Opening Up to Relief
They were awkward, all right. But Richard Comstock wasn't about to
part with his doctor-prescribed wrist splints, weapons in the fight against
his painful, hand-numbing case of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
He wasn't about to abandon hope for a vitamin cure, either. So when the
Scotia, New York, resident read that vitamin B6 might be the light at the
end of his CTS pain, he combined treatments.
That was more than a decade ago. He's still taking his trusty vitamin
B6, but Comstock's severe carpal tunnel pain is long gone. And so are
the wrist splints. 'Every once in a while, I'll have a little problem, but it
doesn't keep me awake at night like it used to,' says the retired utility
Comstock may have been way ahead of his time. Even though over
100,000 carpal tunnel surgeries are performed each year, doctors who
prefer a less drastic solution are slowly beginning to add vitamin B6 to
their treatment regimens. 'For those people who don't seem to have
serious problems, I normally recommend they wear splints at night, take
an anti-inflammatory and use B6 for at least two weeks,' says Gary
Tunell, M.D., chief of neurology at Baylor University Medical Center in
Dallas. Dr. Tunell estimates that 40 to 50 percent of people with CTS
could experience some improvement using this therapy.
Some doctors are even more enthusiastic about the use of vitamin B6 for
CTS. 'Somewhere around 90 percent of carpal tunnel cases can be cured
by B6,' says John Marion Ellis, M.D., a retired Mount Pleasant, Texas,
family practitioner who has conducted studies and written papers about
B6 and who has been researching the link between B6 deficiency and
CTS for more than 30 years.
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