What is Carpal Tunnel?
A carpal tunnel is the inflammation of the entrapment of nerves within the carpal tunnel or the anterior wrist.
Symptoms can cause pain, numbness and tingling in the hand difficulty grasping or carry objects and sometimes hand pain.
The causes of carpal tunnel are often associated with repetitive motion such as working at a computer all day. It is most often considered a repetitive strain or overuse injury but genetics and disease processes can contribute to the symptoms too.
People with smaller carpal tunnels, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis to name a few can all play a part.
With the understanding of anatomy and physiology, and knowing the specific structures involved, a massage therapist can help relieve the symptoms by applying massage therapy techniques to help resolve the problem.
The initial assessment is critical such as location, pain, numbness and the initial onset of the duration of symptoms and activities that exacerbate the symptoms and prior treatment.
Evaluation test like the Phalen's or Tinel's for the wrist can be helpful in developing a comprehensive treatment plan. It is important o also assess the pronator taries, the shoulder and the cervical region for compression along the medial nerve. Especially if they have a history of neck and shoulder injuries or perform repetive movement on a daily basis.
Assessing before and after treatment by asking before and after questions related to clients activities of daily living, like were you able to sleep better without pain or whether you can hold a glass of water without dropping it are important.
How Massage Can Help?
Typically, when a client has carpal tunnel syndrome the other muscles are out of balance. The arm is usually in a torsion pattern with an internal rotation of the shoulder and arm. Because the nerve that supplies the sensation in the carpal tunnel originates in the neck and shoulder, it is important to release the entire nerve pathway of the shoulder, the full arm and the hand. And bring the arm and shoulder out of internal rotation my myofascial release.