TCM & Acupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition that affects the hand and wrist. It is caused by pressure on the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. This pressure can lead to pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and fingers.

While traditional treatments for CTS include surgery and medication, many people are turning to holistic methods, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for relief. Learn more about how TCM treatment methods like acupuncture can aid in recovery naturally.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Repetitive Movements

Repetitive Movements

Activities that involve repetitive wrist movements, such as typing on a keyboard or using a mouse for extended periods, can put strain on the wrist and contribute to the development of CTS.

Trauma or Injury

Trauma or Injury

A sudden impact or injury to the wrist, such as a fracture or sprain, can lead to swelling or damage in the carpal tunnel area. This creates pressure on the median nerve, leading to symptoms of CTS. Repeated stress injuries over time can also contribute to or worsen CTS.

Medical Conditions

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, and obesity can increase the risk of developing CTS due to their effects on nerve function and inflammation.

Anatomical Factors

Anatomical Factors

Anatomical variations in the wrist joint, such as a smaller carpal tunnel size or a prominent wrist bone, can predispose individuals to CTS by narrowing the space available for the median nerve.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes during pregnancy or menopause can lead to fluid retention and swelling, increasing pressure on the median nerve and contributing to CTS symptoms.

TCM Treatments for Back Pain

Unlike western treatment methods, TCM takes on a more holistic approach and one or more factors may contribute to chronic CTS.

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Consultation & Assessment

Your TCM physician will conduct a thorough assessment to determine the root cause of your symptoms. They may also ask about your medical history and any other health concerns you may have. 

Each individual’s treatment plan may look different based on your body constitution, medical history, and other underlying causes. Typically, your personalised treatment plan may include a combination of acupuncture or other treatment methods, herbal medicine, or even physical exercises and lifestyle recommendations.

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Acupuncture

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Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a key component of TCM and has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of conditions, including CTS. Modern clinical studies have demonstrated that acupuncture improves CTS symptoms such as pain, numbness, and function.

During an acupuncture session, thin needles are inserted into specific points on the body (especially near the wrist, elbow and hand) to stimulate the flow of Qi and promote healing.

  • Reduce pain and inflammation: By stimulating the release of endorphins, acupuncture can offer natural pain relief.
     
  • Improve nerve function: Acupuncture may help promote nerve healing and reduce numbness and tingling.

  • Enhance blood circulation: Improved circulation can reduce pressure on the median nerve, a key factor in CTS.

  • Promote overall well-being: By addressing underlying imbalances, acupuncture can support your body’s natural healing processes.
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Herbal Medicine

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Herbal Medicine

When deemed beneficial based on the patient’s condition, our physician may also prescribe herbal medication. Herbal medication is prescribed based on the patient’s constitution and syndrome patterns, that can aid in:

  • Reduce pain & inflammation
  • Improve blood circulation 
  • Nourish & strengthen affected tissues
  • Promote healing

DIY Acupressure Massages

In TCM, CTS is predominantly related to the “pericardium meridian”. It may sometimes be related to the “heart meridian” or “lung meridian” as well.

Here are some points that may be helpful for self massage in CTS. Take note to avoid using too much strength as several important blood vessels and nerves run through the wrist. In case of pain aggravating after massage, please stop and seek proper medical attention.

内关 (Nei Guan, PC6)

神门 (Shen Men, HT 7)

PULSE TCM for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome and are looking for a holistic approach to pain management and relief, TCM can help you.

By addressing the root cause of your symptoms and promoting overall wellness, TCM can bring pain relief and improve your quality of life.

Book an appointment with a PULSE TCM physician to explore the best treatment options for you.

Note: In severe cases where you experience pain or increasing weakness in the arm, please seek immediate medical attention first. Our physicians will also refer you to the appropriate medical specialist whenever necessary.

John Doe

John Doe

Article Edited & Reviewed by PULSE TCM Physician Dr. Wayne Lim

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