Because many repetitive tasks involve the hands, hands are often susceptible to small injuries, aches and pains. Acupuncture relieves pain and speeds healing in many disorders, including the following: carpal tunnel syndrome, Duypuytren’s contracture, tendonitis, hand fracture, skier’s thumb and arthritis.
Carpal tunnel syndrome, common in people who type or play the piano, occurs with frequent use of the hand, especially with many small, quick movements. The repetitious movement causes micro tears, which in turn bring about an inflammatory response of the muscle tendons that flex the fingers. When the tendons swell, they compress the median nerve, causing numbness, tingling or pain of the wrist and fingers. Acupuncture can control the pain, reduce inflammation, and also reduce stress at the neck and upper back, which is where the tension commonly originates.
Dupuytren’s Contracture occurs when the muscles and other soft tissues of the palm of the hand contract. This painful condition prevents some of the fingers, particularly those on the pinky side of the hand, from straightening. Conventional medicine typically prescribes surgery as the primary means to correct this syndrome. However, especially if treated in its early stages, acupuncture can bypass this drastic measure and help prevent the contracture from progressing and even bring about reversal of the symptoms.
Tendonitis occurs when overuse or stress strain the tendons between the hand and forearm. The resulting inflammation and swelling cause pain and makes moving the wrist difficult. Acupuncture relieves inflammation that decreases pain and improves wrist motion. Acupuncture also helps relieve the underlying cause of the tendonitis by eliminating the originating stress.
In the case of hand fractures, once the bones are set and stabilized, acupuncture can stimulate the body’s repair mechanisms as well as encourage bone growth. Acupuncture will also control pain during recovery. If the hand and fingers remain stiff after the bone has healed, acupuncture will help muscles and bones recover their coordination to return the hand to normal function. I apply acupuncture to specific points on the body that stimulate repair as well as points on the hand to increase circulation and decrease pain.
Skier’s Thumb can result from a fall where the thumb is pulled back when the skier falls onto a hand while holding a ski pole. In this unfortunate malady, the thumb moves out of its normal position, tearing the major thumb ligament (the ulnar collateral ligament). Of course, this damage can also happen in other situations, such as in gymnastics or wrestling. Because of the importance of the thumb, if the pain is severe, please consult with a hand specialist or orthopedic surgeon. Acupuncture will help alleviate pain and inflammation and also speed healing. I use points specific to the thumb as well as to the meridians that supply energy and circulation to this area.
Arthritis of the thumb often arises where the thumb (metacarpal) bone meets the wrist bone when cartilage becomes worn. The bones may become deformed, and movement may become painful, restricting everyday tasks. Acupuncture helps control pain and also helps to restore the ability of cartilage to lubricate joint movement by restoring energy circulation to the injured area. After a series of treatments, many patients find themselves completely free of arthritic pain in the thumb area and with thumb function restored.
Arthritis in the hand affects a large portion of the population. Besides in the thumb, arthritis can occur in the joints of the fingers. Acupuncture can help control the inflammation and pain. Besides acupuncture points in the hand, I use points near the cervical spine where the hand nerves originate.