What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) or Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is a common and painful problem caused by compression of the median nerve. This nerve travels down the arm and through the ‘carpal tunnel’, the passage that goes from your forearm through your wrist to the palm of your hand. This is already a small and tightly packed area of tendons, and any inflammation or swelling can cause nerve compression, which in turn causes your symptoms.
Carpal Tunnel symptoms can include:
- A pain or burning sensation in the hand and wrist
- Numbness or tingling feeling in the fingers (usually the first 2-3 fingers)
- Weakness in the hand, or decreased grip strength leading to an inability to pick up objects
- Radiating pain up towards the shoulder.
What causes Carpal Tunnel?
Certain activities have also been known to exacerbate or lead to Carpal tunnel, such as:
- Repetitive tasks, such as using a mouse or keyboard
- Holding and keeping the hands in awkward positions
- Vibration, such as the repeated use of vibrating hand tools
- Any trauma or injury to the wrist resulting in swelling
- Fluid retention during pregnancy or menopause; and
- Poor posture!!
Poor posture and long hours at the desk can make your shoulders roll forward, shortening your neck and shoulder muscles. This leads to compressed nerves in your neck, which can affect your fingers, hands and wrists.
Treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
A lot of doctors recommend surgery, which should always be the very last resort. Common treatments also include the use of anti-inflammatories and cortisone injections. Then there are passive carpal tunnel treatments like taking more frequent breaks when using your wrist, or applying cold compresses to help reduce swelling in the area.
The good news is that Carpal tunnel, Arthritis and Fibromyalgia conditions can all be successfully treated with Remedial Massage. A massage therapist can relax and loosen the muscles and tissues in your hands and wrists, providing relaxation for joints and relieving the pressure.
Massage can not only help you feel better; massaging carpal tunnel can also provide other fringe benefits as well.
A 2010 study by the University of Miami (Florida) School of Medicine showed that regular remedial massage therapy can not only improve CTS symptoms, but also improve the strength of your grip! Researchers also discovered patients with hand problems wound up sleeping better as a result of the massage therapy.
Using Hot Stone Massage for Carpal Tunnel
In addition to Remedial Massage, Hot Stone Massage has proven especially effective. This is because muscles relax under the direct heat of stones and allow professional massage therapists to reach deeper layers of muscle.
Hot stones also expand blood vessels as well, encouraging blood flow not only in the hands but throughout the entire body. The relief of chronic pain is enhanced by reduced stress and deep relaxation, which provides for better health overall.