Carpal Tunnel Syndrome & Massage
By Chetan – Ayur Balance Massage Teacher
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is the tingling, burning and pain tingling (needle, pin) down the arm and into the wrist / fingers. But all tingling and pain down the arm into the wrist / fingers may not be Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
True carpal tunnel syndrome is the compression of the median nerve as it goes through the carpal tunnel.
Carpal tunnel or carpal canal is the passageway on the palmer side of the wrist.
There are eight bones on the wrist at the base of the palm called as carpals. A ligament passes transversely from one side to the other called as transverse carpal ligament. This ligament goes over a groove forming a tunnel at the base of the palm which covers the wrist flexor tendons and one of the median nerves.
The median nerve is one of five main nerves that travels down the arm, it is the only nerve to travel through the carpal tunnel. The median nerve innervates the thumb, first, second and lateral side of the third finger.
As both the tendons and the nerve pass through this narrow gap, it is pretty tightly packed. Inflammation of one or more of these nine tendons puts pressure on the nerve which has nowhere to go so gets compressed or entrapped , which impairs function and creates the mentioned symptoms.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include:
- numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the thumb and fingers, in particular the index and middle fingers and radial half of the ring finger, because these receive their sensory and motor function (muscle control) from the median nerve.
- Parasthesias (strange sensations e.g. tingling) into the thumb, first, second and lateral side of the third finger
- Burning sensation
- Loss of grip strength
- Pain is often worse at night
- Pain may travel up the arm and even into the shoulder
- Pain is worse after repetitive movements
If you think you have CTS go to your doctor for diagnosis.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be associated with any condition that causes pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. Some common conditions that can lead to CTS include obesity, hypothyroidism, arthritis, diabetes, prediabetes (impaired glucose tolerance), and trauma.
A massage can be a viable, non-invasive treatment for CTS.
The following treatments can be supportive to the relief.
- Stretching the forearm flexors and extensors
- Non-invasive therapy.
- Use of Sahacharadi oil, mahanarayan oil, Balaashvgandha oil in massage.
- Massaging the whole arm and rotator cuff muscles including the pectorals.
A good resource to massage techniques for relief in Carpal tunnel Syndrome can be found here.