Carpal Tunnel Tips

By Bryce Edmonds

It seems a new form of an ancient healing technique can hone in on carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) pain like a laser. New research shows that laser acupuncture—stimulating acupuncture points with laser light instead of needles—can ease the aching and tingling caused when the median nerve in the carpal tunnel is compressed.

Martha Howard, MD, founder and medical director of Wellness Associates of Chicago, says laser acupuncture can work well partly because it’s painless and doesn’t involve needles. “Even though acupuncture needles used on the hand and wrist are generally very small, people who are already in pain with CTS may not want to have needles used on that area,” she says.

When it comes to preventing CTS and keeping pain from worsening, Howard suggests the “big three”: proper workstation ergonomics; arm and hand exercises; and general inflammation prevention, including diet changes to help prevent flare-ups from potential food allergies.

“The simplest tip for avoiding CTS is to push your computer keyboard back and rest your arms—all the way up to the elbows—on your desk as you type,” says Howard. The strain of holding your arms up while typing is a major cause of CTS.