Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (S3E12)

When someone claims to have great dexterity in something, you often hear them say “It’s all in the wrist”.  However, as far as carpal tunnel syndrome goes, there is a bit more to it than that.  Carpal tunnel syndrome is a neuropathy that occurs when the median nerve in the wrist gets compressed.  This can be due to inflammation from repetitive strain during activities such as typing, playing musical instruments or other hand movements, as well as diabetes, alcoholism, pregnancy, oral contraceptive pills and rheumatoid arthritis. 

The symptoms of carpal tunnel can be quite debilitating and include pain, numbness and weakness in grip strength and lack of coordination of the hands as a consequence.

Conventional therapies include non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs, splinting and rest, local steroid injections and surgery. However, Chinese and orthomolecular medicine also have a few tricks up their sleeves which are effective, and less invasive.  Acupuncture tends to be very effective at relieving the pain and tension in the tendon sheath in the wrist, and topical herbal liniments can also be analgesic and reduce swelling.  Vitamin B6 deficiency also tends to be common as a risk factor for the neuropathy associated with this pain.  Many of the above mentioned conditions tend to increase the need for Vitamin B6, and as a consequence, it becomes depleted.

Generally speaking, before the big guns of steroids and surgery are tried, a course of 5 to 10 acupuncture treatments combined with topical herbs and vitamin B6 (50-300mg/day for 12 weeks) is quite effective.

Be Well and Be Zen




Gaby A R, (2011), Nutritional Medicine, Ch. 54, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, p. 508-509., Fritz Perlberg Publishing, Concord, NH., ISBN 13: 978-0-9828850-0-0.

Liangyue D. et al., (1987), Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion 3rd Ed., Foreign Language Press, Beijing., p.191., ISBN: 0-8351-2109-7.

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