“Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” refers to the pain in the center of the wrist that is typically worse when holding something, or if the wrist is flexed or extended. These injuries are common among people who do a lot of typing at the computer, cutting hair, during pregnancy and holding babies and children.
Inflammation in the “tunnel” at the wrist, where many tendons and thin muscles travel from the arm to the fingers, can impinge upon the median nerve that travels from the neck, down the arm and into the hand. In addition to this very painful inflammatory condition, quite often, the pain experienced in the wrist is also due to tight muscles in the neck and shoulders. Since the median nerve comes from the cervical spine, and runs down the arm, tight muscles in the neck and shoulder can also impinge upon the nerve. When people come in to my office for treatment of pain in the wrist, it is important to find where the problem begins, because it is does not always begin in the wrist. I usually start by doing bodywork at the upper back and around the shoulder girdle. If we do not find any “referral pain” patterns that travel from the upper back or shoulders down to the wrist, then I check the neck muscles, and also the pectoral muscles that attach at the front of the shoulder. More often than not, referral pain, or Trigger Points, are found at one or more of these areas. Both the source of the problem and the wrist are then treated. As follow up, gentle stretching exercises are recommended based upon the referral pattern that was identified during treatment.
As with all acupuncture visits, points are selected according to further information the person provides regarding their health, and the nature of the pain in the wrist area. The nature of the pain pattern is also important since each person has a different experience. Taking into consideration all of the person’s background helps to provide a more well rounded treatment in order to get to the source of the overall health concern(s).