Light at the End of the Carpal Tunnel
I first began helping Kentucky workers’ comp payors manage and control their medical costs in the mid 1980s. Back then, Louisville was ground zero for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) activity. We had internationally renowned hand surgeons who were practicing their craft with great skill. They literally trained generations of young hand surgeons in their innovative procedures and sent them packing across the globe.
From an employer’s perspective, carpal tunnel surgeries were expensive both from a straight medical expense as well as disability/indemnity dollars standpoint. When my company first started encouraging alternative and conservative treatment protocols rather than CTS surgery, blasphemy and heretic were two of the nicer names we were called. We had our share of success even though 30 years ago, the guidelines and science were in their seminal stage.
The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy recently published a study which concluded that physical therapy (PT) is as effective as surgery in treating CTS. After following 100 women with CTS in two blind groups of 50, for one year, the conclusions were as follows when it comes to PT vs. surgery:
- Better hand function at one month with PT;
- Same pain levels and grip strengths after one year;
- One-third of surgical patients did not return to work within 8 weeks of surgery.
My conclusion… If the outcomes are similar, why start with surgery?
If you do better, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Call us. We can do better.
Posted in OMCA