Acupuncture and Ergonomic interventions in the management of carpal tunnel syndrome among industrial workers- Case studies
Background: There are several studies on carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), but despite this, considerable uncertainties and controversies exists on prevention, appropriate strategies and outcome of various treatment methods. The efficacy of ergonomic job analysis and acupuncture in the prevention and treatment of mild to moderate CTS among industrial workers appears not to have been widely investigated.
Objectives: These case studies assessed the short-term effects of acupuncture treatment and application of ergonomic job analysis in the management of carpal tunnel syndrome among industrial workers.
Methods: Subjects for this study were three industrial workers with a diagnosis of CTS of more than 3 months duration. Ergonomic work analysis was carried out to analyze and prescribe corrective measures for musculoskeletal and postural load in the subjects’ area of works. In addition to ergonomic job intervention, subjects underwent acupuncture treatment twice weekly for 8 weeks. The clinical symptoms of CTS was assessed using global symptom score (GSS) at baseline and at 8 weeks (after the intervention). Thus the main outcome measures used were GSS scores and ergonomic job analysis worksheet.
Results: All the subjects in this study completed the 8 week intervention and were evaluated for pain, weakness, numbness and frequency of wakening up at night and Paresthesia. The 3 subjects showed improvement with recovery from symptoms at the end of treatment at 8 week. Two of the three participants reported more than 80% reductions in pain intensity while one of the three reported complete recovery (100%) from pain. Numbness and paraesthesia were reportedly reduced by not less than 50% at the end of 8 week treatment in all the subjects. One of the participants recorded 85% (highest) reduction in the overall GSS scores while another recorded 75% reduction (lowest) at the end of 8 week treatment. Two of the three participants also showed complete recovery from the weakness in hand grip strength due to CTS. Frequency of wakening up at night was reduced to zero in all the three participants.
Conclusions: Findings from this study indicated that the acupuncture and application of ergonomic job analysis improved the overall symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome among industrial workers suffering with CTS.
KEYWORDS: Acupuncture, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Ergonomics, Global Symptom Score, Physiotherapy
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