Nutrition for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be effectively treated through regular exercise, consistent self-massage, and a healthy diet. Many times, these concerted efforts will eliminate the need for surgery.

Food items to minimize:

  • Salt intakes in diet because salt causes the retention of water that results in swelling in the wrist and the hands.
  • Fatty and oily foods must be avoided also as these foods will cause the tissues to swell in a similar way to that of salt.

What to Take:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Lots of vegetables rich in folic acid and iron such as kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and spinach.
  • Liver, peanuts, lima beans, kidney beans, citrus fruits, fortified breakfast cereals, lentils and rice.
  • Iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, Vitamins B7, B12, A, and D.

Self Acupressure Points to Relieve Pain from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

LU9 (Tai Yuan, Great Abyss)

Lung 9 is a crucial point for relieving pain associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. This point is located on the wrist crease, on a line with the thumb. Circling around this point with a substantial strength may provide a huge relief for any arm pain and wrist pain. This point is also effective in aiding in treating asthma, cough, palpitations and breathing problems.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

PC 7 (Da Ling, Great Mound)

Located in the center of the inner side of the wrist crease, this point is highly effective in relieving all types of wrist and thumb pain caused by tendonitis, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. This point is also excellent in lessening hot flashes associated with menopause.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

TH 5 (Waiguan, OuterPass)

Located on the outer side of the forearm, midway between the two bones, two and a half finger widths above the wrist joint, stimulating this point on both arms using fingertips is useful in relieving wrist pain. This point is especially effective in boosting immunity so that the body can fight better against colds and allergies.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

 

Tips to Avoid Carpal Tunnel

There are some holistic tips you can try to decrease your pain and increase your ease of movement. If you haven’t felt any symptoms yet, but want to prevent carpal tunnel from developing, try these pointers:

  • Move as much as you can at work. Avoid maintaining the exact same position for more than 45 minutes at a time.
  • Keep warm. Often, people who frequently have cold hands are more prone to developing carpal tunnel. Keep your circulation strong.
  • Try to use each hand evenly. Don’t let one overcompensate for the other.
  • Maintain correct posture at your desk. The longer you sit on one position in front of a computer, the more you’re likely to slouch. Slouching puts strain on the neck and shoulders, which in turn affect your wrists and hands.
  • If you’re working on a keyboard, try to keep your forearms level with the keyboard. Avoid bending your wrists for long periods of time.

Can Acupuncture Help Carpal Tunnel Patients?

A study appeared in “The Clinical Journal of Pain” in May, 2009, revealed the efficacy of using acupuncture and Chinese medicine. This study compared two groups of patients with mild to moderate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. One group received eight sessions of acupuncture treatments over the course of eight weeks. The other group received daily doses of a drug called prednisolone, a steroid used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Evaluations at the end of the second and fourth week revealed that both groups enjoyed a significant reduction in symptoms. However, the acupuncture group received an exceptional benefit that the steroid group did not. At the conclusion of the trial, the patients receiving acupuncture treatments showed a statistically significant drop in their nocturnal awakenings.

From an Oriental medicine perspective, CTS is seen as a disruption of the flow of Qi and Blood within the area and associated with Cold, Dampness or Wind penetrating the muscles and sinews of the wrist.  Acupuncture points, stretching exercises, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements are chosen to treat accordingly.

Acupuncture is extremely effective at treating carpal tunnel syndrome; eliminating the need for surgery or the use of anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids. In fact, one of the most common reasons that people get acupuncture is for repetitive stress injuries, including carpal tunnel syndrome. Not only reducing the swelling, inflammation and pain in the wrist, acupuncture addresses any headaches, neck pain, shoulder stiffness and sleeping problems that often accompany this condition.

Your treatment may also take into account any underlying conditions that contribute to the development of CTS including obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid problems, diabetes, hormonal changes of pregnancy and menopause.   

If you or someone you know suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome, please call our office at 201.760.8811 to find out more about how acupuncture, Chinese medicine and nutritional supplements can help.

What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel such as numbness, tingling, pain, burning, and weakness in the arms and hands often, but not always, result from inflammation due to frequent, repetitive physical movements.

There are a number of things that can cause or put you at risk for developing CTS. These include:

  • Genetic predisposition: Small bones or a small carpal canal increases the risk.
  • Hormonal changes: For women, hormonal fluctuations increase the chances of the syndrome; pregnancy and menopause can be particularly problematic.
  • Diseases: Conditions like arthritis, lupus, diabetes and obesity can lead to narrowing of the canal.
  • Repetitive motions: Excessively doing activities like typing, using hand tools, gardening, golfing, sewing and massaging can repeatedly strain the area, causing localized inflammation and trauma.

The onset of symptoms may start gradually and become worse over time, especially if the same motions are repeated on a near daily basis. Even though some repetitive motions such as typing on the computer or using the phone are not strenuous activities in and of themselves, if performed often enough, the cumulative effect builds up. If left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can lead to what is known as nocturnal awakenings, which refers to waking up in the middle of the night from pain and discomfort.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist made up of ligaments and bones. The median nerve and the tendons that connect the fingers to the muscles of the forearm pass through this tightly spaced tunnel.

Carpal tunnel syndrome, also known as median nerve entrapment, occurs when swelling or irritation of the nerve or tendons in the carpal tunnel results in pressure on the median nerve.  The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers, as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Symptoms usually start gradually, with frequent burning, tingling, or numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the thumb, index and middle fingers. The symptoms often first appear during the night.  As symptoms worsen, people might feel pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm during the day. Decreased grip strength may make it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other manual tasks.  If not properly treated, CTS can cause irreversible nerve damage and permanent deterioration of muscle tissue.