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 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.

Reduce the Impact of Arthritis

The Arthritis Foundation recommends the following to reduce the impact of arthritis:

Get Active – Regular physical activity helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. Tai Chi is a Chinese exercise that strengthens muscles, improves balance and flexibility, promotes relaxation, and has been shown to relieve chronic joint pain.

arthritis 1

Control Weight – Maintaining an appropriate weight or reducing weight to a recommended level reduces the risk of osteoarthritis. Losing just 10 pounds relieves 40 pounds of pressure on knees. For those living with symptoms, losing 15 pounds can cut knee pain in half.

Modify Job Tasks – Try to modify your movements, since repeated use of joints in jobs that require bending and lifting is associated with an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.

Speak with a health care professional about ways to reduce strain on your joints.

Foot and Ankle Pain and Acupuncture

Let’s Talk About Foot and Ankle Pain

Your foot is an extremely complex part of your body. A single foot is made up of 38 bones. Which makes both feet hosts to 76 bones!! This multitude of bones is connected by joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments, making just one foot even more complex than just the 38 bones! Your foot is subject to many debilitating stresses throughout any given day.

Foot pain and ankle pain account for almost 5 million doctor’s office visits every year. That’s a staggering amount of pain, which can become debilitating in that it will limit your range of normal motion, and seriously limit your quality of life.

foot and ankle pain

What Is Foot and Ankle Pain Caused By?

A wide variety of conditions can cause foot and ankle pain. The quest for fashion, and improper footwear, such as high heeled shoes, can cause much pain. Tight shoes or improperly fitting shoes are the usual culprits responsible for pressure, friction and stress.

Exercise and sports can cause very painful foot and ankle injuries, some of which are temporary, some of which stay with you and end up causing you chronic pain. Improper warm up techniques, improper footwear when exercising, or improper foot usage during sports or exercising are just a few of the most common examples.

Other causes of foot pain are less dependent on outside factors such as those noted above. The more inherent foot problems which involve foot joints, ligaments, nerves, tendons, toes and heels which can cause severe or chronic foot and ankle pain are:

  • Abnormal Pronation – your foot does not meet with the ground or leave the ground properly
  • Bunions – bone or tissue that protrudes from a foot joint
  • Corns – callous growths on top of your toes0
  • Hammertoes – middle joint of any given toe pops out
  • Heel spurs – abnormal growths attached to the heel bone
  • Neuromas – tissue buildup on the nerves of the long bones of the foot

foot and ankle pain 2

Who Is Most Affected By Foot and Ankle Pain?

Almost everyone is affected by foot and ankle pain at some point in their lifetime, be it simply stepping down wrong, leaning wrong, bad posture or by subjecting their feet to undue stress.

Foot and ankle pain affects two segments of the population mainly. Those whose feet are brand new such as babies and toddlers who are learning to walk, and individuals over the age of 50. Once you are over the age of 50, things start to wear down and feet are no exception.

So How Does Acupuncture Help Foot And Ankle Pain?

Acupuncture is a pain management treatment that has been around for thousands of years. Acupuncture treats the pain both locally and systemically, with acute and chronic pain responding well to the treatment, especially where conventional medicine did not provide an effective treatment.

Acupuncture as a foot and ankle pain treatment can stimulate blood flow to your feet, ankles and lower legs. Different acupuncturists use varying techniques when working to provide pain relief to your ankles, ball of your foot and your heels as well as when working to provide you with chronic foot and ankle pain relief.

foot and ankle pain 3

Always discuss your particular condition first with your acupuncturist before beginning any treatment. Not everyone responds the same to all treatments. Your acupuncturist will create a customized plan of foot and ankle pain relief with you before treatment is initiated.

Understanding Pain in Relation to Traditional Chinese Medicine

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pain and it’s relation to acupuncture is relatively simple and straightforward.

Pain is considered to be a stagnation or blockage of Qi, (energy). Qi runs in what is known as energy channels and meridians throughout your body. When an energy channel or meridian is blocked, Qi is then blocked, and pain will be experienced.

Acupuncture helps to break up the blockages and to establish or re-establish the smooth balanced flow of Qi.

Contact us today at Allendale Acupuncture and Nutrition Center for more information on how we can help you with your foot and ankle pain. Give us a call – 201.760.8811!