. 6.