The hand is one of the marvels of human nature. The precision movements it can make allow us to do a huge number of activities that our nearest primate cousins cannot.
The complexity and dexterity of the hand are wonderful, and they also get us into trouble. Many activities we do daily – typing on a keyboard, using our thumbs on our cell phones, using scissors or tying our shoelaces – can also lead us to develop painful hand problems, like arthritis, carpal tunnel, tendinitis.
The most powerful acupuncture points are those in the hands and feet. These acupuncture have strong pain-stopping abilities. By determining the location and quality of the pain, I use related points to stop the pain you’re experiencing in your hand and wrist.
Potential causes of wrist and hand pain can be tendon injuries, muscle strains or ligament sprains, arthritis, ganglion cysts, carpal tunnel, fractures and capsular or joint problems.
What are the different types of hand and wrist pain treated by acupuncture?
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve becomes pinched as it passes through the wrist into the hand. The pain associated with carpal tunnel is said to increase over time, have an electric zinging nature, and is sometimes accompanied with weakness and numbness in the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by anatomical abnormalities in the structure of the wrist, pregnancy, and certain patterns of hand movement (ergonomics). The carpal tunnel is a small passageway through the wrist, and a large nerve and nine tendons need to squeeze through that space. When the space is compressed, pain is felt, as well as numbness, tingling and weakness. Acupuncture can help relax and open that space, and reduce inflammation.
- Arthritis: Arthritis is a leading cause of disability in the United States. Osteoarthritis is a “wear and tear” disease in which the cartilage that protects are joints is worn down and eventually disappears. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system causes degeneration of the joints. In both cases, smooth pain-free motion is lost. Thumb arthritis is a very common form of arthritis in the hand. Depending on the type of arthritis a person has, different joints (knuckles) in the hand will be affected. Psoriatic arthritis, while less common than the other types of arthritis mentioned above, may affect the hands as well as the finger nails.
- Tendinitis: There are many tendons in the hand and wrist. Tendinitis is inflammation of a tendon. De Quervain’s is a type of tendinitis. Most commonly, tendinitis in the hand affects the tendons of the wrist. Tendinitis pain is usually described as tightness, aching and burning pain. The pain is often worse during gripping or holding objects. Repetitive motion is likely to aggravate tendonitis.
- Sprain: A sprain is a name for damage to the ligaments within a joint. There are many ligaments in the wrist and fingers, making this part of the body particularly susceptible to sprain. This contrasts strains, which refer to the muscle and tendon injuries rather than ligaments. The symptoms of sprain are pain, swelling, tenderness, bruising, stiffness, loss of strength and decreased range of motion. During injury, you may have the sensation of tearing or popping of the ligaments.
Acupuncture treats hand pain and wrist pain by similar actions. Acupuncture improves circulation and relaxes spasms. The improved circulation caused by acupuncture brings fresh blood and oxygen to the area, which promotes healing. Certain acupuncture points help stop pain, too.