Is it really Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Many people in San Diego are needlessly suffering from Carpal Tunnel whether from overuse or injury carpal tunnel syndrome is simply compression of the median nerve resulting in a loss of sensation or pain and tingling in several fingers of the hand. If you think you have carpal tunnel syndrome be sure to check the full list of carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms below to rule out a possible case of Thoracic Outlet syndrome.
What does Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Feel like?
-Numbness/tingling in the fingers (think pins and needles)
-Weakness in the fingers or grip
-Pain in the fingers
-Symptoms in only the Thumb, Index Finger, Middle Finger and the lateral half of the Ring Finger
-Your Pinky Finger should feel fine (it’s nerve is not usually affected by carpal tunnel syndrome, if all your fingers are affected check out Thoracic Outlet syndrome)
Why do we get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The carpal tunnel is the opening in the wrist between the carpal bones and the flexor retinaculum, a band of connective tissue that keeps the tendons from pulling away from your body when you flex your wrist. Many of the tendons, nerves and blood vessels that allow your hands to function run through this tunnel, unfortunately the tunnel is not very large!
When the muscles of the hand and forearm get to tight, from either repetitive motions, a lack of stretching, or a strength imbalance they begin to become inflamed and swell taking up the small amount of “extra” space which normally allows the tendons to slide freely, the nerves to send signals properly, and the blood flow to move at the proper level. This inflamati can cause pain, swelling, and ultimately cause an entrapment of the Median Nerve causing numbness in the wrists or hands.
How does massage help recover from Carpal Tunnel?
The first step in successfully relieving carpal tunnel is loosen/relax the muscles of the forearm, we do this because these are the muscles which largely control the movement of the hand and wrist and when tight place tremendous pressure on the wrist and the carpal tunnel.
Second we will loosen/relax the muscles of the hand, concentrating mostly on two muscle, opponens pollicus and abductor pollicus brevis which together pull the thumb closer to the mid-line of the hand. Chronic over use from typing, texting, holding the steering wheel, book or pen makes the muscles in the front of the hand and arm much stronger and tighter than the muscles on the back side. This imbalance causes the hand to stay in a semi-clenched state allowing the transverse carpel ligament to gradually shorten in on itself effectively shrinking your “carpel tunnel” and causing irritation when the tendons lacking sufficient space begin to rub against other structures and become inflamed. Add a little time and you’ve got a case of carpel tunnel syndrome.
Once massage is used to open and stretch the wrist flexors and hand muscles a simple regimen of stretching the forearm and hand flexors and strengthening the extensors will be needed for continued relief from Carpal Tunnel syndrome symptoms.
How to prevent carpal tunnel?
-change typing/working habits and use a neutral wrist position
-stretch forearm, hand, and shoulder muscles
-strengthen wrist and finger Extensors
Stretches and exercises for Carpal Tunnel Prevention
Massage therapists at A New Body Massage are all trained to access and help you recover from Carpal Tunnel and other wrist and hand related repetitive stress injuries