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Posts Tagged: Raynaud’s Disease

Blue Finger (and Toe) Blues? Acupuncture Reduces Symptoms of Raynaud’s Disease

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Happier Fingers with Acupuncture!

Raynaud’s disease is a rare disorder of the blood vessels, typically in the fingers and toes. It causes the blood vessels to narrow when you are cold or feeling stressed. When this happens, blood can’t get to the surface of the skin and the affected areas turn white and blue. When the blood flow returns, numbness and pain results, and when the blood flow returns, the fingers may swell painfully, the skin turns red, and throbs or tingles. In severe cases, loss of blood flow can cause sores or tissue death.

People in colder climates are more likely to develop Raynaud’s. It is also more common in women, people with a family history, and those over age 30. In about 89% of people, Raynaud’s occurs in direct response to a stimulus and there is no known underlying cause. In the other 11%, it results from an underlying condition, most commonly a connective tissue disease such as systemic sclerosis, mixed connective tissue disease.(Goundry 2012)

Lifestyle modifications such as regular exercise and stopping smoking, and reducing exposure to triggers (e.g. cold, ensuring your fingers and toes stay warm, reducing emotional stress) can help, as well as pharmaceutical drugs, but many people are leery of the side effects.

In the case of Raynaud’s disease, studies have shown that acupuncture produces more sustained and effective results than conventional drugs, without the side effects. Because the disease involves the autonomic nervous system, acupuncture can switch the mode involved, halting the blood vessel spasms and relieving the pain and symptoms.

In fact, a recent study shows that acupuncture does indeed surpass drug treatment for Raynaud’s disease.

The study, conducted by R. Appiah and colleagues at the Medizinische Hochschule Hannover Department of Angiology in Hannover, Germany, randomized 33 people with Raynaud’s disease into treatment and control groups. During the course of 23 winter weeks, the treatment subjects received seven acupuncture sessions. Control subjects received no sessions. All patients kept a diary chronicling the daily frequency, duration and severity of attacks. At weeks one, 12 and 23, subjects underwent a “cooling test” that exposed their appendages to cold.

Eleven of the 17 treated patients reported a subjective improvement in symptoms. After acupuncture, the frequency of Raynaud’s attacks fell significantly from 1.4 per day to 0.6 per day. When attacks did occur, however, duration and severity did not change significantly. Changes among control subjects were not significant.

Overall, acupuncture reduced attacks by 63 percent. When patients’ hands were exposed to cold, the mean time of no blood flow through the nail-bed capillaries decreased from 71 to 24 seconds. Follow-up questionnaires showed that the benefits lasted beyond 10 months, and there were no adverse effects.These results suggest that traditional Chinese acupuncture can induce long-lasting reduction of Raynaud’s attacks.

Consider acupuncture for treatment of this and many other conditions! I will examine your health history, including the onset of your condition, to treat the specific symptoms unique to you, choosing the most effective acupuncture points and treatment plan. Acupuncture treatments are painless and gentle.

For more information, visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com

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Source: J Intern Med 1997 (Feb); 241 (2) Feb: 119–124 Treatment of Primary Raynaud’s Syndrome with Traditional Chinese Acupuncture Appiah R, Hiller S, Caspary L, Alexander K, Creutzig A Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Department of Angiology, Germany

Photo: Palms by George Hodan

Acupuncture Points to Healing Finger Pain

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Acupuncture Points to Healing Finger Pain

Finger pain can arise from a variety of sources, including arthritis, bone fracture, Raynaud’s disease and a soft-tissue  disorder of the hand, called trigger finger.

Numerous studies have found that acupuncture can effectively manage and reverse the symptoms of arthritis, including inflammation, chronic pain and joint degeneration. I will examine your health history, including the onset of your condition, to treat the specific symptoms unique to you, choosing the most effective acupuncture points and treatment plan. It’s likely you will benefit from treatment in the neck area as well, as the hand receives neural information from the cervical spinal cord.

If the finger pain results from a fracture, it is important to set the bones first to make sure they heal in the proper position, advisably with the consultation of a hand specialist. Once the bones are stabilized in a cast or splint, the body will repair the fracture. Acupuncture can help relieve pain and speed recovery by restoring energy circulation. In some cases where bones aren’t healing, acupuncture can stimulate bone healing. Often finger stiffness remains once the cast or splint is removed. Acupuncture will help your soft tissues recover as well as restore coordination of your fingers quickly.

In Raynaud’s Disease, blood vessels spasm and constrict blood flow to the hand and fingers when the hands are exposed to cold. Emotional stress can also trigger an episode. Numbness and pain results, and when the blood flow returns, the fingers may swell painfully. In the case of Raynaud’s disease, studies have shown that acupuncture produces more sustained and effective results than conventional drugs, without the side effects. Because the disease involves the autonomic nervous system, acupuncture can switch the mode involved, halting the blood vessel spasms and relieving the pain and symptoms.

People who use their hands a lot in their profession, and people who spend a lot of time texting, may develop trigger finger, also called stenosing tenosynovitis. Trigger finger involves a constriction within the tendon sheath, which prevents the finger involved from straightening. Conventional medicine offers such remedies as surgery or steroid injection. However, you can bypass these drastic methods if you use lifestyle changes and acupuncture to assist healing. Acupuncture works very effectively to eliminate the symptoms of trigger finger quickly.