Acupuncture Treatments for Carpal Tunnel

Acupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that affects coordination, muscle strength, and sensation in the hands. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent permanent nerve damage. Acupuncture is a non-surgical treatment option for individuals suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Causes & Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on your median nerve, which runs the length of the arm, goes through a passage in the wrist, and ends in the hand. The median nerve controls the movement and feeling of your thumb and the movement of all your fingers except your pinky. As a result, the carpal tunnel is narrowed, which is generally caused by swelling.

Often, people don't know what brought on their carpal tunnel syndrome, but it can happen due to:

  • Repetitive motions like typing or any motions of the wrist that you do over and over.
  • Health conditions like hypothyroidism, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes
  • Pregnancy

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome and don't get it treated, its symptoms can last a long time, get worse, and can even go away and return. When your physician diagnoses it early, it's easier to treat.

If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, you may feel a tingling, burning, or itching numbness in the palm of your hand and thumb, index, or middle fingers. You also might notice that your fingers "fall asleep" and become numb at night.

Click Here to Receive a $40 Certificate for your 1st Acupuncture Treatment and Evaluation.

How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Diagnosed?

hand median ulnar nerve distribution

Your physician may conduct a handful of tests to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome and rule out other causes of hand and wrist pain.

He or she will start with questions about your medical history and perform a physical exam of your hands, arms, shoulders, and neck. They will try to figure out if your pain is due to another condition such as an injury or arthritis and will also make sure your daily activities are not to blame.

During the physical exam, your physician will focus on your wrist to see if the area is swollen, tender, warm, or discolored. They will test each finger to see if you have lost any feeling as well as check the strength of the muscles in your hand. A neurologist may perform an NCV or NCS test determine how well the nerves are functioning.

Video: Pronator Teres Syndrome Producing Carpal Tunnel

How is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treated?

  • Lifestyle changes. If symptoms are due to repetitive motion, you can take frequent breaks or do less of the activity that is causing you pain. Specific strengthening and stretching exercises can help, too.
  • Immobilization. Your physician may have you use a splint to keep your wrist from moving and alleviate pressure on the nerves. You may also wear one at night to eliminate the numbness or tingling feeling.
  • Medication. Your physician may prescribe you anti-inflammatory medications or steroid shots to reduce swelling.
  • Surgery. The last resort for carpal tunnel syndrome is surgery.

Acupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

acupuncture wrist chandler

An ancient technique of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), acupuncture is a non-surgical treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. The procedure involves the insertion of very thin needles through your skin at strategic points on your body.

TCM believes acupuncture is a technique for balancing the flow of energy or life force (known as "chi" or "qi") through pathways (meridians) in your body. Many Western practitioners believe acupuncture stimulates nerves, muscles, and connective tissue as well as boost your body's natural painkillers.

An acupuncture treatment involves three steps:

  • Needle insertion. Acupuncture needles are inserted to various depths at different points on your wrist and hand.
  • Needle manipulation. Your practitioner may either gently move or twirl the needles after placement.
  • Needle removal. The needles remain in place for 10 to 20 minutes. There is generally no discomfort when the needles are removed.

Acupuncture is beneficial because it helps relieve pain for individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome. It also is shown to provide some healing effects at the source of the pain in the wrists.

Recent research also suggests the needle may cause the body to send extra blood to the spot, much like what happens during bruising. The additional blood may help damaged nerves to heal.

Alternative Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

In addition to acupuncture treatments, Massage Therapy, Graston Technique, and Cold Laser Therapy can be used to alleviate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

cold laser wrist hand treatment

Massage therapy can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome by:

  • Relieving inflammation
  • Promoting blood circulation
  • Aiding in the removal of metabolic residues
  • Soothing the irritated muscles and tendons

Your physician will suggest several stretches for carpal tunnel syndrome that include stretching your wrist flexors and forearm.

With Graston Technique, carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated through a process called myofascial release. A stainless-steel instrument is rubbed back and forth on the fascia around the wrist, hand, and carpal tunnel, loosening them and making them more flexible. Click to read more on Graston Technique for wrist and hand pain.

Low-level laser therapy, or cold laser therapy, promotes regeneration and healing through decreasing inflammation and fluid accumulation by shutting off the mechanisms and pathways that promote inflammation.


Massage Therapy, Acupuncture, Cold Laser Therapy, and Graston Technique can be used alone or combined to enhance many types of treatments and injuries. Many people with chronic pain find significant relief when combining these treatments.

Alpha Chiropractic and Physical Therapy provides treatment for many patients in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix, and Maricopa. Most patients have never seen a clinic that combines treatments from different providers into improving your pain.

Therapy and treatments for many types of conditions can be improved with a combination of acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy. Learn more about our unique Chandler Chiropractic Clinic.

Click Here to Receive a $40 Certificate for your 1st Acupuncture Treatment and Evaluation.