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.

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.

The Three Most Important Points for Cancer Patients

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.

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The point is located at the medial aspect of the hand.

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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.

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The point is located at the highest point of the muscle when thumb and index fingers are held together.

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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.

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