Is dry needling an effective treatment for carpal tunnel?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is caused by pressure on the median nerve that runs through the hand and into the forearm. When the pressure on this nerve is severe enough, it can cause tingling and numbness. These sensations and pain occur in the hand and fingers.

While there are many treatments available for carpal tunnel syndrome, many people have turned to dry needling as an effective treatment. This medical technique is designed to immediately reduce pain and muscle tension. People who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome often want quick, effective relief options, and dry needling may fit that description. Learn more about carpal tunnel and dry needling to find out if this treatment is right for you.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when the median nerve becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage at the base of the hand that contains the median nerve. This nerve is important because it provides feeling throughout the hand and controls some muscles. When the median nerve is compressed, it can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and fingers, as well as weakness in the hand.

Carpal tunnel syndrome has many causes, usually related to lifestyle. It is often work related, and may be something that occupational therapy can treat. People who spend their working hours at a computer are especially at risk, due to the pressure put on the wrists when sitting at a desk without good posture. One of the most popular treatments people turn to for carpal tunnel syndrome is dry needling.

What is dry needling?

Dry needling is a type of therapy that involves inserting needles into target points on the body. This technique is performed by a skilled physical therapy specialist on-site. Dry needling is designed to treat a variety of conditions ranging from chronic injuries to fibromyalgia. It is called “dry” needling because no medication is injected into the body. The needles used are empty. Though it is often compared with acupuncture, dry needling for carpal tunnel is a completely different technique. In contrast to many acupuncture practices, dry needling is based on rigorous medicinal principles and research.

Dry needling works by targeting trigger points in the body — these are areas of muscle or tissue that are tender to the touch and vulnerable to pain. By inserting needles into these points, the body’s natural healing response can be stimulated. This can improve circulation and reduce inflammation. Dry needling is not a painful process, though you may experience quick “twitch responses” to the needle insertions. Dry needling is effective in its own right, but it works even better in conjunction with other physical therapy treatment methods.

Benefits of dry needling for carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Reduced pain — When combined with traditional physical therapy and advanced manual therapy techniques, dry needling has had success treating most pain-related problems in the body. Dry needling for carpal tunnel syndrome targets the area around the median nerve to provide immediate pain relief. Because dry needling targets the physical cause of your symptoms, it provides pain relief that can last.
  • Improved motion — Besides nerve pain, one of the most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome is stiffness. In severe cases, it can limit control over fingers. Nerve obstruction limits motion in the hand and often comes with sensations of numbness. With dry needling, you can regain movement by freeing nerves from their obstructions. Dry needling can help reduce inflammation, which can directly reduce pressure on the median nerve.
  • Noninvasive treatment — Dry needling for carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the least invasive treatment options. One benefit is allowing the patient to avoid surgery. Though some people resort to surgery to treat their carpal tunnel syndrome, it comes with risks. More than a third of surgery patients do not return to work within eight weeks after an operation. Because of the risks and recovery time associated with surgery, less invasive treatments are preferred by most patients. Dry needling is a powerful technique for those who want quick relief with short recovery time.

Excel PT can address your carpal tunnel syndrome with dry needling

If dry needling is right for your carpal tunnel syndrome, the skilled physical therapy specialists at Excel Sports & Physical Therapy can help you find relief. Carpal tunnel syndrome can make the tasks of everyday life more difficult. Start your path to recovery with our expert guidance and treatment.

Contact our team today for more information about our dry needling therapy or to schedule an initial appointment.