Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Your carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in your wrist made of bones and ligaments, through which runs your median nerve. For most people, this nerve runs freely through this passageway and they are free from pain. Often when our daily activities involve repetitive actions such as typing, mouse use, or motions related to work or sports, this nerve becomes compressed within the tunnel. Blood flow to the nerve is reduced, and the nerve cannot function. Most people feel numbness or pain in the thumb, index and middle fingers – especially when they hold elevated positions like driving or reading. Carpal tunnel syndrome can also result from pregnancy, metabolic disorders, arthritis, or diabetes.
Traditional medicine uses wrist braces, anti-inflammatory medications and surgery to treat this problem. I think we’re both fans of avoiding meds and surgery at all costs, and frankly, not moving your wrists is just not an option, right?
When patients come to me with this diagnosis, I always like to check things out first. Eight times out of ten, the problem is not in the wrist but in the neck. Can’t tell you how many patients I’ve treated who had carpal tunnel surgery with no result – only to find out it was their neck (often Thoracic Outlet Syndrome). Oops. If it is your neck (or shoulder or elbow), no sweat. I can treat that. But if you do, in fact, have CTS here’s how acupuncture’s a gem.
Using small acu-points in the wrist, arm and elsewhere on the body, inflammation is suppressed by the resulting increase in white blood cells. Circulation is restored to the wrist, hand, and arm by dilation and constriction of local blood vessels, and endorphins relieve pain. I’ll probably also give you some Chinese herbs to help intensify the healing process. This combination can bring quick and lasting relief…and that’s a big relief!