Acupuncture for carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is the compression of the median nerve as it travels through the wrist at the carpal tunnel, hence its name. It affects the wrist and hand.
Symptoms include discomfort, pain (mild to moderate), chronic pain, numbness, burning sensation and tingling, in the thumb, index finger, middle finger and the thumb.
Around 1 in 10 people develop carpal tunnel syndrome at some point and affects women more.
Treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome
Acupuncture is very effective at relieving pain and regulating energy and blood flow, which can relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
From a biomedicine viewpoint, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the nervous system and cause the release of neurochemical messenger molecules. Electro acupuncture is particularly useful in the treatment of CTS.
Research has shown the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment may specifically help patients with carpal tunnel syndrome by:
- Acting on areas of the brain known to reduce sensitivity to pain
- Increasing the release of adenosine, which blocks pain
- Regulating the limbic network of the brain, including the hypothalamus and amygdala
- Inducing beneficial cortical plasticity (i.e. conditioning the brain to stop processing sensory nerve input from the affected fingers, which leads to improved symptoms)