Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common repetitive strain injury (RSI). RSIs are any injuries that are caused by overuse or poor posture from repetitive activities.
The carpal tunnel is a passage formed by ligaments and bones on your wrist. The median nerve runs through this tunnel and controls feeling in your fingers and thumb. Unfortunately, this passage is narrow, so if tendons are stressed too much, they swell and cause symptoms such as:
- Pain in forearms, hands, or wrists
- Weakness in extremities
- Numbness and/or tingling in extremities
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may want to isolate the root cause of your carpal tunnel syndrome and seek treatment before the damage becomes severe.
What Causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Some people think that carpal tunnel syndrome only happens to athletes like cyclists who grip handlebars too hard. However, most RSIs today are caused by sedentary activities, like playing the piano or using computers. If you type a lot or play video games a lot, you can develop this syndrome.
Besides being an RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome can be indicative of another health issue, such as:
- Thyroid disorders
- Chronic stress or hypertension
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hormonal changes
Once you identify the root cause of your carpal tunnel syndrome, make changes such as taking breaks and stretching. Some people find relief with corticosteroids, ice packs, and wrist splints.
It's important to seriously address this problem; otherwise, you may have to have surgery to release pressure on the median nerve. One way to help early carpal tunnel issues is with massage.
Different Massage Modalities Can Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Studies have shown that massage therapy can be beneficial to those with carpal tunnel syndrome. Massage therapy can do the following:
- Lower blood pressure (which is great for carpal tunnel caused by hypertension)
- Reduce anxiety levels
- Reduce symptoms of arthritis
- Relax muscle tension
- Improve blood circulation and healing
You can try different massage modalities to help your symptoms, such as deep tissue massage and reflexology.
Deep Tissue Massage
While some therapies, like Swedish massage, use gentle gliding strokes, deep tissue therapy uses more pressure to penetrate deep layers of tendons and muscles. Deep tissue massage shouldn't be painful - you will likely feel that good hurt as if you were stretching muscles after a workout.
Deep tissue massage is incredibly effective for carpal tunnel patients because this type of massage can restore elasticity and range of motion in your wrists and forearms. Your therapist may even incorporate trigger-point therapy during deep tissue massage.
Some people call trigger points muscle knots, but they aren't knots at all. Trigger points are areas of fascia that are overly contracted. Your therapist can apply enough pressure so the fascia relaxes and glides easily over other muscle tissue.
You may have heard of reflexology, or zone therapy, for your feet, but this method can also be used on the hands. The theory is that areas on your hands and feet correspond to other bodily systems. As you apply pressure to certain areas, the rest of the body will heal.
Reflexology has been used in ancient medicine to alleviate stress. Reflexology also works great with essential oils if you enjoy calming scents.
One great thing about reflexology is that your therapist can teach you how to do reflexology at home. It's a low-cost way to find relief. Your therapist can show you how to apply pressure to points on the fingers, palm, and wrist.
Contact Oriental Massage & Spa today to set up a massage appointment. Massage therapy is a great non-invasive way to heal from carpal tunnel syndrome and ease pain.