Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS, is the most common diagnosis for wrist and hand pain in America. Carpal tunnel is also responsible for the highest number of days off due to work related injury. This is why almost half a million Americans get carpal tunnel surgery each year. This makes it the most frequent surgery of the wrist. Unfortunately, even after surgery the pain and numbness of carpal tunnel often returns.
The good news is that acupuncture is extremely effective at treating carpal tunnel syndrome and other types of wrist and hand pain. It provides a real alternative to surgery, oral or injected corticosteroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Most patients who get acupuncture treatment for their carpal tunnel pain experience immediate pain relief, and with a series of visits they can often avoid surgery. Acupuncture therapy for CTS has a very high success rate, and may be covered by your health insurance.
How Can I Get Rid of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
One of the most effective methods of treating carpal tunnel syndrome is acupuncture. This is because it has the lowest incidence of serious side effects of any known treatment. Several studies like this one as well as one done by Harvard researchers have demonstrated the effectiveness of treating carpal tunnel with acupuncture. Our Orlando clinic has treated hundreds of patients with carpal tunnel syndrome, and has been successful in significantly reducing or eliminating the symptoms in about 90% of cases.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist made up of ligaments and bones. The median nerve has to pass through this tightly spaced tunnel along with the tendons that connect the muscles of the forearm to the fingers. The median nerve is the main nerve for the wrist, hand, and fingers, and is the most common nerve effected in CTS.
CTS, is also known as median nerve entrapment because it 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.
What causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
True carpal tunnel is caused by a compression of the median nerve due to a structural problem, meaning that something is pushing on the nerve. This can be due to arthritis, a trauma or injury to the wrist, or a congenital malformation of the area. Most commonly the symptoms of carpal tunnel are due to repetitive strain, or overuse, of the neck and shoulders, or of the wrist and hand area. The frequent use of the arm, wrist and hand without stretching irritates the local area causing inflammation.
What are the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Symptoms usually start gradually and include one or all of the following: burning, tingling, pain, and numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers. The pain most often affects the thumb, index and middle fingers. The symptoms often first appear at night, during sleep. As the condition worsens the area and intensity of the symptoms may increase. So what began as a mild tingling in the thumb may become pain and numbness in the thumb, wrist, and forearm. Decreased grip strength may also occur making it difficult to form a fist, grasp small objects, or perform other daily tasks. If not properly treated, true CTS can cause irreversible nerve damage and permanent deterioration of muscle tissue.
How Does Acupuncture Treat Carpal Tunnel Problems?
Acupuncture treats carpal tunnel at its source by increasing blood circulation to the hand and wrist area as well as the median nerve. This is how acupuncture is able to reduce the swelling and inflammation that causes the pain, numbness, tingling, and other symptoms in the wrist. Acupuncture also addresses any headaches, neck pain, shoulder stiffness and sleeping problems that may accompany this condition. If the condition is caused by arthritis Chinese herbal medicine may be used along with the acupuncture to address the arthritis.
We are here to Help you.
If you have other questions about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or would like more information please call or email the clinic at 407.673.6700. If you live in the Orlando area I invite you to schedule a free, 15 minute consultation in our Winter Park office to see if we can help you. We would be happy to sit down with you and answer your questions about carpal tunnel symptoms or any other health problems that you may be experiencing.