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Chiropractic Research Review

Screening for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) affects over one million Americans each year and can lead to significant impairment and disability; in over 50% of the cases, workplace circumstances may be the cause or an aggravating factor.

This study compared portable nerve conduction devices with formal electrodiagnostic studies (EDS) to determine their relative effectiveness in workplace screening for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Thirty-two workers without CTS and employed in clerical, administrative, professional and technical positions were examined and tested for one week using both portable nerve conduction devices and standard electrodiagnostic methods.

Results suggest that while treating carpal tunnel syndrome at an early stage can be an important factor in limiting or reversing the onset of symptoms and avoiding long-term disability, screening devices are ineffective in identifying individuals with CTS or detecting changes over time that are not accompained by symptoms or signs.

Take Note: Standard electrodiagnostic studies may prove to be a more effective method of detecting nerve entrapment; care should be taken in using portable devices for pre-placement or surveillance tests of individual workers.

Pransky G, Long R, et al. Screening for carpal tunnel syndrome in the workplace. An analysis of portable nerve conduction devices. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 1997;39, pp727-33.

Chiropractic Research Review

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