Carpel Tunnel Syndrome refers to a collection of symptoms such as wrist pain, numb and tingling fingers, and weak hands. It happens when the median nerve gets compressed because of inflammation leading to constriction in the narrow passageway between the bones and ligaments on the underside of the wrist.
In my experience, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is often misdiagnosed. Not all wrist pain and finger numbness are caused by compression of the carpal tunnel some similar symptoms can be the result of muscle spasms in the forearm or nerve compression in the neck.
If you are suffering from pain and numbness in your hands and want to work out if it is due to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome try pressing your hands together as if you are praying. If this makes your symptoms worse then you may well be suffering from inflammation of the carpal tunnel.
At the Yinova Center, we treat a lot of CTS. Mostly we see patients who are using a keyboard all day and are suffering from inflammation due to repetitive movements but we also treat CTS in people who are pregnant and for whom water retention is causing the carpal tunnel to be constricted. Other underlying causes of CTS include diabetes, arthritis, hypothyroidism, and obesity.
Whatever the cause, acupuncture is a gentle and effective way of getting relief. In fact, this study from the Clinical Journal of Pain showed that acupuncture was as effective as corticosteroids in relieving the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
The acupuncture works by interrupting pain signals along the median nerve, reducing inflammation, and promoting your body’s own natural painkilling chemicals to be released. We usually find that patients need 3 – 6 treatments to be pain-free. You can read more about how acupuncture works here.
Here is the advice we give our Yinova patients about how to address CTS :
- Come on in and see us for 3 – 6 acupuncture treatments to help reduce pain and inflammation.
- Make sure you’re getting enough B vitamins. A study showed that people with lower levels of vitamin B6 showed more symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. I always think it’s best to get your vitamins from natural sources if you can. Good sources of B6 include poultry, salmon, sweet potatoes, bananas, avocados, chickpeas, and whole-grains. Another study looked at B12 deficiency and CTS and concluded that increasing your intake of B12 can be helpful. You can increase your B12 by eating more fish, beef, lamb, cheese, and eggs. Vegans are often deficient in this vitamin and I usually encourage them to supplement.
- Massage and Yoga can both help to relieve the local spasms and thus help with the pain.
- Bromelain which is an enzyme found in pineapple and known for its anti-inflammatory effects can also be helpful.
- Arnica is a homeopathic remedy that comes both in pill form and as a lotion. Some of our Yinova patients have found that it really helps relieve the pain of CTS