I have carpel tunnel syndrome starting after I had a fall and broke by shoulder. Pain in my neck shoulder upper and lower arm ending in my hand. Can acupuncture help?

Q. I have carpel tunnel syndrome starting after I had a fall and broke by shoulder. Pain in my neck shoulder upper and lower arm ending in my hand. Can acupuncture help?

A. We are sorry to hear of your predicament. As our factsheet on carpal tunnel syndrome shows

https://www.acupuncture.org.uk/a-to-z-of-conditions/a-to-z-of-conditions/3629-acupuncture-and-carpal-tunnel-syndrome.html

there is a growing body of evidence which suggests that acupuncture treatment may be effective. This certainly reflects our clinical practice where we invariably see some change and improvement, although the extent and sustainability are an issue. If improvements only last a short while then there may come a point where we have to question the value of continued treatment.

However, from what you describe, it may not be the 'traditional' version of carpal tunnel problems which the research reflects. Damage to a shoulder which appears to be reflecting down the whole arm would suggest that something about the injury has, from our Chinese medicine perspective, caused some enduring blockages in the flow of energy, or 'qi' as we call it. Even from a conventional medicine perspective there may have been and may still be some value to be had from a neurological assessment to see whether and where there may be impingement of the nerves traversing the shoulder joint. This is a notoriously difficult joint to manage, insofar as the slightest change or variation in the muscles and tendons can cause problems in both directions, and it is almost impossible to go through daily life while resting it as much as may be needed.

The strength of Chinese medicine is that it looks at problems like this in the overall context of someone's health. There may be other more systemic factors in play which have weakened the body's ability to recover, and we consider it a major part of our task not simply to get rid of symptoms but to ensure that they do not return by strengthening the constitutional energy of the person. Making this judgement, whether a symptom is just what it is or whether it is a reflection of the body's inability to heal, is at the core of our work.

The best that we can advise is that you visit a local BAcC member for a brief chat about what may be possible. Most of our colleagues are happy to give up a few moments without charge to prospective patients to ensure that they are properly informed before committing to treatment. This means that you will also be able to meet them and see where they work, which is always a good way of setting off.

Post a question

If you have any questions about acupuncture, browse our archive or ask an expert.

Ask an expert

BAcC Factsheets

Research based factsheets have been prepared for over 60 conditions especially for this website

Browse the facts