This article title was brought to me from an acquaintances daughter whom I ran into at a local brewery, mentioning that I was having a hard time figuring out how to start my article for this syndrome, and she right away blurted out that a lot of people take a lot of selfies and are complaining of wrist problems, as she is going to college to become a P.A. So here starts my article…
In the newer generations of our world, technology has blossomed and carpal tunnel syndrome is becoming more and more. So instead of surgery right away, why not massage! As a massage therapist, these are my thoughts on where to begin and where to end In this article.
A client comes to me and complains of pain, tingling, and numbness in their right wrist and fingers.
I asked the client:
- How long have the symptoms occurred
- Do they remember what they were doing when they first noticed the symptoms
- Is there anything they do that makes the symptoms worse
- Is there anything that makes the symptoms feel better
- Do they notice if the pain is worse in the morning or night
- What do they do for a living
- What kind of activities do they do in a days time
Next, I did some assessments as the client actively performed the tasks: A asked them to:
- Raise their arm straight in front of them in a sagittal plane, asking if there was any pain and if so where
- Raise their arm abducting it out to the side, asking if there is any pain and if so where
- Raise arm straight up in the air towards the ceiling, asking if there is any pain and if so where
Next, with the client in a seated position, draped properly, I started palpating their right side of the neck at C5, 6 & 7, while doing so, I communicated with my client asking if they are experiencing any shooting pain, tingling or numbness, and if so, where. As I kept palpating, I traveled inferiorly to the Levator Scapula, the Rhomboids Minor and Major, back superiorly to the Supraspinatus and anteriorly to the three Scalenes out laterally and inferiorly to the Pectoralis Minor, out laterally to the Deltoid fibers, heading distally and a smidge medially down the arm but avoiding the axillary area where nerves, arteries, and veins merge. Palpating distally along the Biceps Brachii along the radial nerve then on top of the flexor muscles of the forearm to the median nerve compartment on the wrist and palmer side of the wrist, palm and fingers. While palpating all of these muscles and compartments, I communicated with my client asking questions.
After palpating and finding no present inflammation, and making sure the client was draped properly, I grabbed some lubricant, and started working my magic at the cervical area massaging all those muscles that we know oh so well, taking my time using deep pressure, at the same time, communicating with my client, and applying tripper point work, then friction as well as some Cryotherapy to those very worked, red, blood flowing areas.
After finishing the cervical and thoracic areas, I had my client lay supine, and I started massaging the Pectoralis Minor muscles and headed to the Deltoid muscles. From there I worked all the muscles on the proximal and distal part of the arm finding that the flexor muscles of the forearm were very tight, so I spent time loosening them up, along with communicating with my client. From there I started working the Flexor Retinaculum as well as the Extensor Retinaculum of the wrist due to compression in the Median Nerve area. Heading distally onto the palmer side of the hand working the Thenar Eminence Pollicis muscles and the Hypothenar Eminence Minimi Muscles, distally to the metacarpal areas then the phalangeal areas.
While completing the massage, I asked my client if they were feeling any numbness and tingling and thankfully they weren’t. I helped my client sit up on the massage table and I asked them to move their arm around to see how it felt. Relief was present and my client had more Range of Motion without pain. Forearm flexors still felt somewhat tight and I told my client that they come back and see me 3 more times, with 5-7 days between each visit, and after that, we would reassess and see what progress we made and the road ahead hopefully WITHOUT surgery! I sent the client home, with homework, asking them to apply ice for 20 minutes, two times a day for two days, drink plenty of water, and showed them some stretches to do at home.
Keep massaging and applying all the great techniques you have learned and help make a difference in people’s lives!
By Denyne Tolley