Pain. There aren’t many people who haven’t had to deal with pain for one reason or another. Whether it’s migraines, a pulled muscle or the result of a chronic condition, all pain has one thing in common: the person experiencing it wants to find relief. Massage therapy can be of great benefit for people dealing with pain—and carpal tunnel is no different.
What is Carpal Tunnel
Simply put, carpal tunnel is the inflammation or entrapment of nerves within the carpal tunnel of the anterior wrist, which can cause pain and numbness. “Most of my clients see me presenting with the classic symptoms,” explains Richard Garcia, a massage therapist in private practice in Peyton, Colorado. “These symptoms include numbness and tingling in the hand, difficulty grasping or carrying objects and, sometimes, hand pain.” Some clients, too, report the pain is worse in the evening, and sleep can be interrupted.
The causes of carpal tunnel are often associated with repetitive motion, such as working at a computer all day, for example, though other factors can come into play, as well. “Carpal tunnel is most often considered a repetitive strain or overuse injury, but genetics and disease processes can contribute to the symptoms, too,” explains Mary Bennett, owner of Alleviate LLC in Bloomington, Indiana. “Excessive flexion and extension of the wrist seem to be the most popular theory as to cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, heredity, those with smaller carpal tunnels, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, to name a few, can all play a part.”
What You Need to Know
Necessary knowledge. Everyone we talked to agreed that a better-than-average understanding of anatomy and physiology was necessary when working with clients with carpal tunnel syndrome. “You must know the anatomy of the area,” Bennett explains. “There are specific structures involved; you should know what they are so you help your client and not hurt them.”
Also, according to Kanoa General, owner of Blue Turtle Healing in New York, having sound critical thinking skills is a must, as well as knowing how to apply current massage therapy techniques to help resolve the problem. “Having a strong professional relationship with a variety of health care professionals should be a given,” adds Garcia. “This gives the massage therapist the opportunity to use the health care professionals as a ‘sounding board’ to privately confirm their assessments, and it shows the health care professionals that you take your work seriously and are actively striving to improve your own knowledge.”
Read more at amtamassage.org