Do you experience tingling in
your hand and fingers? Pain that radiates from your
wrist to you shoulder? Maybe even difficulty
holding small objects? If so, you could be
suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), an
uncomfortable and sometimes disabling condition that
affects up to five million Americans.
The good news is that lifestyle
changes can relieve symptoms, and there are many
treatments available to help. Acupuncture and
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can effectively
treat CTS without side effects or harmful
The carpal tunnel is a narrow
passageway in the wrist that protects the median
nerve which innervates the hand as well that
protects the median nerve which innervates the hand
as well as tendons that control the fingers. This
nerve controls sensation and muscle movements in the
hand. If the carpal tunnel becomes narrowed from
swelling or injury, the nerve is compressed and
impinged. This can cause numbness, pain and severe
weakness in the hands.
These are several causes of
CTS, but the main culprit is repetitive flexion and
extension of the tendons in the hands and wrists,
especially when performed for long periods, leading
to Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI).
Symptoms usually start with
dull wrist pain that gradually worsens. Other
symptoms may include:
Loss of feeling in fingers
Numbness, tingling or burning
sensations in the fingers or hand
Pain extending from the wrist
up the arm to the shoulder or down into the palm or
Weakness in the hands and
difficulty holding objects
How can acupuncture help?
Typically, treatment for CTS is
based on how severe the symptoms are, and may
include immobilizing the wrist and hand, using
anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids to reduce
swelling, and surgery in severe cases. Acupuncture
and TCM can safely be used in conjunction with
Western treatments to relieve CTS symptoms.
Studies suggest that
acupuncture can both reduce swelling of soft tissue
and stimulate production of cortisol, a hormone that
reduces inflammation. Since CTS is caused by the
swelling of the soft tissue that leads to
inflammation of the carpal tunnel, acupuncture can
be effective in treating CTS. In addition to
improving you CTS, treatment may also improve other
symptoms often associated with this condition such
as headaches, neck pain, and shoulder stiffness.
More importantly, acupuncture and TCM can help
relieve the emotional stress of living with this
Your practitioner will create a
unique, personalized treatment plan designed to
address your body’s imbalances. During treatment,
fine, sterile needles will be inserted at specific
acupoints along the meridians in order to support
and strengthen your body and eliminate pain.
Your practitioner may also
recommend herbal remedies, vitamin supplements,
massage, and stretching as part of your treatment.
Acupuncture and TCM offer a
safe, pain-free, natural way to treat Carpal Tunnel
Syndrome. With proper care, you can recover from
CTS. As you continue with treatment, you may even
find that your overall health and well being improve
along with your symptoms.
a pain-free life.
Actively taking part in your treatment is
key. Consider these self-care techniques:
Take plenty of breaks during
the day, especially if you perform repetitive tasks.
Try yoga to increase you’re
flexible and strength.
Remember to gently stretch your
hands, arms, and shoulders throughout the day.
If you work at a computer,
consult an ergonomics specialist to ensure that your
workstation is set up properly.
Ask your practitioner about
supplements such as B2, B6, and Omega-3 fatty acids
for reducing numbness and inflammation.
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