People who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) are likely to wear a wrist splint. Uncomfortable positioning of the body for extended hours and poor computer ergonomics are some of the common reasons for the development of this condition.
The symptoms of CTS include pain originating in the area of the wrist that radiate to the palm side of the forearms, tingling and/or numbness of the fingers (except the little finger) and thumb, and overall weakness.
About the diameter of your thumb, the carpal tunnel is a tube bound by ligaments and bones on the palm side of the hand in the wrist area. This is where tendons, veins, and the median nerve are housed and channeled for finger and hand mobility.
Carpal tunnel syndrome develops when the median nerve is pinched or when a tendon or a blood vessel is damaged in the carpal tunnel.
There are symptoms brought about by the poor positioning of the hand and arms that mimic those of CTS. To distinguish these from the ones caused by CTS, the symptoms caused by CTS do not go away easily and quickly, and are not as serious as those of CTS.
For non-CTS hand and arm pain and discomfort, simply taking breaks, and shaking your hands and arms then re-positioning them and adjusting your general posture in a proper way can prevent the need for medical attention.
But for symptoms that do not easily and quickly go away (especially after long hours of typing), you may then need to see a doctor.
CTS – Conventional Modes of Treatment
Arm splints and NSAID medications are the most common modes of treatment offered by Western medicine for CTS. Arm splints are worn by a lot of CTS sufferers during work and oftentimes, they are also required to be worn during sleep.
NSAIDS (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs) are prescription drugs that serve to alleviate CTS-related pain. Most of these drugs can be bought over-the-counter. Cortisone injections may also be given to lessen pressure on the median nerve inflammation. All these drugs have adverse side effects.
Open surgery and endoscopic surgery, are final options if the above mentioned modalities prove inadequate. This procedure involves inserting a narrow tube into small incisions, and is less invasive than open surgery. Open surgery requires more anesthesia than endoscopic surgery.
Acupuncture for CTS
Acupuncture has been practiced for tens of hundreds of years and works in the distribution of chi for reversing chronic or acute bad health and restoring good health.
Acupuncture is more and more being used for the treatment of sports injuries. A recent randomized controlled trial study was performed in Iran. It tested acupuncture’s efficacy for treating CTS and it involved the participation of 64 patients who were all suffering from a moderate form of CTS. The result of this study was published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences in January 2012.
The participants were grouped into two with the control group receiving fake acupuncture along with vitamins B1 and B6. The other group wore wrist splints each night and was treated with weekly acupuncture treatments for four weeks.
The group given real acupuncture showed much better results. They experienced a lessening of their numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain than the control group.
The study ended by stating that the findings implied that acupuncture can significantly better the symptoms of CTS. The conductors of the research recommended acupuncture for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome and said that it should be integrated in the care programs of CTS patients.
Christina Prieto, AP
1617 Hillcrest St
Orlando, FL 32803