Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and the Benefits of Massage Therapy

Do you have distressing numbness, tingling, or electric shock-like, sensations, in the first three digits of your hands? Do you experience these odd sensitivities, simply by doing mundane things, such as holding a newspaper, answering a cellphone, or simply typing? Do you find your predicament waking you throughout the night, and has it progressively grown far more cumbersome with each passing day? Read on, there is hope.  

The majority of those who develop carpal tunnel syndrome first observe it occurring in the hand of their dominant side, presenting itself with a slightly numb, and not so obvious, tingly feeling, within the first three digits. Oftentimes, it is also felt in half of the fourth digit, on the palmer side of the hand. This is most notable when the hand is held in a fixed position (not straight). These injuries usually arise from work-related repetitive stress, or as the result of changes during pregnancy, or in those who suffer with autoimmune conditions such as diabetes, or rheumatoid flare ups.   

The carpel tunnel is an opening formed by the carpel bones, found at the base of the wrist, involving the transverse carpel ligament which runs atop. The median nerve, as well as the flexor tendons, pass through the carpel tunnel. When this space is compressed, from inflammation, or other, it narrows the carpel tunnel, compressing the nerve, resulting in neurological symptoms.   

Can Massage Therapy help with treating this condition? 

Massage Therapy is ideal for releasing tension in hypertonic muscles, focusing on the forearm flexors, while using a series of specialized techniques. Massage Therapy treatment goals, for an acute flare up, would be aimed at minimizing any associated swelling, as well as resolving pain, using circulatory techniques. When the symptoms of carpel tunnel syndrome are expressing in a non-acute state, the Massage Therapist will then apply myofascial techniques, as well as trigger point therapy, joint play, and active, or passive stretches, in order to release muscle tension. These therapies improve range of motion, decrease pain, as well as neurological symptoms. 

Cupping therapy, along with muscle scraping, has proven itself to be rather beneficial in the treatment of Carpel Tunnel Syndrome. (Refer to cupping and muscle scraping in massage therapy section). Treatment of this condition can be more promising when proper home care is applied, which is provided by your Massage Therapist. This would include stretches, exercises, contrast therapy, as well as the use of hot and cold therapy, along with nerve flossing, and possibly, the additional use of a CT brace usually at night or while performing a task that may aggravate these symptoms.   

Miranda Watts, RMT