We hear a lot about ergonomics, posture, wrist deviation, and exercises as self care for symptoms – or avoidance – of carpal tunnel syndrome. There is another self treatment for your kit of survival techniques and that is massage…specifically self massage.
As I mention in my book, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: How to Relieve & Prevent Wrist “Burnout!” unlike back pain, the nice thing about massaging the arms, wrists, fingers and hands is that you can reach all of it.
Carpal tunnel syndrome represents an impingement of the nerve by inflamed muscles. It stands to reason that reducing the swelling would be a practical approach. This is what is happening when the doctor gives you anti-inflammatories, but massage doesn’t have the side effects and it’s non-invasive. Beyond the inflammation caused by overuse or incorrect use of the hands and wrists, inflammation can have its source in fluid accumulation from old sports injuries, pregnancy, estrogen replacement, muscle anomalies, arthritis, your avocation and numerous other possibilities.
If the area is inflamed and acute (having existed for less than 2 weeks), an ice massage may be in order. Get a paper or styrofoam cup, fill it with water and freeze. Tear the lip of the cup back and use the ice to massage your wrists and forearms.
If the area is inflamed and chronic (over two weeks) massage the area from elbow to fingertips slowly and gently with your other hand. Circular motion on both sides works fine. Stroke up the arm after you finish massaging an area. Inflammation means that you need to work gently. Your finishing strokes should always be from the hand up the arm.
You can use the same process as I’ve described in the previous paragraph for prevention. The only difference would be the amount of pressure could be greater – a lot greater. The hands and fingers are hard working and seem to like a good massage workout. The key is vasodilation to relieve the tension and to bring healing and repairing nutrients into the area as soon as possible.
The nice thing is that you can massage your arms and fingers while waiting at a signal, sitting in traffic or many other places. This helps keep you busy and less stressed than you re when you are just sitting and waiting. There are no special tools or equipment. Your fingers and arms will feel renewed.
If you are interested in learning a massage routine, there is one described in my book. It is also in the video which is 20mins of demonstration of the various techniques described in the book.
The book is available from: HWD Publishing, PO Box 220 XA, Veneta, OR 97487 for $13.95 + $2.50 s/h; the VHS tape (20 mins) is $2l.95 + $2.50 s/h or you can buy both & get a free 8 1/2 x 11 laminated poster for $39.15 including s/h.
(Be sure to seek medical advice if symptoms persist). Excerpts herein are copyrighted, 1993 by Rosemarie Atencio.Copyright 1993 by Rosemarie Atencio. This article may be archived,reproduced and/or distributed provided that it is left intact and that noadditions or changes are made to it. The article is the sole property ofRosemarie Atencio. No further use of this work is permitted withoutexplicit consent of the author.