Efficacies of Acupuncture and Anti-inflammatory Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2015 Oct;8(5):229-35. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2014.11.005. Epub 2014 Nov 29.


This study compared the efficacies of acupuncture and anti-inflammatory treatment in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Fifty patients with mild to moderate CTS were randomly divided into two groups. Both groups received night wrist splints as the standard conservative treatment for 1 month. The acupuncture group also received eight sessions of acupuncture therapy (twice a week for 4 weeks). The control group received 400 mg of ibuprofen three times a day for 10 days. The visual analog scale (VAS) score, the score on the Boston Carpal Tunnel Questionnaire for Functional Status and Symptom Severity (BCTQ FUNCT and SYMPT), and the electrodiagnostic findings were evaluated at baseline and 1 month after treatment. At the final follow up, significant improvements were found in both groups (p < 0.05). Statistically significant improvements were observed in the VAS score, the score on the global BCTQ FUNCT and SYMPT, and the electrodiagnostic findings, but not in the distal motor latency (DML), in the acupuncture group (p < 0.05). Our findings indicate that acupuncture affected the score on the global BCTQ FUNCT and SYMPT, the VAS score, and the electrodiagnostic findings, except the DML, more than ibuprofen did and that acupuncture might be an effective treatment for CTS.

Keywords: acupuncture; anti-inflammatory treatment; carpal tunnel syndrome; ibuprofen.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ibuprofen / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Ibuprofen