CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Revista Fisioterapia Invasiva / Journal of Invasive Techniques in Physical Therapy 2020; 03(01): 013-025
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1701432
Review Article
Thieme Revinter Publicações Ltda Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Acupuncture and electroacupuncture in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome: Systematic review

Article in several languages: English | español
Marc Badia
1   Unit of Histology and Neurobiology, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Reus, Spain
,
Manel M. Santafé
1   Unit of Histology and Neurobiology, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Reus, Spain
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

01 November 2019

22 November 2019

Publication Date:
26 May 2020 (online)

Abstract

Introduction Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the most diagnosed compression neuropathy of the upper limb. In mild and moderate cases, the treatment is extensive and controversial, whereas severe cases receive surgical intervention.

Objective To analyze the scientific evidence on the effectiveness of treatment of CTS using acupuncture and electroacupuncture.

Methods The PRISMA declaration was followed. A literature search was performed using the following databases: Clinical Evidence BMJ, NICE, Cochrane Library, PubMed, PEDro, Science Direct, SciELO, Google Scholar. The search strategy used the terms “acupuncture”, “electroacupuncture” “carpal tunnel syndrome”. The inclusion criteria limited studies to English publications. The risk of bias was assessed for each study using the Cochrane scale. The level of evidence and the level of recommendation was determined using the SIGN scale.

Results The search retrieved 698 articles in total. After applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 21 articles were included. The level of evidence of all the articles was medium-high. The level of recommendation was medium, and the risk of bias was neutral, with a tendency towards low bias. The articles included revealed symptomatic and neurophysiological improvements, both peripheral as well as central, due to the cerebral response that occurs associated with the function of the median nerve.

Conclusion Acupuncture and electroacupuncture are a therapeutic option for mild to moderate CTS with a medium level of scientific evidence, tending towards a high level, and with a medium level of recommendation.