Acupuncture utilized to successfully treat carpal tunnel syndrome

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Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in the carpal tunnel, the part of the body where the wrist connects with the hand, is pinched. This is usually caused by the reduction of the size of the carpal tunnel producing discomfort and pain.  The median nerve is located underneath the tendons running from the wrist to the hand.  Carpal tunnel syndrome is now a notorious work-related condition due to the rise of occupations that require repetitive hand functions causing strain to the hand and wrist.

Carpal tunnel syndrome has certain signs and symptoms that arise after you start on a new activity, usually a hobby or work that makes use of your fingers and wrist in a repetitive motion. Between sexes, women are more at risk in developing the condition, particularly if they are between the ages of 40 and 70 or if they are pregnant. Carpal tunnel pain can involve your arms or only one of your arms. It can also affect your palm, wrist and/or forearm.  There are carpal tunnel sufferers who may feel a sharp pain only when they perform a repetitive movement; others may feel a lingering tingling or numbness in one half of the ring finger or the middle finger, index finger and the thumb. The pain and other symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome get worse at night; they may even get worse to the point that the sufferer has to wake up in order to shake his/ her hands to alleviate the numbing sensation. People suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome may experience problems with fine motor skills like crocheting or writing, and may find themselves dropping things when they carry them on their problematic hand.

From the viewpoint of traditional Chinese medicine or TCM, the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome is a manifestation of wind (marked by the shooting or tingling nerve pain); damp (hand and forearm may feel achy and heavy; and cold (wherein a patient usually has more pain with cold). These three conditions are caused by an obstruction to the smooth flow of qi and blood in the arms.

Acupuncture treatment involves the insertion of ultrathin acupuncture needles to stimulate certain acupuncture points situated near the affected wrist. Some patients may feel a mild electrical sensation when the needles are inserted into their skin. This is a positive sign because it means that the treatment can help lessen the numbness and pain in the tendons. Other types of alternative and TCM treatment like laser, acupuncture, magnet therapy, moxibustion, electro-magnetic acupuncture and tradition al acupuncture needles can be utilized to successfully treat carpal tunnel syndrome.

Besides getting treatment from your acupuncturist, you need to stay away from activities that can aggravate your wrist condition like working at an assembly line, working at a computer or prolonged writing with a pen, or even working as a trapeze performer. You can also develop carpal tunnel syndrome if you sleep with your wrists under a pillow or your chin. Your acupuncturist may recommend a splint that you can wear at night to protect your wrists while you sleep.

 Key words:  Carpal tunnel syndrome

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