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fascia and nerve entrapment in the hand

Although I don’t use it nearly as much as I used to (the TISSUE REMODELING gets better / quicker results for most of the problems I treat), was certified in acupuncture by the late Dr. Jon Sunderledge of the Chicago area back in ’90 or ’91.  One of the first points that budding acupuncturists learn is Large Intestine 4 (LI4) — the fourth point on the meridian for the large bowel, which sits in the area of the web of the thumb. 

It is not only the Source Point for the large intestine meridian, it’s the Command Point for the head and face — important if you deal with GUT HEALTH ISSUES or with SKULL OR FACE PAIN.   In fact, most of you have heard that if you rub this point it can help relieve a HEADACHE.  Not only is this true for many people (try it), but it’s a point that can be used for pain anywhere in the body (WARNING: Do Not Stimulate This Point if You are Pregnant as it’s used in Chinese acupuncture to induce labor).

A brand new study published yesterday by German and Canadian researchers in the Scandinavian Journal of Pain (Pain in the Hand Caused by a Previously Undescribed Mechanism with Possible Relevance for Understanding Regional Pain) shows yet again how related FASCIA is to any number of anatomical or physiological subjects.  In this observational study, a group of people with pain on the ulnar side of their hand (the karate chop or pinky side) were found to have increased sensitivity in the area of LI4 — the opposite side of the hand. 

When the doctors injected LI4 they noted that all the patients got better, indicating a “possible entrapment of a terminal branch of ulnar nerve piercing the fascia in the first interphalangeal webspace“.  In other words, these people had restricted fascia in the tissue between their thumb and pointer finger that the authors found to be irritating the other side of the hand via a process of NERVE ENTRAPMENT.

“The location of possible nerve entrapment corresponds with an acupuncture point LI4 and may additionally represent a previously undescribed myofascial trigger point.  The suggested mechanism of ulnar sided hand pain represents a miniature chronic constriction injury similar to the animal model of neuropathic pain and may have relevance for regional pain elsewhere in the body.”

This is not only part of the reason that acupuncture has proved effective for any number of problems over the course of thousands of years, it also helps explain why DRY NEEDLING (needling without injecting anything) has proved helpful for various sorts of MYOFASCIAL PROBLEMS AND TRIGGER POINTS as well.  If you read any of DR. LANGEVIN’S WORK (she is a neurologist and researcher at Harvard), you have at least some degree of understanding of why this might be the case. And if you are appreciating the free information on our site, be sure to take a look at our FACEBOOK PAGE and show us some love while you’re there.


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