Carpal tunnel syndrome

  1. Carpal tunnel syndrome surgery a bust

    Don’t sign up for that surgery yet!

    Your doc might tell you that you need to go under the knife.

    He might even say it's the ONLY way to ease the pain in your wrists caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.

    And, if you're in enough agony, you probably won't think twice about going through with it.

    But TWO new studies show a couple of steps you can take to ease or even end the misery of carpal tunnel syndrome so effectively that you'll never need that wrist operation.

    The first new study focuses on acupuncture, specifically a form called "electro-acupuncture," in which a light electrical charge is added to help stimulate the nerves.

    This treatment has long been dismissed by mainstream medicine because they can't understand how or why it works.

    But all that really matters is that it DOES work... and the new study shows it's highly effective in ways even supporters of acupuncture never could've imagined.

    It actually works not just in the wrist, but in your BRAIN as well.

    I know that sounds wild, but carpal tunnel isn't limited to damage in your wrist. It also messes with the part of the brain that receives nerve signals from the hand and wrist.

    A brain cell that might be responsible for recognizing touch -- or pain -- in one finger could get activated when ANY finger is touched.

    That's part of what leads to the heightened pain that marks this condition.

    But electro-acupuncture changed that, not only easing pain in the wrist but also "remapping" the brain to help restore normal function upstairs, a sure sign that the improvements from acupuncture could lead to long-term relief.

    A sham procedure also helped ease the pain a little, but it didn't cause any brain changes.

    So far, so good. But let's make this even better.

    A second new study shows that basic physical therapy is just as good as surgery.

    And in some ways, it's even better.

    Surgery, of course, means you have to spend several weeks recovering from the procedure itself.

    As a result, the study finds that folks who have physical therapy instead of surgery do better over the first 30 days.

    Patients who have surgery eventually catch up. But oddly, they never do BETTER than the folks who get PT. Three months, six months, and even one year later, folks who have PT do just as well as those who've had surgery.

    So why even bother?

    Surgery's clearly a bust for most people -- and if you're in line for it yourself, make sure you've tried all these other options first.

  2. Shots won’t delay carpal tunnel syndrome

    The wrong way to 'treat' carpal tunnel

    OUCH!

    Write a text message... feel the burn.

    Type an email... and the tingling starts.

    Try to cook, clean, write or drive... and the telltale pain and numbness starts in your fingertips and works its way through your wrists and right up your arm.

    And sometimes, you might not be doing anything at all. The pain just kicks in and won't let up -- pain so sudden and so severe that it can wake you in the middle of the night.

    If any of that sounds familiar, you could be among the 10 million or so Americans battling carpal tunnel syndrome. And if you complain to your doctor about it, he'll offer up some quick ideas.

    Almost all of them are flat-out wrong.

    One of the most common mainstream treatments is a steroid shot. And, sure, the shots might seem to work in the short term. That's why many of the 111 carpal tunnel syndrome patients who took part in a new study got some temporary relief thanks to the shot.

    But when you mask the pain without fixing the underlying problem, you can actually make it worse, because the lack of pain allows you to engage in the same activities that caused your carpal tunnel syndrome in the first place.

    And that's a long-term recipe for disaster.

    Just look at those patients who got relief in the new study: Three-quarters of them needed surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome within a year.

    To me, that's a sure sign the shots failed -- because if they worked, they'd not only ease the pain, but they'd also prevent or delay the need for surgery.

    So skip the shot and start by working to correct the underlying cause of your pain. That may include limiting your Internet time, adjusting your posture and changing how you do things. Consult with a person trained in assessing and correcting your posture and making adjustments to your workstation.

    Next, turn to natural pain relief techniques such as cold laser and acupuncture for a little help coping with the symptoms as you make those adjustments.

    And third, seek the help of a skilled holistic medical doctor, because carpal tunnel isn't always caused by repetitive stress. In some cases, it's a warning sign of hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, and you'll need to work with your doctor to get your thyroid back on track before you experience any lasting relief.

    Whatever you do, don't wait -- because left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome can get so bad that eventually you could have no choice other than surgery.

    I offer natural pain relief -- including cold laser and acupuncture -- as well as comprehensive thyroid testing here at my clinic in Southern California. If you're in the area, contact my office to make an appointment or call 855-DOC-MARK to arrange a telephone consultation.

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