Content originally published on www.balancepointokanagan.com
If you experience pain and numbness and tingling in your hands, especially at night, you may have what is called Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). Carpal tunnel is one of the most common hand conditions.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is a structure in the wrist where different tendons and the median nerve pass through. Compression of the median nerve causes the numbness and tingling in the thumb, middle and index fingers, and half of the ring finger.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is due to:
What causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Repetitive movements such as:
How can massage therapy help?
From Stephanie LeClair, RMT at Balance Point Integrative Medicine:
“In several cases where I have treated carpal tunnel syndrome I look at the muscles and structures that can compress the median nerve starting where the nerve exits the spinal cord. One often-overlooked area of compression of the median nerve is at the elbow. Here there is a muscle called the Pronator Teres and when it gets tight from using our forearms it can also compress the median nerve and cause carpal tunnel-like symptoms. Surgery for carpal tunnel can be avoided when these muscles are properly treated.
After doing a full assessment of a patient with carpal tunnel syndrome I treat the areas of compression of the median nerve using a variety of techniques including myofascial release, neuromuscular release techniques, manual lymph drainage, stretching and strengthening, and hydrotherapy. I see significant improvement even after one or two treatments.”
Testimonial about massage therapy treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
“I had an extreme flare up of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 2 and a half years ago, although the signs had been there for several years already and I had chosen at the time to ignore them. When the pain and numbness was so awful that I had to finally do something about it, I started with research online, and felt the best place to start was physiotherapy. I was told to use braces while working, which were uncomfortable, and also at night while sleeping, which were more comfortable. I was given nerve glide exercises, told to do contrast soaks once a day for a total of 15 minutes, plus was taking high dosages of Advil for the anti-inflammatory. This all helped, and my symptoms decreased. I continued to use the nighttime splints, and still do. Over time, I started to have stomach issues which I think are related to the over use of Advil. I occasionally take a prescription anti-inflammatory which helps but does not work as well as Advil.
A little over a month ago, I had another major flare up and felt it was time to try something more. I decided to try massage, even though the research I had done online stated that some people claimed it was helpful, but led me to believe that it wouldn't be a significant improvement. I have now had 3 massage treatments aimed specifically at treating the carpal tunnel and wish I had tried sooner. I felt a big improvement immediately and in the days following. I would not be able to continue working as a caterer had I not done this. I recommend that everyone suffering from carpal tunnel try massage to help treat it. I am continuing to do the stretches my massage therapist, Stephanie Leclair gave me to do, as well as the contrast soaks and am feeling so much better.
Thank you so so much Stephanie!
Rattray, F., & Ludwig, L. (2005). Clinical Massage Therapy: Understanding, Assessing,and Treating Over 70 Conditions (11th printing).
Elora, Ontario: Talus Incorporated.
Carpal tunnel syndrome. Median nerve dysfunction; Median nerve entrapment. A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. 2010. Online.
Luchetti, R. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. 2007. Online. http://www.springerlink.com.proxy.lib.uwaterloo.ca/content/978-3-540-22387-0/contents