Can Acupuncture Help Trigger Finger?


We rely on our hands to do everything, from typing and texting to cooking and cleaning. But, in spite of how often we use them, we tend to forget about them. The fact is, our hands take on a lot of wear and tear. Over time, many of us develop repetitive stress injuries in our hands. One common ailment is trigger finger, a painful condition that can make something as simple as opening and closing your hand a challenge. If you have this condition and you’re looking to improve the function and comfort of your hands, you may be wondering, can acupuncture help trigger finger?

Studies have shown that acupuncture is an effective alternative treatment for trigger finger. Acupuncture lowers inflammation and swelling of the tendon sheath, effectively reducing the pain and stiffness associated with trigger finger.

How can acupuncture help trigger finger?

Also known as stenosing tenosynovitis, trigger finger is a condition that can affect the fingers and thumb. Trigger finger occurs when the sheath surrounding the tendon that controls a finger becomes inflamed. The tendon can no longer fit comfortably through the sheath, leading to stiffness, discomfort, and reduced flexibility. Patients with trigger finger may find the affected finger gets stuck in a closed position as if it were squeezing a trigger, and has to be straightened out manually. It’s not unusual for a trigger finger to pop or make a clicking sound when it’s used, even if it doesn’t lock up. Other symptoms of trigger finger include pain, swelling, tenderness, warmth, and redness.

Trigger finger can affect any finger, but it is most often seen in the ring finger and the thumb. Women are at a greater risk of developing trigger finger than men, particularly if they have an underlying condition. Trigger finger is associated with certain health issues, like hypothyroidism, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Trigger finger can be confounding for those who suffer from it. But, fortunately, acupuncture can help tremendously. Acupuncture has been proven to reduce the swelling surrounding the synovial sheath in cases of trigger finger, which helps restore normal function. By fighting inflammation naturally, acupuncture is a drug-free supportive measure for trigger finger that can safely be used alongside more conventional treatment options. 

How can you tell if you need acupuncture for trigger finger?

Since acupuncture is so effective at reducing pain and inflammation, it can be used to treat trigger finger at any stage of the condition, whether you only have mild stiffness or you’re struggling with severe impairment. Acupuncture is a non-invasive treatment that has no side effects, so it’s safe to use at any time.

If your trigger finger is still in the early stages, or if you have a family history of trigger finger and you want to get out in front of it, so to speak, then acupuncture may be the only treatment you need. Regular sessions can improve the function of healthy hands, reduce the strain that is placed on them, and allow you to continue using them comfortably without having to rely on pain medications. 

Patients with moderate cases of trigger finger can also benefit from acupuncture as a supportive measure. Acupuncture helps keep swelling down and stimulates blood flow to the injured tendons to encourage healing. In the most severe cases, however, surgery may be necessary to restore the proper function of the hands. But even in these instances, acupuncture can still be used, both pre and post-op, to ameliorate pain and stiffness.

How many acupuncture sessions are needed to treat trigger finger?

Because trigger finger is a repetitive stress injury, it can be tough to cure — especially if you’re unable or unwilling to give up the activities that contributed to it in the first place. But, in most cases, trigger finger can be successfully managed with rest, splinting or bracing to immobilize the affected finger(s), and pain medications. Because acupuncture is so effective at reducing inflammation and swelling, it can help trigger finger patients reduce their reliance on pain medications. In some cases, regular acupuncture sessions can delay surgery, or even eliminate the need for it. 

If you struggle with trigger finger on a daily basis, you’ll likely require regular acupuncture sessions. Flare-ups can be treated as symptoms appear, with a few tune-ups every now and then to keep the condition at bay. Minor cases of trigger finger may only need weekly appointments, but severe cases may require a more aggressive treatment approach. Your acupuncturist will be able to help you create a treatment program that reduces your symptoms so you can regain comfortable use of your hands and prevent your trigger finger from worsening.

How long does it take for acupuncture to help with trigger finger?

A single acupuncture session can provide you with relief for trigger finger, but ongoing treatments have the potential to improve your symptoms even more. Acupuncture’s effects are often immediate. Many patients struggling with trigger finger report a rapid improvement in their symptoms. That’s because acupuncture helps release built-up tension, making stiff tendons and ligaments more flexible shortly after your session. Because acupuncture improves blood flow, it will reduce swelling and inflammation in the hours following your appointment, so you can continue to enjoy the treatment’s benefits long after your session. 

Booking an acupuncture appointment for trigger finger

At Orlando Alternative Health, we treat our patients on a case-by-case basis. Since trigger finger can be influenced by a variety of factors, including repetitive stress, lifestyle, and diet, we may utilize a variety of treatment methods to help you cope. Acupuncture is a fantastic supportive measure that can make a huge difference in the comfort and function of your hands. But nutrition therapy can further reduce inflammation, and certain Chinese herbal blends can improve your range of motion as well.
Contact our office today to learn more about how acupuncture can help treat trigger finger. We will work with you to create a protocol that focuses on reducing pain and inflammation naturally so you can get back to your favorite hobbies without being held back by pain.

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