2020 Volume 29 Issue 1 Pages 11-17
Background and aims: Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most prevalent peripheral neuropathy and has a considerable burden on health services. We tried to compare the therapeutic effects of local corticosteroid injection, low-level laser, and corticosteroid phonophoresis in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Subjects and methods: We performed a randomized clinical trial with three parallel groups. The study was carried out at a University Hospital. In total, 42 participants including 31(73.8%) women were randomly allocated to the treatment groups with equal sizes. We assessed pain, symptom severity and functional status with Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire, and performed median nerve conduction velocity studies. Evaluations were done before the interventions and in the fourth week of study. For the group corticosteroid, under the guidance of sonography, methylprednisolone with lidocaine was injected into the carpal tunnel. For laser therapy, we administered 10 sessions, each lasting 10 seconds. We used topical hydrocortisone acetate gel 10% as the anti-inflammatory agent with phonophoresis, 3 times per week for 10 sessions.
Results: Within-group analyses with paired t-test showed that local corticosteroid, laser, and phonophoresis are all effective treatments. Between-group analyses with ANOVA indicated that there were significant differences among the groups after four weeks in terms of pain (p = 0.004), in favor of corticosteroid; and in sensory delay (p = 0.001), in favor of laser. For the Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire and median nerve motor latency, the results were not significant. There was no important side-effect after four weeks of follow-up.
Conclusion: The three treatments are comparable and beneficial for carpal tunnel syndrome.