By Ian Murray BHScAc Cert Ac (China) Cert IV Rem Therapies
If your hand is experiencing pain, loss of grip strength, tingling or numbness, and a feeling that the fingers are swollen, then you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is a small opening amongst the many bones and tendons at the base of the hand which the median nerve passes through. This nerve supplies the palm, thumb, index finger, middle finger, and thumb side of the ring finger. Anything which causes swelling in the carpal tunnel and increases pressure on the median nerve leads to these symptoms. An overuse injury, pregnancy, arthritis or trauma such as a broken wrist can all lead to CTS. Sometimes however its cause is unknown and women are affected more often than men. The onset is usually gradual and symptoms are often first noticed at night.
Although pain may only be slight in the early stages of carpal tunnel syndrome, it is essential to treat persistent symptoms. Left untreated, permanent nerve damage can result. Conventional treatment for carpel tunnel includes:
- Rest the affected hand and stop performing any actions that aggravate your condition.
- Wear a wrist splint at night or more often if your symptoms are severe.
- Take pain relief when required, particularly before going to bed as reducing your pain level will help you sleep.
- Corticosteroid injections into the carpal tunnel.
- Surgery to relieve pressure on the median nerve.
When conservative measures for managing carpel tunnel are inadequate steroids and surgery are not the only option. At Kenmore Centre for Health we have had success with our unique approach in treating carpal tunnel. Acupuncture, infra-red laser and Chinese herbal medicine and specific nutritional supplements are often effective for mild cases. More severe cases have responded to acupuncture point injection therapy where saline in injected into acupuncture points over the carpal tunnel. This drug-free approach has offered lasting relief for many sufferers of carpel tunnel syndrome. As with all conditions where treatment is essential, it is best to seek treatment early when symptoms are less severe and usually easier to manage.