A new study has found that carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can be eased with electroacupuncture. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition caused by the overuse of the wrist. It is commonly seen in occupations that involve repetitive wrist motions or in those who use computer for long periods throughout the day. The study found that patients with long-lasting mild or moderate symptoms benefitted from electroacupuncture when it was used in conjunction with night splints.
Study author Vincent Chung said, “For these patients, electroacupuncture produces benefits in symptoms, disability, function, and dexterity.”
Splinting is generally used to prevent patients from bending their wrist during the sleep hours, which can aid in treatment. Another popular treatment options is cortisone injections. But both offer only temporary relief, so researchers aimed to find a treatment method that could offer benefits lasting longer.
Electroacupunture involves “…a small battery-driven device to stimulate acupuncture needles using either high or low frequency stimulation, and typically low voltage,” Dr. John Longhurst, a professor of medicine at the University of California, explained. “It is typically administered for about 30 minutes repetitively once or twice a week over a period of several weeks. It causes similar effects as manual acupuncture,” he added.
The researchers assigned 181 patients with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms to either nighttime splinting alone or nighttime splinting coupled with 13 sessions of electroacupuncture.
Those who underwent the electroacupuncture experienced lesser disability and less severe symptoms, along with greater function. The electroacupuncture didn’t seem to have a significant effect on pain, though.
Although the study is small and limited, it does reveal that there are other treatment options available to those living with CTS. Additionally, larger studies are required to determine the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating carpal tunnel syndrome.
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article on Carpal tunnel syndrome: Facts and prevention.