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Study Finds Both Traditional and Electro-Acupuncture Effective for CTS Pain Relief

By: Vanessa Vogel Batt L.Ac. MSOM

In a 2014 study, researchers set out to discover the effects of acupuncture and electroacupuncture on patients diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). The study appeared in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine under the title "Clinical effectiveness of acupuncture for carpal tunnel syndrome."

The study involved 26 patients with symptoms of CTS. Fifteen of the study participants received acupuncture treatments and the other eleven underwent electroacupuncture. Electroacupuncture is applied in a similar way as regular acupuncture needles, but with the addition of an electrical current running between two of the needles.

Each patient had 24 sessions over a period of six weeks. The acupuncture points utilized corresponded to the median nerve. When this nerve is compromised, symptoms of CTS may arise.  After every session, the researchers evaluated the patient's grip strength, electrophysiological function and performed a medical test called Tinel's sign. The patients also answered a questionnaire regarding their symptoms.

The study participants that received electroacupuncture reported a statistically outstanding reduction of the severity of their symptoms. Those treated with acupuncture displayed significant improvements in grip strength, a reduction in Tinel's sign, and a positive influence on the nerve conduction to the area of the palm and wrist.

The study concluded that both acupuncture and electroacupuncture treatment can give therapeutic relief to patients with symptoms of CTS.

Source: Ho, C., Lin, H., Lee, Y., Chou, L., Kuo, T., Chang, H., . . . Lo, S. (2014). Clinical Effectiveness of Acupuncture for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 42(02), 303-314. doi:10.1142/s0192415x14500207

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About the Author: Vanessa Vogel Batt, L.Ac., MSTOM, studied at the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, and practiced acupuncture and Oriental medicine in New York for several years. Vanessa enjoys traveling the world, and has published articles on acupuncture and Oriental medicine and related health topics for websites and publications in both the U.S. and abroad.

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