Beyond Carpal Tunnel: Acupuncture for Post-Pregnancy Wrist Pain

Beyond Carpal Tunnel: Acupuncture for Post-Pregnancy Wrist Pain

Wrist pain after pregnancy is a common but often overlooked condition that can severely impact a new mother's quality of life. While most people are familiar with the typical back and hip aches associated with pregnancy and postpartum, wrist pain is a condition that receives far less attention. Acupuncture offers both symptomatic relief and underlying imbalances correction, making it an ideal treatment choice. This article delves into the specific acupuncture points, TCM patterns, and adjunct therapies to consider.


Three Leading Factors Contributing to Post-Pregnancy Wrist Pain

1. Hormonal Changes

The fluctuation in hormones during and after pregnancy can lead to joint laxity, causing pain in areas like the wrists.

2. Lifting and Holding

The constant lifting and holding of the newborn can exacerbate the strain on wrist joints and muscles.

3. Reduced Exercise

Limited mobility and exercise during late pregnancy and early postpartum can contribute to weak wrist and arm muscles, resulting in pain.


Specific Acupuncture Points for Wrist Pain

Lung Meridian:

  • LU9 (Tai Yuan): Located at the wrist crease, it helps to open up the Lung channel that traverses the arm and wrist.

Heart Meridian:

  • HT7 (Shen Men): Located on the ulnar side of the wrist crease, this point can alleviate emotional stress that might contribute to the pain.

Triple Energizer Meridian:

  • TE5 (Wai Guan): Located two finger-breadths above the wrist crease between the ulna and radius, this point is effective for localized wrist pain.

TCM Patterns and Post-Pregnancy Wrist Pain

Liver Blood Deficiency:

This pattern may manifest as wrist pain along with symptoms like pale complexion, fatigue, and dizziness.

  • Acupuncture Treatment: LV8 (Qu Quan) and SP6 (San Yin Jiao) to nourish blood.
  • TCM Formulas: Si Wu Tang to nourish Liver Blood.
  • Dietary Suggestions: Foods rich in iron and nutrients like dark leafy greens, beets, and red meat.

Qi and Blood Stagnation:

This pattern can cause sharp, stabbing pain at the wrist joint, often exacerbated by nighttime feeding or lifting.

  • Acupuncture Treatment: LI4 (He Gu) and PC6 (Nei Guan) to move Qi and blood.
  • TCM Formulas: Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang to invigorate blood and remove stagnation.
  • Dietary Suggestions: Foods that promote blood circulation like turmeric, ginger, and garlic.

Damp Accumulation:

Manifests as a heavy, dull ache and possible swelling in the wrist.

  • Acupuncture Treatment: SP9 (Yin Ling Quan) and ST40 (Feng Long) to transform dampness.
  • TCM Formulas: Ping Wei San to dry dampness.
  • Dietary Suggestions: Foods that can help to drain dampness like barley, pumpkin, and celery.


Wrist pain after pregnancy may be a common but understudied phenomenon that can seriously affect a new mother's well-being. Acupuncture, guided by the principles of TCM, offers a viable and effective treatment approach. Through understanding the underlying TCM patterns and utilizing specific acupuncture points, practitioners can provide significant relief and improvement in quality of life for their postpartum patients.

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