Carpal tunnel syndrome is a problem affecting the median nerve of the arm. The nerve runs down the center of the forearm (on the palm side), and when it gets to the wrist it enters a small tunnel formed by the bones of the wrist (the carpals) and a tendonous connection near the base of the palm. If this tendon gets inflammed or chronically contracted then it pinches the nerve, and a person can feel numbness, tingling, or shooting pain in the wrist and into the pinky and ring fingers.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a problem that’s often applied to any wrist pain or numbness in the fingers, but it is actually quite specific to what is described above. It is most common in people who work at a desk a lot and type with a keyboard, but can happen in any situation where the wrist is compressed or subject to repeated stress. Conventional treatment is typically to wear a brace, make ergonomic changes, take pain medications if appropriate, and in more severe cases, surgery to cut the tendon sheath.
Before looking at surgery or regular pain medication use, consider acupuncture. The available research bears out acupuncture being useful for carpal tunnel syndrome, though they claim more data is still needed. In our clinical practice, we find that acupuncture’s ability to reduce inflammation and release tightened trigger points can take pressure off the median nerve and reduce pain. An increase in circulation & nerve conduction to the palm of the hand, also from treatment, will stop tingling, numbness, or pain radiating into the fingers.
However, using acupuncture to help with carpal tunnel syndrome is still about half the battle. Ergonomic changes and stretching will prevent inflammation and obstruction from recurring, and any acupuncturist that you work with should be discussing what changes you may need to make to ensure that the problem is fully dealt with.
If you have been looking for options in dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome, or haven’t been getting the help you’ve wanted from your existing provider, schedule your consultation today.