Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Massage Therapy Brings Carpal Tunnel Relief
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) can be treated with massage therapy and a series of exercises. I had been looking for carpal tunnel relief for some time, when I found this carpal tunnel cure. Taking the time to treat myself daily changed my life.
Although CTS is associated with computer work, there has been no scientific evidence to support that. Science does agree that CTS results from repetitive use of the hands and wrists that often put the wrists in awkward positions.
There is a small tunnel in the wrist that many tendons and the median nerve run through. This carpal tunnel is surrounded by bone on three sides and the fourth side is covered with a layer of fibrous tissue. If the tendons that run through this tunnel get swollen they compress the median nerve.
This nerve supplies the palm and fingers. When this nerve is compressed numbness, tingling or a burning sensation will occur in the palm and fingers. You will also experience a weakening grip. In severe cases, the muscles around the thumb will atrophy.
Women are about 3 times more likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome than men. This could be because women have a smaller carpal tunnel than men. Heredity also seems to play a role in whether or not you get this syndrome.
Conventional Carpal Tunnel Treatment
When you first notice that you have symptoms that are similar to carpal tunnel syndrome you probably went to the doctor to get a diagnosis. I recommend that even if you're planning to treat your carpal tunnel syndrome yourself, you should get an official diagnosis. You need to be sure that you're suffering from CTS and not wrist tendonitis.
If you have wrist tendonitis you'll experience pain and inflammation in the wrist along the tendons, but don't have any numbness and tingling, it's likely that you're experiencing wrist tendonitis instead of CTS.
There are a few things that are normally done to treat CTS. Let's look at what they are.
The first thing normally recommended for someone who is experiencing CTS is rest. Resting the area will provide you with carpal tunnel relief because it gives your wrist time to heal.
Ice can be used to reduce swelling and pain. You can ice the area for up to 15 minutes every hour.
If you're overweight, loosing those extra pounds will give you some carpal tunnel relief and may even get rid of them completely. Normally, CTS affects 10% of the population, but the syndrome actually affects 25% of the obese population. The exact reason for the link between CTS and obesity is unknown.
Splints and Braces
To discourage you from bending your wrist in a way that pinches the nerve in the wrist associated with CTS many doctors recommend that you wear a wrist splint or brace. Wrist splints keep your wrists straight and prevent you from bending them. This will help prevent you from performing a motion that pinches the nerve.
Wearing a splint at night is a good idea. It'll help keep you from bending your wrist while you sleep. Wearing the splint all the time though will cause an imbalance in the muscles of the wrist. That imbalance will worsen the problem in the long run.
Taking anti-inflammatories will reduce your pain and swelling but they aren't a carpal tunnel syndrome cure. They give you carpal tunnel relief by treating the symptoms, but don't address the root cause. Taking anti-inflammatories for a long period of time will cause negative side effects, like ulcers.
You're experiencing pain, numbness and discomfort because there's something wrong. If you take anti-inflammatories to dull the pain there is still something wrong you just can't feel it. Even worse, because you can't feel it you can continue to do the motion that caused your injury in the first place making it worse.
These injections may give you much needed carpal tunnel relief temporarily, but once they wear off the pain returns. Again this is treating the symptoms without really addressing the cause of the problem.
CTS surgery should be a last resort. For the surgery the doctor cuts the fibrous band of tissue in the wrist that bridges the median nerve and the tendons that run to the hand. This gives the nerve and tendons more space to move around. With all surgeries there are risks.
Once the surgery is over you'll need six weeks to recover. You'll also have to get some physical therapy to help you regain wrist strength.
Massage and CTS
The Touch Institute in Miami did a study on massage and carpal tunnel syndrome. In the study the control group received standard treatment for CTS. The massage group received an hour long massage once a week for 4 weeks. They were also instructed in self massage and told to massage themselves each night before bed. At the end of the study the massaged group had significantly less pain and fewer symptoms. They also had increased grip strength.
A couple of years into my massage career, I started suffering from the early stages of CTS. At the time I did a lot of hand intensive activities. I would do an average of 4 hour long massages a day. Then I would come home and type for a few hours, because I was doing freelance writing at the time also. I was also growing dread locks and would twist the roots of my dreads while I watched television at night. You've got to admit that's a pretty hands intensive day!
I started getting a burning sensation in my palms and numbness in my fingers. I remember going to the gas station one day and not being about to grip the pump to pump gas into my car. That's when I decided that I needed to do something.
I cut back on my massage schedule a little and started massaging my forearms and hands daily. I bought an ergonomic keyboard and paid close attention to the way I positioned my wrists when I typed.
I also started doing yoga regularly. Yoga is a great form of exercise that is also therapeutic. It can help heal the mind as well as the body. Here's a great site about yoga and meditation if you want to find out more.
Doing a combination of all of these things helped me get rid of my carpal tunnel syndrome. I've written about the techniques I used to get rid of my CTS in my ebook, A Self Care Guide to CTS.
If you notice you are getting these symptoms, you must act immediately. CTS is a progressive disease. It won't go away if you ignore it. A combination of good diet, exercise, awareness of posture, and massage can stop it from progressing.
Want to Learn More?
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