Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel of the wrist. This tunnel or passageway allows tendons, blood vessels and nerves to pass from the forearm to the hand.
The median nerve can become compressed within the tunnel for various reasonssuch as a wrist fracture or dislocation, chronic shoulder pain shooting down toward the arms and hands, fluid retention, and other inflammatory conditions. Other things that may contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome are working with vibrating tools, prolonged or repetitive flexing of the wrist, and even typing on computer keyboard or using a computer mouse.
Excess inflammation around the carpal tunnel causes a build-up of pressure inside the tunnel, which in turn will cause a blockage of blood flow and nerve signalling from the forearm to the hand. Decreased blood flow results in the sensation of numbness, tingling, weakness and even swelling.
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.
Lately, I have started treating a number of new patients with breast cancer. Some have already gone through surgical procedures along with chemotherapy and radiation; some have opted to have surgery but decided to forego chemo/radiation therapies.
The good news is that timely diagnosis and early surgery offer a high possibility of a cure for solid breast tumors. However, the battle against breast cancer, just like all cancer cases, is long, arduous, and often painful.
Most patients with cancer ask questions such as: Can acupuncture help me? Will the pain and swelling go down? Can I ever regain my strength? Can acupuncture address side-effects of chemotherapies and radiation?
While the degree of beneficial results from acupuncture treatment is dependent on various clinical factors, the answer to the question “can acupuncture help me?” is, YES! It can definitely help in the care of the cancer patient.
Low back pain is an extremely common concern, affecting anywhere from 75 to 90 percent of people at some point in their lives. Low back pain is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost days at work and is one of the most common reasons to seek medical care. In fact, one of the top reasons that people get acupuncture treatments is for low back pain.
In spite of the large number of pathological conditions that can give rise to low back pain, up to 85 percent of the cases are classified by physicians as ‘non-specific’. When low back pain is examined from an Oriental medicine perspective, it is seen as a disruption to the flow of Qi within the area and associated with a specific disharmony and is treated accordingly.
The disruption of Qi that results in low back pain is usually associated with the following three disharmonies:
Weak Kidney Qi – In Oriental medicine, the lower back is referred to as the “dwelling of the kidneys”. The majority of chronic low back pain conditions are associated with kidney deficiency. Pain related to kidney deficiency is typically dull and erratic. It is usually aggravated by fatigue and improves with rest.
Stagnation of Qi and Blood – When the flow of Qi along the meridians that traverse the lumbar region becomes congested, it is referred to as the stagnation of Qi and blood. This presents with a severe stabbing pain that is worse with rest and better with movement, tender to touch, and can be accompanied by stiffness and tightness.
Invasion of Cold and Dampness – Cold, damp type pain is generally worse in the morning and when the weather is cold and damp. This type of pain improves with movement and the application of heat. Stiffness and contraction of back muscles that is aggravated by immobility indicates cold predominance. Swelling, numbness, and a heavy sensation are indicative of dampness.
Arthritis isn’t just one disease, but a complex disorder comprised of more than 100 distinct conditions that can affect people at any stage of life. Two of the most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While these two types of arthritis have very different causes, they often share a common symptom: persistent joint pain.
For many people, arthritis pain and inflammation cannot be avoided as the body ages. In fact, most people over the age of 50 show some signs of arthritis as joints naturally degenerate over time. Fortunately, arthritis can frequently be managed with acupuncture and nutrition programs.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting an estimated 21 million adults in the United States. Beginning with the breakdown of joint cartilage that results in pain and stiffness, osteoarthritis usually affects the joints of the fingers, knees, hips and spine. The wrists, elbows, shoulders and ankles are less frequently affected and when osteoarthritis is found in these joints, there is typically a history of injury or unusual stress to the joints. This may include and be attributed to work-related repetitive injury and physical trauma. For example, if you have a strenuous job that requires repetitive bending, kneeling or squatting, you may be at high risk for osteoarthritis of the knee.
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect many different joints and, in some people, other parts of the body as well, including the blood vessels, lungs and heart. With this kind of arthritis, inflammation of the joint lining (called the synovium) can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth and redness. The impacted joint may also lose its shape, resulting in loss of normal movement. Rheumatoid arthritis can last a long time and is a disease characterized by flares (active symptoms) and remissions (few to no symptoms).
Diagnosis and Treatment of Arthritis with Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
According to Oriental medical theory, arthritis arises when the cyclical flow of Qi (energy) in the meridians becomes blocked resulting in pain, soreness, numbness and stiffness. This blockage is called “bi syndrome” and is widely studied and successfully treated using a combination of treatment modalities. The acupuncture points and herbs that are used depend on whether the underlying cause of the blockage of Qi(arthritis) is caused by wind, cold, damp or damp-heat.
Acupuncture and Oriental medicine aim to treat the specific symptoms that are unique to each individual using a variety of techniques such as acupuncture, bodywork, lifestyle/dietary recommendations and energetic exercises to restore imbalances found in the body. Therefore, if 10 patients are treated with Oriental medicine for joint pain, each of these 10 patients will receive a unique, customized treatment with different acupuncture points, different herbs/supplements, and different lifestyle and diet recommendations.
Your acupuncturist will examine you, take a look at the onset of your condition and learn your signs and symptoms to determine your diagnosis and choose the appropriate acupuncture points and treatment plan.
Just like all other damages in the body, arthritis can be effectively addressed with good nutrition programs. Since everyone’s body is different, it is important to determine the deepest cause of arthritis. Applied kinesiology can accurately determine the most important issue of any arthritic conditions.
In my practice, I have witnessed that “heavy metal toxicity,” particularly “mercury toxins” shows up as the most prominent cause of arthritis. This is not surprising considering that metal toxicity can penetrate into cellular level, disrupt the body’s pH level, and wreak havoc on the body’s immune responses. Natural supplements derived from real food and /or homeopathic medicines can dramatically reduce mercury toxins.
A balanced, varied diet can help ease the pain of arthritis by providing vitamins and minerals that keep your joints healthy. Avoiding “damp” foods, such as dairy products and greasy or spicy foods.
Here are some healthy and delicious anti-inflammatory choices to include in your diet:
Ginger – Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory. A fresh ginger tea can be made by combining a half teaspoon of grated ginger with 8 ounces of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 to 15 minutes, then strain and add honey to taste.
Fresh Pineapple – Bromelain, an enzyme in pineapple, reduces inflammation. Be sure the pineapple is fresh, not canned or frozen.
Cherries – Recent research has shown that tart cherries are an excellent source of nutrients that may help to reduce joint pain and inflammation related to arthritis.
Fish – Cold-water fish, such as salmon and mackerel, contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help keep joints healthy as well as reduce pain and swelling.
Turmeric – A natural anti-inflammatory, it can be used in many food preparations including soups, sauces and salad dressings.
Call today to learn how acupuncture and nutrition program can be incorporated into your treatment plan for arthritis!