Lack Of Sleep Can Lead To Various Health Problems

Natural Remedies For Insomnia In Bellmore, NY - Ni Nan Healing Art Center

Causes Of Insomnia

If you don’t get enough sleep, you’re not alone. More than one third of American adults get less than the seven hours of sleep recommended to maintain overall health and well-being. While insomnia is a primary reason that many people don’t get enough sleep, there are a number of other factors that can keep you from getting a full night of peaceful slumber. Among them are shift work, caffeine or alcohol intake, jet lag, stress, pain conditions, medication side effects, and pets.

Chronic lack of sleep can raise your risk for a wide variety of health problems. People who short change their sleep are at greater risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. In addition about 90 percent of people who don’t sleep enough also have one or more other health problems. Sleeplessness can aggravate depression, decrease your sex drive, and affect the hormones that regulate hunger and appetite, making you more prone to weight gain.

While you sleep, your body is rejuvenating itself, and so is your mind. Your brain consolidates memories while you’re sleeping, so a lack of sleep can affect your memory. This may translate into poor attention span, lack of concentration, and decreased alertness. As a result, people who are sleepy are at an increased risk for accidents. On the job, workers who don’t get enough sleep are 70 percent more likely to be involved in accidents than their well-rested counterparts. And lack of sleep was a factor in some of the world’s largest industrial accidents, including the Exxon Valdez oil spill and nuclear reactor meltdowns at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.

While there are a number of causes of sleeplessness, insomnia can be the most frustrating. You may put in the hours in bed, but still not get the sleep you need. And not all insomnia is created equal; you may struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, wake in the early hours long before your alarm goes off, or not get to sleep all night long.

Acupuncture For Insomnia

While many people take prescription medications to help them get a good night’s sleep, some balk at habitually having to take something to sleep every night. For that reason, many sleepy people have turned to acupuncture for help, and for a good reason. In a review of 46 studies on treating insomnia with acupuncture, researchers found that acupuncture was more effective that medications in increasing sleep duration.

There are a number of reasons that acupuncture can help you get a good night’s sleep. It stimulates the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for the surge of sleepiness that you get before bedtime. Acupuncture also increases the circulation of endorphins in your brain, which help to decrease anxiety, relieve stress, and help balance your mood. As a result, acupuncture is relaxing, helps to stimulate the onset of sleep, reduces episodes of sleep disruptions, and can relieve pain conditions that may be waking you at night.

If you struggle with sleep and decide to go the acupuncture route, your practitioner will take into account your sleep issues and health history, and then develop a treatment plan specific to your unique needs. In addition to acupuncture, they may incorporate an herbal prescription, dietary recommendations, or lifestyle modifications for the best results.

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Could Acupuncture be the Answer for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Relief In Bellmore, NY - Ni Nan Healing Art Center

Whenever I see a bank teller or cashier wearing a wrist brace, my first thought is that they’re suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. The nature of their work is repetitious and can be hard on their wrists and hands, and carpal tunnel syndrome is a common result.

What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a condition in which your median nerve becomes entrapped. This nerve runs throughout your arm, but near your wrist, it runs through what’s called the carpal tunnel, which is a narrow passageway at the base of your hand and wrist. When the tendons, ligaments, or tissue becomes irritated and swollen, the nerve becomes squeezed, causing symptoms not only in your wrist, but also in your hand.

The most common symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are numbness and tingling in the palm of your affected hand, which may extend to the thumb, index, and middle finger. People with CTS also describe burning, itching, pain, weakness, and in severe cases inability to use the affected hand and fingers. As with most nerve-related conditions, the symptoms tend to be worse during the night. In fact, many people with CTS describe early symptoms as a sensation of pins and needles or numbness that wake them up at night.

While carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused by a trauma, such as a broken bone or sprained wrist, the most common cause of this condition is performing repetitive motions. Twisting and turning your hand, working at a cash register or computer, or the use of hand tools are common culprits. However, being pregnant, having diabetes, an underactive thyroid, an overactive pituitary, or rheumatoid arthritis can also raise your risk for CTS.

How Can It Be Treated?

Traditional treatments for CTS include splinting the wrist (especially at night), avoiding overuse activities, physical therapy, Vitamin B6 supplementation, and over-the-counter or prescription medications for pain and inflammation. In some cases surgery is an option, in which the carpal tunnel is opened up to make more space for the nerve.

Acupuncture can also be an appropriate treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. In a 2017 study reported by the NIH (National Institutes of Health), researchers found that acupuncture produced measurable improvements in symptoms that the patients were experiencing. The results showed that acupuncture treatments exerted effects both locally, as well as in the pain center of the brain.

In Chinese medicine, carpal tunnel syndrome is diagnosed as something called a Bi (pronounced Bee) syndrome, which means that there’s some kind of obstruction in the affected joint. This simply means that the circulation of blood and the transmission of nerve impulses are blocked. An acupuncturist would further diagnose your CTS by the state of your overall health and the characteristics of your symptoms. For example, you may have more pain than numbness, your symptoms may be aggravated by changes in the weather, or they may come and go. Your CTS may feel better with the application of heat, pressure, ice, or being elevated. All of these are clues as to how to best treat your particular presentation of CTS.

In Chinese medicine, acupuncture is the first line of treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. Your practitioner may use electro-acupuncture, which provides a painless electrical current to the needles to enhance effectiveness. They may also prescribe an herbal formula, perform massage-like Tui Na, or recommend some at home rest or exercises as a part of your treatment plan. Their strategy for your treatment and the healing tools that they use will depend on the nature of your symptoms and your overall health.

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