Acupuncture is as effective as prednisolone for carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), according to a study.

This randomized, controlled study, published in the May 2009 issue of the Clinical Journal of Pain, investigated the efficacy of acupuncture compared with steroid treatment in patients with mild-to-moderate carpal tunnel syndrome as measured by both nerve conduction studies and symptom assessment surveys.

Conclusion came upon the completion of this trial: Short-term acupuncture treatment is as effective as short-term low-dose prednisolone for mild-to-moderate CTS. For those who do have an intolerance or contraindication for oral steroid or for those who do not opt for early surgery, acupuncture treatment provides an alternative choice.

Source: The Clinical Journal of Pain. 25(4):327-333, May 2009.

CTS from TCM’s point of view

According to Chinese medicine theory, CTS is due to stagnation of qi and blood in local area, which might be associated with cold, dampness, or wind.

CTS during pregnancy

People who tend to have more swelling are more likely to develop CTS. This explains why CTS is often seen among pregnant women, as they retain more fluid inside especially during the later stages of pregnancy. The more fluid retain, the more likely swelling occurs, squeezing and pressing the median nerve. Although most women find CTS goes away after delivery, some still feel it.

Most would-be moms try to avoid oral medications as much as they can, so try acupuncture – a safe and effective option for CTS.