Turkish Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2008 , Vol 54 , Num 3

Ultrasound Treatment in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: A Placebo Controlled Study

Ayşe Ekim 1 ,Ertuğrul Çolak 2
1 Eskişehir Osmangazi Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, Fiziksel Tıp ve Rehabilitasyon Anabilim Dalı, Eskişehir
2 Eskişehir Osmangazi Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi, Biyoistatistik Anabilim Dalı, Eskişehir

Objective: The aim of the our study was to evaluate the efficacy of continuous ultrasound therapy (US) in patients with idiopathic carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).

Materials and Methods: This study was carried out on 28 patients (28 hands) with unilateral CTS (dominant side) confirmed by electromyographic examination. Patients were randomly assigned to two treatment groups; active US treatment (Group 1) (15 hands) with intensities 1.5W/cm2, and placebo US (Group 2) (13 hands). All the treatments were applied once a day to the palmar carpal tunnel area for 5 minutes, 5 days a week, for 2 weeks. In addition, all of the patients used the neutral-positioned wrist splints just at night. Clinical assessments were performed at baseline and at the end of the treatment. Patients were evaluated with clinical variables such as visual analog scale (VAS), symptom severity scale (SSS), functional status scale (FSS), and grip-strength. Electrophysiologic examinations were performed at baseline and at the end of the treatment.

Results: Clinical and electromyographic variables were similar at baseline in both groups. In both groups, significant improvements were observed in VAS (p<0.001, p<0.05 respectively) and SSS measures (p<0.001, p<0.05 respectively) after treatment. However, at the end of the treatment, significant improvements were found in the FSS, grip-strength measures sign only in the active US group (p<0.01, p<0.01 respectively). VAS (p<0.001) and SSS measures (p<0.001) showedsignificant improvement in favor of the active US group after therapy, when compared to the other group. In both groups, there was no statistically significant improvement in electromyographic variables after treatment (p>0.05).

Conclusion: Our results indicated that US therapy was effective in pain and clinical variables in CTS. We therefore consider that US therapy could be used as a good conservative therapy method in patients with CTS. 

Keywords : Ultrasound, carpal tunnel syndrome