Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) causes a wide range of symptoms in the body. They include weakness in the hands, sensation loss in the fingers, and tingling, pain and numbness in the thumb, ring, middle, or index fingers.
Because of repetitive hand and finger use (especially if they are improperly positioned), the median nerve can become compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is the narrow part in the hand where the ligaments and bones on the underside of the wrist. The nerve compression causes the aforementioned symptoms characteristic of CTS.
Certain health conditions can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. They include diabetes, arthritis, hypothyroidism, pregnancy, and obesity.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Natural Therapies
Right now, there is very little scientific evidence that any treatment, conventional or alternative, can resolve carpal tunnel syndrome. Some of the natural treatments for CTS are listed below.
There have been multiple studies done showing the effectiveness of vitamin B therapy in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. One study done in Oregon at the Portland Hand Surgery and Rehabilitation Center observed how higher amounts of vitamin B6 were directly related to less symptoms of CTS in 441 individuals. The conductors of the study discovered that high amounts of vitamin C relative to lower amounts of vitamin B6 levels correlated with a greater frequency and higher prevalence of the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
One hundred seventy four students in Japan in one study all suffering from low vitamin B6 levels manifested symptoms of CTS. Their symptoms were lessened or eliminated altogether after they were placed on a diet consisting of vitamin B6 foods that include mangoes, bananas, barley, bok choy, potatoes, turkey, chicken, pork, salmon, chick peas, sunflower seeds, brown rice, avocadoes, and sweet potatoes.
Low vitamin B6 – Risk Factors
-Eating of certain types of pickles, cheese, macaroni, and foods containing yellow dye #5
-Use of HRT or oral contraceptives
-A diet poor in vitamin B6
To prevent the rise of CTS, vitamin B6 should be taken twice or thrice a day in 50 mg dosages although this may lead to increased urination. Improvement may be seen within 6 weeks of treatment. A dosage of less than 200 mg/day is the allowed daily maximum intake from all sources, unless otherwise recommended by your physician.
Acupressure follows a principle of meridian stimulation, same as that used in acupuncture. The difference between the two is that instead of using acupuncture needles, pressure from less invasive sources is applied to treat a person. When treating CTS, the hands are oftentimes used in acupressure to activate the flow of blood flow to the hands and wrists to ease swelling and numbness in the affected area of the hand.
For CTS, acupressure points on the hands, forearms, and wrists are used.
Specific acupoints in the body are selected by practitioners for the treatment of CTS. According to traditional Chinese medicine when blockages along the meridians (energy channels) in the body develop, it can lead to pain. Acupuncture clears out the blockages and increases the circulation of energy along these channels.
Acupuncture can be scientifically explained in terms of its ability to balance the nervous system, boost energy and blood flow in the body through the release of chemicals that block pain and generate relaxation and calmness.
What is Acupuncture for CTS treatment like?
When treating carpal tunnel syndrome, acupuncturists select acupoints located in the hands, thumb, arm, wrist, and other parts of the body including the leg, neck, and upper back.
How many treatment sessions one needs will be based on a number of factors including your overall health, how much you use your hands and arms, the severity of your symptoms, and how long you’ve had those symptoms.
Laser acupuncture is one very effective form of acupuncture therapy. In laser acupuncture, instead of needles, the practitioner or doctor uses a handheld laser to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. A study that spanned two years observed 36 individuals all suffering from median pain related to CTS. Fourteen of them underwent one or more surgical release procedures that bore no results. Laser acupuncture was given for four to five weeks once a week to all the patients. At the end of the study, 33 patients had either complete resolution of their pain or their pain decreased by more than 50%. All the patients who had unsuccessful surgery also experienced an improvement of their symptoms. Two years after the end of the study, only two out of the 36 patients experienced a return of their pain. They were treated successfully after several weeks of treatment.