Carpal tunnel syndrome is common, especially among people who spend a lot of time working on their computers. Daily long hours at your computer can cause new health problems and exacerbate existing ones. Some common problems that computer geeks (I use that term lovingly since I am also on my computer a lot) experience include: eye strain, neck, back and wrist pain, anxiety, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Acupuncture is often a great solution for many types of pain.
Today, I am going to focus on how acupuncture can relieve the increasingly common complaint of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but be sure to check back because I plan to address other computer related problems in future posts.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is one of the most common job-related injuries and occurs three times more often in women. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist made up of ligaments and bones. This small pathway/tunnel contains the median nerve and the tendons that connect the fingers to the muscles of the forearm. Thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling can narrow the tunnel that the median nerve runs through causing it to be compressed.
Symptoms usually start gradually with tingling or numbness in the palm and fingers and can get progressively worse to include pain, burning and weakness of the affected hand and forearm. . I’ve had several patients come in over the years complaining of persistent wrist pain, a frequent symptom of carpel tunnel problems. This syndrome can cause irreversible nerve damage and permanent deterioration of muscle tissue.
The most common therapies prescribed by doctors are anti-inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids, exercises and in some cases surgery. These options make acupuncture a very effective and attractive treatment, wouldn’t you say?
Acupuncture can reduce the swelling, inflammation and pain in the wrist, fingers and arm. According to a study published in the May of 2009 issue of the Clinical Journal of Pain acupuncture was shown to be just as effective the corticosteroid, prednisone for treating such common carpal tunnel symptoms as numbness, tingling and weakness. Plus for the symptoms of waking at night and motor function, the acupuncture group had better results than the group taking steroids.
Time to tear yourself away from your computer and call for an appointment!
Source: The Clinical Journal of Pain. 25(4):327-333, May 2009. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0b013e318190511c