Trigger finger, or stenosing tenosynovitis, is a condition characterized by pain, stiffness, and a locking or catching sensation in one or more fingers. This common issue occurs when the tendons that help bend the fingers become inflamed and thickened, making it difficult for them to glide smoothly. While conventional treatments like corticosteroid injections, splinting, or surgery are often recommended, alternative therapies such as acupuncture and moxibustion have shown promise in treating trigger finger. This article will explore how these ancient Chinese medicine practices can provide relief and promote healing for those suffering from this condition.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to alleviate pain, restore balance, and promote overall well-being. The practice is based on the belief that the body’s vital energy, or qi, flows through channels called meridians. When this flow is disrupted, pain and illness can result. By stimulating specific acupuncture points, practitioners aim to restore the flow of qi and provide relief.
In the case of trigger finger, acupuncture can help by:
- Reducing Inflammation: Acupuncture is known to stimulate the release of natural anti-inflammatory substances in the body such as adenosine. This can help reduce the inflammation in the affected tendons, facilitating smoother tendon movement and alleviating pain.
- Improving Blood Flow: Acupuncture can also enhance blood circulation in the affected area, delivering essential nutrients and oxygen to the inflamed tendons, promoting healing.
- Relaxing Muscles and Softening Tendons: Trigger finger is often exacerbated by muscle tension and tendon stiffness. Acupuncture can help relax the muscles and soften tendons surrounding the affected finger, reducing strain and allowing for smoother movement.
- Pain Relief: Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, providing immediate relief from pain associated with trigger finger.
Moxibustion is another traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves burning dried mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) on or near the skin to stimulate specific acupuncture points. This therapy is believed to warm the meridians, expel cold, and promote the smooth flow of qi and blood.
When applied to trigger finger treatment, moxibustion can:
- Enhance Acupuncture Effects: Moxibustion can be used in conjunction with acupuncture to increase its therapeutic effects. The warmth generated by moxibustion can further relax muscles and tendons, reduce inflammation, and improve blood flow.
- Relieve Stiffness: The heat from moxibustion can help alleviate stiffness in the affected finger, allowing for improved mobility and reduced pain.
- Boost Immune Function: Moxibustion is believed to improve immune function, which can aid in the body’s natural healing process and prevent future occurrences of trigger finger.
Although acupuncture and moxibustion are not as widely recognized as conventional treatments for trigger finger, they can offer a natural, non-invasive alternative for those seeking relief. By addressing the underlying imbalances that contribute to the condition, these therapies can not only help alleviate pain and stiffness but also promote overall health and well-being. If you are considering acupuncture and moxibustion for trigger finger treatment, start today by contacting us.