top of page

Acupuncture in Treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Acupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can make a big difference for people who are suffering from the condition’s painful symptoms.


How Can Acupuncture Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Acupuncture for carpal tunnel syndrome may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, but many people have reported considerable improvements in their symptoms after a series of acupuncture sessions.


Here are some of the advantages of Acupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.




A. Pain Relief and Reduction of Inflammation


One of the primary reasons individuals seek acupuncture for carpal tunnel syndrome is its ability to provide pain relief and alleviate inflammation:


Endorphin Release: Acupuncture involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points along the body's meridians. This stimulation triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. These endorphins can help reduce the pain associated with CTS.


Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Acupuncture has shown promise in reducing inflammation in various conditions. By improving blood flow and promoting the body's anti-inflammatory responses, it may address the root causes of wrist inflammation in CTS.


B. Improvement in Nerve Function and Circulation


Acupuncture can also target the underlying issues in carpal tunnel syndrome, particularly those related to nerve function and circulation:


Nerve Stimulation: By targeting specific acupuncture points associated with the wrist and hand, acupuncture may help stimulate nerve function. This could potentially relieve the compression on the median nerve within the carpal tunnel, alleviating symptoms.


Enhanced Circulation: Acupuncture promotes better blood circulation throughout the body. Improved blood flow can aid in reducing swelling, nourishing tissues, and supporting the body's natural healing processes.


C. Enhancing the Body's Natural Healing Mechanisms


Acupuncture is rooted in the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which view the body as a self-regulating system capable of healing itself. Here's how acupuncture enhances the body's natural healing mechanisms:


Qi Flow: In TCM, the concept of Qi, or vital energy, is crucial. Acupuncture aims to restore the balanced flow of Qi through the body's meridians. When energy flows smoothly, the body can heal and maintain optimal health.


Holistic Approach: Unlike some conventional treatments that target specific symptoms, acupuncture takes a holistic approach. It considers the interconnectedness of various bodily systems and aims to address the root causes of health issues.


Individualized Treatment: Acupuncture treatments are often tailored to the individual. Your acupuncturist will assess your unique condition and create a personalized treatment plan.




What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?


In today's fast-paced world, many of us spend a significant portion of our day using computers, smartphones, and other digital devices. While these tools have undoubtedly improved our lives, they can also take a toll on our health, particularly on our wrists and hands.


One common ailment that arises from repetitive hand and wrist movements is carpal tunnel syndrome.



Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects the wrist and hand. To understand it better, let's break it down:


Imagine your wrist as a tunnel, a narrow passageway made up of bones and ligaments. This tunnel houses a critical nerve called the median nerve, along with tendons that help control the movement of your fingers. Now, in an ideal situation, everything should work smoothly within this confined space.


However, due to various factors such as repetitive hand movements, wrist injuries, or certain health conditions, this tunnel can become cramped. When it does, the median nerve gets compressed or pinched, leading to a range of uncomfortable symptoms.




Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Numbness: Individuals with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome often experience numbness or a "pins and needles" sensation in the hand, particularly in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers.


Tingling: Persistent tingling or a sensation akin to an electric shock may occur in the affected hand or fingers.


Pain: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can cause pain, which may range from a dull ache to a sharp, shooting pain. The pain is often concentrated in the wrist, palm, and fingers.


Weakness: Weakness in the affected hand can make it challenging to perform tasks that require fine motor skills, such as gripping objects or buttoning clothing.


Thumb Weakness: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can specifically weaken the muscles of the thumb, leading to difficulty pinching or grasping objects.


Nighttime Symptoms: Many individuals with CTS experience worsened symptoms, such as numbness and pain, during the night, which may disrupt sleep.


Wrist Discomfort: A general feeling of discomfort or aching in the wrist area may be present, often extending into the forearm.


Hand Swelling:

Some individuals may notice swelling in the hand, which can exacerbate the symptoms.


Difficulty with Fine Movements: Activities that require precise movements, such as typing, writing, or buttoning a shirt, may become challenging due to decreased dexterity.


Symptoms Radiating: In some cases, CTS symptoms may radiate up the forearm or even into the upper arm and shoulder.


It's important to note that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms can vary from person to person, and not everyone with CTS will experience all of these symptoms. The severity of symptoms can also vary, with some individuals having mild discomfort while others may experience significant pain and functional limitations.


If you suspect you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and appropriate management. Early intervention can help alleviate symptoms and prevent the condition from progressing.



Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Several factors can contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome, including:


  1. Repetitive Hand Movements: Activities that involve repetitive hand and wrist motions, such as typing, using a computer mouse, or assembly line work, can increase the risk of CTS.


  1. Wrist Anatomy: The structure of your wrist can play a role. A smaller carpal tunnel or changes in the tendons can make the median nerve more vulnerable to compression.


  1. Health Conditions: Conditions like diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and pregnancy can increase the risk of developing CTS.


  1. Prolonged Pressure on the Median Nerve: Using your hand as a pillow when sleeping can exert prolonged pressure on the wrist, potentially compressing the median nerve, restricting blood flow, and contributing to or worsening Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).


  1. Trauma or Injury: Wrist injuries, fractures, or trauma to the hand and wrist can lead to swelling and inflammation, potentially compressing the median nerve.


  1. Hormonal Changes: Hormonal changes, such as those during pregnancy or menopause, can affect fluid retention and increase the likelihood of CTS.


  1. Genetics: There may be a genetic predisposition to CTS, as it can run in families.


  1. Occupational Factors: Jobs that require repetitive hand movements, exposure to vibrations, or the use of vibrating tools can be associated with an increased risk of CTS.


  1. Obesity: Excess body weight can increase pressure on the median nerve and worsen symptoms in individuals already predisposed to CTS.


