Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that causes pain and tingling in the forearm and hand. This condition is caused by a compression of the median nerve, which innervates the palm side of the thumb, index finger, and part of the ring finger. This is most often an overuse injury, frequently caused by daily activities such as computer and phone use. This overuse causes irritation and swelling of the carpal tunnel, which houses the median nerve. This may result in weakness, pain, numbness, and tingling of the hand, wrist, and forearm.

Conventional treatment of carpal tunnel usually includes rest, wrist splinting, medications, and even surgery in severe cases. Surgery comes with its own set of risks including scar tissue formation, infection, and further injury to the nerve or blood vessels.

Acupuncture for the treatment of carpal tunnel

Acupuncture is a great non-surgical option for the treatment of carpal tunnel. Local acupuncture helps to increase microcirculation to the median nerve and surrounding tissues. Acupuncture will help to relieve pressure on the nerve, thus preventing nerve damage and restoring nerve function.

In addition to the local effects of acupuncture, acupuncture has systemic effects in treating chronic pain and inflammation. There is evidence to suggest that acupuncture has the ability to “re-map” the brain and help change the body’s response to pain. In essence, acupuncture can help modify the brain’s pain signals from the wrist.

Is acupuncture effective at treating carpal tunnel?

In a study published in 2017 by researchers from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, it was revealed that acupuncture “produces quantifiable improvements in median nerve conduction and digit cortical separation distances.”

In another study from 2015, Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine researchers found that acupuncture produced a 95.2% effective rate in the treatment of carpal tunnel (Wang 2017).

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