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Carpal tunnel and gout.

Q:  I have carpal tunnel in my right arm {mild}, gout in my right knee and both ball joints on my feet,{not too severe}


A:  As our factsheets show please click here


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there isn't a great deal of evidence in research studies for the use of acupuncture in the treatment of either of these conditions.
As far as both are concerned, however, it is important to recognise that Chinese medicine has existed as a system for over 2000 years and addressed problems like these long before there was the kind of knowledge of the internal workings of the body which we have today. The underlying theories of Chinese medicine are premised on the flow of energy, called 'qi', in the body whose balance, rhythms and smooth flow are integral to good health. Once this flow is interrupted by illness, lifestyle or accident/injury symptoms will develop.
In these terms the practitioner of Chinese medicine will often look at how a symptom presents in a very literal way. Carpal tunnel syndrome would be described as a blockage of flow in a channel leading to weakness and pain, and gout might be seen as a mixture of heat and consolidation in a joint. In either case treatment might be aimed both locally where the problem manifests, and systemically if the practitioner believes that there are more widespread imbalances in the system of which the specific problems are simply the first manifestation.
However, it is fair to say that trying to treat acute gout is not the easiest thing in the world to do, and by the time it has become a very acute and painful condition some form of anti-inflammatory medication may be essential alongside any attempts to use acupuncture as a treatment. For the more chronic cases management of diet and a regular dose of medication like allopurinol is an effective way of keeping the condition at bay, and treating with acupuncture alone does carry the risk that an acute episode may develop after it is too late to administer prophylactic medicine. However, this is something which a practitioner would ned to discuss with you face to face in order to assess your case in the round, including lifestyle factors.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is another matter, however. There are a number of short term treatments, like splints for sleeping, which can keep the condition at bay before surgery is the best and only option, and if you did decide to have acupuncture the condition does have very clear and measurable outcomes to enable you to assess whether the treatment is working.
In both cases, though, the presentations of the condition are so specific to the wider patterns of someone's health, heredity and lifestyle that it would be better to seek the advice of a BAcC member local to you face to face for them to be able to assess whether acupuncture treatment might offer you some relief, and the extent to which the problems might be amenable to treatment.     

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