It sometimes starts as a vague feeling of numbness in the thumb and the first two fingers. Then it progressively numbs the entire hand; and the next thing you know, the entire arm is numb. You awaken to a sensation of tingling limbs in the middle of the night. You may have had to curb the activities that you love doing like cooking, kneading, and knitting, and computer work.
The classic symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are soreness in her forearms, pain in her hands at the end of a long day at the computer, and a feeling of tightness that had spread from hands and wrists all the way to her elbows. Some individuals also experience headaches. If you have experienced any of the above symptoms, you may want to check with your health care provider to see if you are a victim of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
When an individual does the same motion over and over again for a long period of time, the tissues involving that motion begin to wear out. This type of injury is called a repetitive strain injury or RSI. RSI’s create tiny tears in the fibers of the soft tissues of the body. While they don’t immediately cause loss of function, these micro-tears set up conditions for chronic inflammation that will eventually manifest as pain, soreness, tightness, tingling, and burning.
There are a couple of options for treating this disorder, one being surgery, which may or may not be successful, and the more natural one is massage therapy.
Can Massage Help? Research has shown that after the completion of four massage sessions of the affected area, individuals have experienced an improvement in grip strength and a decrease in pain and anxiety. Those who receive massage may also show an improvement in the medical test used to diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome. Deep tissue massage such as Rolfing and Heller work, can reorganize the connective tissue fibers, break up scar tissue, and reduce or eliminate the cause of inflammation. When the tiny fibers of the sheaths and tendons are realigned, the body can begin to heal itself, thus, correcting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Massage to the entire shoulder, arm, and neck will also free soft tissues from tightness which can also help alleviate the problem. As a matter of fact soft tissue inflammation can travel though the continuous connective tissue from the fingertips to the head and cause headaches. That’s why headaches are sometimes associated with Carpal Tunnel. Consistent massage can restore these tissues to normal function.
Other Considerations In addition to massage therapy, it’s important to evaluate your posture, how your work station is positioned, and movement patterns. When workers become so focused on their work that they forget their bodies, they tend to maintain positions that contribute to the cause. It’s important to identify a variety of ways and several positions to accomplish the same thing. Moving the mouse from one side to the other, even during the same day, can help prevent fatigue and tissue failure. Wrist rests and keyboard trays are extremely helpful, and a regular stretching routine is essential.
Finally, along with exercise and good nutrition, include massage as part of your regular health maintenance program. Regular massage reduces connective tissue inflammation and prevents scar tissue from forming. Massage is a treatment of choice to keep carpal tunnel syndrome from slowing you down.
For more information on the benefits of massage, contact Valecia at assuringhands.massagetherapy.com.