Acupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Pain
Carpal tunnel pain is one of the most prominent occupational injuries among office workers and it is responsible for one of the largest amount of visits to acupuncture service providers. Over 8 million North Americans fall victim to carpal tunnel annually, and while most will resort to surgery, many are now relying on nontraditional methods like acupuncture.
The hands and fingers, specifically the thumbs, are among the most vital parts of the human body – allowing us to perform daily tasks without much difficulty. With repetitive stress injuries (RSIs) such as Carpal Tunnel, non-invasive procedures provide a safer and more affordable means of overcoming pain and discomfort. Recent research has even indicated that acupuncture is more effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) than corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory drugs.
There are hundreds of acupressure points on the human body, several of which are located on the hand. Acupuncturist professionals manipulate these points to reduce pain in the hands and wrists of their patients. The acupressure hand valley point located between the pointer finger and the thumb is the most popular point used for treating different ailments.
Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The carpal tunnel, also known as carpal canal, is the narrow passageway on the palm side of the wrist made up of bones and ligaments. Tendons and the median nerve, which are tasked with regulating the movement and responsiveness of the first three fingers and the thumb, are located along this tightly spaced passage.
Carpal tunnel syndrome or median nerve entrapment is the result of the pinching or compression of the nerve and tendons of the carpel tunnel due to pressure on the median nerve. Symptoms such as tingling, burning, numbness, and pain will gradually surface around the palm of the hand and fingers. As the symptoms get worse, weakness and numbness may extend to the arm making it difficult to even grasp a small dinner fork or grip a pencil to write. Early visits to an acupuncturist expert can help to prevent irreversible damage to muscle tissues.
How Acupuncture Treats Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Base on traditional acupuncture, carpal tunnel pain is due to a stagnation in the circulation of blood and Qi (energy force or life energy) in the muscles and tissues of the wrist. Acupuncture experts treat carpal tunnel by inserting needles in different acupressure points along the thumbs, hands, wrists, arms, and in some cases the neck and upper back, to restore the natural flow of Qi. Some acupuncturists will use a handheld laser instead of needles to treat carpal tunnel pain.
Regardless of the technique used, patients should experience improvement in the stiffness, inflammation, swelling, and pain in the wrists. The acupuncturist, chiropractors and other health professionals should consider all underlying causes for carpal tunnel syndrome such as obesity, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and pregnancy before administering treatment. The number of treatment sessions required may vary depending on the intensity of the symptoms and how often you use your wrist.