CTS or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may sound like a grave and serious disease – it is not and this painful condition can be effectively addressed with acupuncture treatments. CTS is caused by the irritation, swelling, and inflammation of the median nerve located in a particular area of the wrist known as the carpal tunnel. It may arise from repeated and prolonged movements of the wrist in an unchanging manner.
Risk Factors and Symptoms of CTS
These days, the proliferation of personal computers in the home and office has led to an epidemic of shoulder, arm, and hand injuries caused by the dragging of the computer mouse, unending repetition of keystrokes and high speed typing.
Certain CTS risk factors include heavy lifting, awkward postures, the use of force, and/or repetitive wrist motions. Besides those factors that likely lead to CTS, certain individuals may also have a higher vulnerability to develop CTS. They include those who have diabetes, are obese, suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, and women who are pregnant or in menopause.
The most prominent symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome is numbness and/or tingling of the middle, index, and/or thumb finger, and a part of the ring finger. Wrist pain is one other common symptom. This pain tends to travel up the elbow or to the shoulders.
Conventional treatment for CTS
CTS treatment with conventional medicine will depend on the underlying cause of the condition and on how severe the symptoms present. Wrist splints and anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed to resolve the symptoms; corticosteroids may also be used in the affected area. For severe forms of CTS, surgery can be an option in order to remove the pressure in the carpal tunnel to prevent the nerves from being permanently damaged.
Scientific experiments have shown that acupuncture has the ability to remove the pain and lessen the swelling of soft tissue caused by CTS. The studies have indicated that acupuncture can stimulate cortisol production which helps relieve inflammation and pain. Since the pressure on the median nerve is usually due to the inflammation and swelling of the soft tissue in the carpal tunnel, acupuncture is a very valid form of treatment for the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Besides alleviating the inflammation, swelling and pain in the carpal tunnel region, acupuncture can also be used for the relief of headache, eye strain, shoulder stiffness, and neck pain that are related to CTS.