Has your hand, wrist or arm ever felt pain, numbness, and/or tingling which interferes and limits your activities? Well, it could mean you are dealing with more than just muscle ache. These symptoms are characteristics associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). This syndrome affects approximately 10 % of the United States population according to the American Academy of Osteopathic Surgeons and has expanded to epidemic proportions. The following will tell you how it affects you, what you can do, how to prevent it and a self massage tip to ease the symptoms.
Who is affected:
It’s a common work-related repetitive-motion injury; for example clicking your mouse, knitting and typing. Other professionals at high risk are massage therapists, bakers, cooks, string musicians, and check-out clerks.
How does it affect your posture?
Muscle imbalances are the cause of most biomechanical disorders in the body. (CTS) is an imbalance of the wrist and hand and can be the primary cause or can result into secondary problems like shoulder impingement syndrome or ThoracicOutletSyndrome read more on repetitive strain injury.
- Signs and Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) Include:
Nighttime painful tingling in one or both hands, often disturbing sleep
Daytime tingling in the hands, followed by a decreased ability to squeeze things
Pain shooting from the hand up the arm as far as the shoulder
A feeling of uselessness in the fingers
A sense that fingers are swollen, even though little or no swelling is outwardly apparent
Tingling and burning in the thumb and first three fingers
Inability to perform simple manual tasks, such as picking up small objects
Loss of strength in the thenar muscle at the base of the thumb near the palm
What can you do?
The care for Carpel Tunnel can include wrist splints, stretching and your physician can prescribe anti inflammatory drugs or corticosteroids injections. If none of them are effective as a last resort surgical treatment can be the next step.
Now these are traditional treatments and a number of them have been studied but not proven to be highly effective in treating the problem. Don’t lose hope there is an alternative!
The alternative treatment:
In general, massage is believed to support healing, boost energy, reduce recovery time after an injury, ease pain, and enhance relaxation, mood, and well-being. So why wouldn’t it help relieve your pain and symptoms, as well as improve grip strength for those enduring Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
The Touch Research Institute in Miami, FL investigates the physiological effects of massage therapy they have recently studied the effectiveness of massage in treating a number of nerve compression pathologies.
Their findings indicate that massage therapy is effective in reducing pain and improving various symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Other studies have found it can also increase grip strength and improvements lasted for at least four weeks after treatment.
Self Help Tip:
A simple, self-performed “wrist-wringing” technique may also help to ease congestion in the wrist and encourage fluid movement in the joints. The technique, a person clasps one wrist with the other hand and massages it in a circular movement. Avoid movements that are painful and exercise the hands and arms gently to stretch them.
Proper body mechanics are key to preventing carpal tunnel syndrome:
Exercise, stay at a healthy weight, control other health conditions such as arthritis and diabetes, and avoid smoking. Evaluate your daily routing, focus on how your workstation is set up, including the placement of your desk, computer monitor, paperwork, chair, and associated tools, such as a computer keyboard and mouse. Take frequent breaks from activities to rest, stretch, change positions, or alternate with another activity.
Feel free to share what your experience has been with (CTS) or any helpful tips you can suggest.
References: Field, T., Diego, Miguel, Cullen, Christy, Hartshorn, Kristin, Gruskin, Alan, Hernandez-Reif, Maria,Sunshine, William. (2004). Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms are lessened following massage therapy. Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies, 8, 9-14.
Institute for Integrative Healthcare Studies (2005)