A Pilot Study Comparing Two Manual Therapy Interventions for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Jeanmarie Burke, Dale J. Buchberger, M. Terry Carey-Loghmani, Paul E. Dougherty, Douglas S. Greco and J. Donald Dishman

The purpose of this study was to determine the clinical efficacy of manual therapy interventions for relieving the signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) by comparing 2 forms of manual therapy techniques: Graston Instrument–assisted soft tissue mobilization (GISTM) and STM administered with the clinician hands.  Interventions were, on average, twice a week for 4 weeks and once a week for 2 additional weeks. Outcome measures included (1) sensory and motor nerve conduction evaluations of the median nerve; (2) subjective pain evaluations of the hand using visual analog scales and Katz hand diagrams; (3) self-reported ratings of symptom severity and functional status; and (4) clinical assessments of sensory and motor functions of the hand via physical examination procedures.  The authors concluded that although the clinical improvements were not different between the 2 manual therapy techniques, which were compared prospectively, the data substantiated the clinical efficacy of conservative treatment options for mild to moderate CTS.

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 30, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 50-61

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