Lately, I have treated unusually high number people suffering from of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Although there’s no direct link between cold weather and carpal tunnel syndrome that I know of, excessive pressure on the shoulders and neck during cold winter days may exacerbate the conditions. Do you suffer from pain, numbness and tingling in your hands? Is that numbness and tingling on the palm side of your hand, extending into the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger? If this sounds like the symptoms you have, you may be suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Self-acupressure on 4 different acupuncture points can dramatically reduce the level of inflammation and pain. In addition, there are a few more excellent tips to help you in dealing with the nagging wrist/hand pain.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For Nausea and Vomiting (Pericardium 6/ Nei Guan)
Nei Guan (P6 or PC6) is commonly used to help relieve nausea, upset stomach, motion sickness, carpal tunnel syndrome, and headaches. Nei Guan (P6) is located three finger breadths below the wrist on the inner forearm in between the two tendons. To find and use this acupressure point, (1) locate the point by turning your hands over so the palm is facing up then (2) apply downward pressure between the two tendons, massaging and stimulating the area for 4-5 seconds.
The point is located at the medial aspect of the hand.
Three-finger space below the wrist.
For Pain Control (Large Intestine 4/He Gu)
He Gu (LI4) is commonly used for stress, facial pain, headaches, toothaches and neck pain. It is an extremely important point in pain reduction. He Gu (LI4) is located on the highest spot of the muscle when the thumb and index fingers are brought close together. To use acupressure on this point, (1) locate the point then (2) use a deep, firm pressure to massage and stimulate the area for 4-5 seconds.
The point is located at the highest point of the muscle when thumb and index fingers are held together.
Locate the point between the web of the first and second finger.
For Reducing Anxiety (Yintang)
- Place your thumb or middle finger between your eyebrows at the root of your nose (see figure). That is acupoint Extra 1.
- Apply gentle pressure to the acupoint for 10 minutes. Less time is fine if you don’t have 10 minutes to spare.
- For added relaxation, focus on your breathing and consider visualizing yourself in a peaceful place, such as in a garden, by a stream or on a cloud.