  1. Gender: CTS is more common in women than in men, possibly due to differences in wrist anatomy and hormonal factors.


  1. Age: CTS is more prevalent in middle-aged and older adults, with the risk increasing with age.


  1. Inflammatory Conditions: Inflammatory conditions like gout can cause inflammation and swelling in the wrist, contributing to CTS symptoms.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Self Care Tips


Self-care can be a valuable part of managing mild to moderate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and can complement any medical treatments or interventions prescribed by a healthcare professional. Here are some self-care strategies you can consider:


Rest and Avoid Overuse: Take regular breaks if your job or activities involve repetitive hand and wrist movements.


Limit activities that aggravate your symptoms, such as heavy lifting or prolonged computer use.


Wrist Splints: Consider wearing a wrist splint, especially at night. This helps keep your wrist in a neutral position, reducing pressure on the median nerve and relieving symptoms.


Cold Packs: Applying cold packs to your wrist for short periods may help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.


Elevation: Elevating your hand and wrist whenever possible can help reduce swelling and alleviate discomfort.


Ergonomic Workspace: Ensure your workspace is ergonomically designed to reduce strain on your wrists and hands. Use an ergonomic keyboard, mouse, and chair, and maintain proper hand and wrist posture.


Stretching and Strengthening Exercises: Perform gentle hand and wrist exercises recommended by a physical therapist to maintain flexibility and strength in your wrist and hand muscles.


Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Consider following an anti-inflammatory diet that includes foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients may help reduce inflammation in your body.


Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess body weight can increase pressure on the median nerve. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise may help alleviate symptoms.


Over-the-Counter Pain Medications: Non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen or naproxen may temporarily reduce pain and inflammation. However, consult with a healthcare professional before using them regularly.


Avoid Activities that Aggravate Symptoms: Identify activities or hand positions that worsen your symptoms and try to minimize them.



Stress Reduction: High stress levels can exacerbate CTS symptoms. Engage in relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to reduce stress.


Hand and Wrist Posture: Pay attention to your hand and wrist posture during activities. Keep your wrist in a neutral position whenever possible to reduce pressure on the median nerve.




What is not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


Gout and Osteoarthritis are two conditions that are often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) when they affect the hand and wrist. Here's how these conditions can be mistaken for CTS:


Gout in the Hand and Wrist:


Similar Symptoms: Gout can cause acute and severe joint pain, swelling, redness, and warmth, which are symptoms that may initially resemble CTS symptoms. When gout affects the wrist or finger joints, it can lead to significant pain and swelling in the affected area.


Misdiagnosis: A healthcare provider who is not familiar with gout may mistake these symptoms for CTS, especially if they do not consider gout as a potential diagnosis. In some cases, gout may also lead to swelling and compression of the median nerve in the wrist, further complicating the diagnosis.


Osteoarthritis in the Hand and Wrist:


Similar Symptoms: Osteoarthritis can affect the joints of the hand and wrist, causing pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. These symptoms can overlap with those of CTS, particularly if the osteoarthritis affects the thumb base joint (known as basal joint arthritis).


Misdiagnosis: The misdiagnosis of osteoarthritis as CTS can occur when a healthcare provider primarily focuses on the wrist pain and does not consider the possibility of arthritis affecting the hand joints. Thumb basal joint arthritis, in particular, is known for causing pain and functional limitations that may mimic CTS symptoms.



To avoid misdiagnosis, it's essential for healthcare providers to conduct a thorough assessment when patients present with hand and wrist pain and other symptoms that could be related to CTS, gout, or osteoarthritis. This assessment may include:



Clinical Assessment: A physical examination of the hand and wrist to assess for swelling, tenderness, and range of motion.


Medical History: Gathering information about the patient's medical history, including any relevant risk factors, family history, and past episodes of similar symptoms.


Imaging: X-rays or other imaging studies may be used to visualize joint damage or inflammation, helping to differentiate between CTS, gout, and osteoarthritis.


Laboratory Tests: For gout, a blood test to measure serum uric acid levels and joint fluid analysis to check for urate crystals may be necessary.



Overall, accurate diagnosis is crucial for appropriate treatment and management of these conditions. If you suspect you have CTS or another hand and wrist condition, it's advisable to seek evaluation and guidance from a healthcare professional who specializes in musculoskeletal and hand-related issues.


In conclusion, the journey through the world of acupuncture as a treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) has unveiled a promising path towards relief and recovery. Considering integrative approaches, individuals can further enhance their journey toward relief.



Contact Information for Scheduling an Acupuncture Appointment


If you're interested in exploring acupuncture as a treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome or have questions about how it can benefit you, we encourage you to email us at info@regenholistictherapies.ca or call us at 6044741155.

We’ll provide personalized guidance and create a tailored treatment plan to suit your unique needs.


To schedule an acupuncture appointment and take the first step towards relieving your CTS symptoms, please contact 6044741155 and speak with one of our registered acupuncturists..


We are here to support your holistic healing journey and look forward to assisting you in achieving greater comfort, mobility, and well-being.


In your quest for improved hand and wrist health, remember that you are not alone. Many individuals have found relief and restored functionality through acupuncture, and you too can embark on a path towards a pain-free, more comfortable life.



Frequency

In the United States, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) has an incidence of 1 to 3 persons per 1000 per year, with a prevalence of 50 per 1000, with similar incidence and prevalence in most developed countries.

Race

It most commonly affects Whites. Whites are two to three times more prone to get affected than Blacks.

Age

The peak age of CTS occurrence is 40-60 years.

Gender

CTS is ten times more common in females as compared to males.[5]

Mortality/Morbidity

Carpal tunnel syndrome does not cause mortality, but it can lead to irreversible median nerve damage, with severe loss of hand function, if not treated.


Comments


bottom of page