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Acupuncture for carpal tunnel syndrome – bin the studies and consult a surgeon!
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is caused by the tendons in the wrist getting too tight and thus putting pressure on the nerves that run beneath them. The symptoms can include: pain in fingers, hand or arm, numb hands, tingling or 'pins and needles', a weak thumb or difficulty gripping. These symptoms often start slowly and they can come and go but often get worse over time. They are usually worse at night and may keep patients from having a good night's sleep. The treatments advocated for CTS include painkillers, splints and just about every alternative therapy one can think of, particularly acupuncture. Acupuncture may be popular, but does it work? This new Cochrane review was aimed at assessing the evidence for acupuncture and similar treatments for CTS. It included 12 studies with 869 participants. Ten studies reported the primary outcome of overall clinical improvement at short‐term follow‐up (3 months or less) after randomisation. Most studies could not be combined in a