Research has demonstrated that acupuncture for carpal tunnel is an effective treatment and acupuncture has no adverse complications such as median nerve scarring as a result of surgery. Carpal tunnel during pregnancy is common and is mostly seen in the last half of pregnancy. Western medicine has little to offer apart from anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or cortisone injections which many women avoid because of the known side effects.
The fundamental cause of carpal tunnel during pregnancy is due to oedema. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs for oedema during pregnancy is also commonly seen in The Acupuncture Clinic.
In addition to fluid retention and oedema contributing to carpal tunnel during pregnancy, there is also another cause which in traditional Chinese medicine terms is called blood deficiency.
What are the main symptoms of carpal tunnel?
The discomfort tends to get worse at night and after birth with the gradual decrease of the fluid, the carpal tunnel syndrome usually subsides.
What causes the oedema during pregnancy?
In Chinese medial theory, oedema during pregnancy is thought to be mainly due to the spleen or kidney and hence acupuncture points on these meridians are commonly selected. If the spleen is weak, the digestion of food and water can become impaired allowing water to build up and if the kidneys are weak, water is not excreted completely.
Heiko Lade talks about carpal tunnel on Radio Kidnappers.
How can acupuncture help?
Scott Pearson of the Newtown Acupuncture Centre in Wellington explains “Acupuncture can help improve circulation and decrease inflammation in the wrists, resolving the fluid build-up and reducing the pressure on the median nerve. I would normally expect an improvement in symptoms quite quickly“.
Can anything else help apart from the acupuncture?
Moxibustion is also often used in the treatment of oedema and carpal tunnel during pregnancy.
John Kennedy, a member of the New Zealand Register of Acupuncturists practicing at The Acupuncture Clinic in Masterton says “My female patients coming for acupuncture and carpal tunnel really like the moxibustion as it is also very relaxing and soothing to the whole body”