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What is the evidence for conservative (non-surgical) measures to treat carpal tunnel syndrome?


Patient Population:

Patients with a clinical diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome.

2 Cochrane reviews and 26 recent RCTs (25 from PubMed 1 from PEDro, none from EMBASE or CINAHL) met inclusion criteria.


Non-surgical interventions to treat carpal tunnel syndrome.


Control (no-treatment) or another non-surgical treatment.



Strong evidence: Oral steroids, Injectable steroids

Moderate evidence: Ultrasound, Nocturnal hand brace, Ergonomic keyboard, Dynamic magnetic field therapy, Cupping therapy.


Moderate evidence: Ultrasound, Oral methylprednisone 60mg (> 20 or 40mg)




Outcomes Assessed

  • Benefit
  • Harm
  • Inconclusive


Ultrasound (Short and Mid-term)


Methylprednisone 60mg (Strong)


Corticosteroid (Strong)


Ergonomic keyboard

Splinting (Night)

Magnetic field therapy

Relevant Clinical Info

Strong evidence = consistent, positive findings from multiple higher-quality RCTs

Moderate evidence = consistent, positive findings from multiple lower-quality RCTs or one higher-quality RCT.

Limited evidence = positive findings from one lower-quality RCT.


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