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.

Nurture Your Cardiovascular Health

February is the American Heart Association’s Heart Health Awareness Month. The cardiovascular system consists of the heart and blood vessels, and is responsible for carrying nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and removing carbon dioxide and other waste from them.

susanna heart pic

Diseases affecting the cardiovascular system include arteriosclerosis, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, arrhythmia, heart failure, hypertension, orthostatic hypotension, and congenital heart disease..

Cardiovascular disease is the leading health threat, with heart disease and stroke topping the list of leading causes of death worldwide. One out of every two men and one out of every three women will develop heart disease sometime in their life.

By integrating acupuncture and Oriental medicine into your heart-healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 80 percent. Let’s take a look at how acupuncture can assist your cardiovascular health.

cardiovascular health

1. Manage High Blood Pressure
Acupuncture has been found to be particularly helpful in lowering blood pressure. By applying acupuncture needles at specific sites along the wrist, inside the forearm or in the leg, researchers at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, were able to stimulate the release of opioids, which decreases the heart’s activity and thus its need for oxygen. This, in turn, lowers blood pressure.

2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity is associated with diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease–all of which increase the risk of developing heart disease. Acupuncture and Oriental medicine is an excellent adjunctive tool when it comes to losing weight. They can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite and reduce anxiety.

3. Reduce Stress
In Chinese Medicine, the Heart is the King of all of our physiological, emotional, and spiritual health. Excessive stress can easily damage the heart so that people with a high degree of stress often suffer from high blood pressure, chest pains, or irregular heartbeats. Numerous studies have demonstrated the substantial benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of stress, anxiety and mental health.

cardiovascular health 2

4. Improve Sleep Quality
Poor sleep has been linked with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attacks, stroke, diabetes and obesity. Acupuncture has shown great success treating a wide array of sleep problems without any of the side effects of prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids. The acupuncture treatments for problems sleeping focus on the root disharmony within the body that is causing the insomnia. Therefore, those who use acupuncture for insomnia achieve not only better sleep, but also an overall improvement of physical and mental health.

5. If You Smoke, Quit
Most people associate cigarette smoking with breathing problems and lung cancer. But did you know that smoking is also a major cause of coronary artery disease? In fact, about 20 percent of all deaths from heart disease are directly related to cigarette smoking.

Acupuncture has shown to be an effective treatment for smoking. Acupuncture treatments for smoking cessation focus on jitters, cravings, irritability and restlessness–symptoms that people commonly complain about when they quit. It also aids in relaxation and detoxification.

cardiovascular and acupuncture