Carpal tunnel syndrome can be painful and it can stop you from doing so much.
From a Chinese medical point of view, carpal tunnel is caused by increased heat and damp in the wrist region, which we commonly know as inflammation and swelling. This can irritate and compress the median nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel in your wrist, which causes you pain.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can appear for the first time during pregnancy as there is a tendency towards swelling. It can resolve post-partum when the swelling reduces. However, it can also be exacerbated with overuse – this can happen when your baby is little as you’re carrying them often. It’s important to get carpal tunnel checked out and treated.
Acupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Acupuncture can be wonderful for reducing the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome as it can help to clear the inflammation and swelling and encourage your body to heal that area. Our bodies are very good at healing themselves but sometimes there’s a road block and so our body needs some intervention. That’s where acupuncture comes in.
Some of the symptoms you may experience if you have carpal tunnel syndrome include pain in your wrist and hand, pain going up your arm and into your shoulder, numbness and tingling in your hand, hand weakness, darting wrist pains or paresthesia (a burning, prickling or tingling sensation).
Acupressure for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chinese medicine practitioners also use acupressure for carpal tunnel syndrome relief. You may find that pressing some acupressure points on yourself give you some relief from the symptoms of carpal tunnel, especially if it’s in the early stages. (As it progresses more, acupuncture would be a stronger form of treatment and moxibustion would also be considered.)
It must be said though, it depends why you have the pain as to how effective acupressure will be. It’s always best to get a professional assessment where you can.
If you’d like to try acupressure on yourself, here are some points you may find relieving to use.
Acupressure point PC-6
This point is two of your thumb widths above your wrist crease in the middle of your inner arm. Press this down firmly for a few minutes and you should know soon if it gives you any relief or not. If it does, then you can press that for three minutes three times daily.
Acupressure point TB-5
This point is two of your thumb widths up from the wrist crease of your outer arm. You could press this one and PC-6 at the same time and see how that goes. Or you could try them one at a time to see if there is any difference. Hold for three minutes. If it is going to feel better, it should happen quite quickly, especially if you’re experiencing pain – the pain should reduce noticeably.
The thing about numbness is that when it’s getting better, you will have pain… so that can be confusing. What I’ve noticed about treating numbness with clients is that usually the trajectory with their wrist sensation is at first painful, then it becomes numb. So you should expect that to get rid of the numbness, you may need to move back through pain and then eventually have no pain. So at first you may think you’re making it worse, but not necessarily. If you’re confused, seek professional help.
Acupressure point LI-10
This point is above muscles that envelop the median nerve, the one that gets compressed through the carpal tunnel. It can be good to see if your muscles need some releasing in this region to help free up the nerve as this can also help to clear the Large Intestine meridian that flows through the wrist and can help to relieve blockages in the wrist. We refer to Qi (energy) that runs through these meridians. Unblocking the Qi can in turn help relieve your nerves, muscles and tendons.
Acupressure point TB-14 or LI-15
Check which of these points (TB-14, LI-15) is more sore, and press on that to help relieve the tension down the whole arm. Both of these channels go through your wrist and can help to remove blockages further down.
It’s also important to check your neck for tension and tightness as well as other parts of your shoulder. If you don’t find any relief from using any of these points then best to seek professional help.
Contact Red Tent to book an appointment at our Bondi clinic to assess your carpal tunnel syndrome.
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