Carpal tunnel is something I have seen quite a lot at the clinic most recently and within office massage. Most clients explain they have experienced tightness in the shoulders and pain, tingling and numbness radiating down the arm.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

The Carpal Tunnel is the tunnel in the wrist where the wrist tendons and the median nerve travels. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is where the median nerve becomes compressed at the wrist and doesn’t function properly.

 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome relief 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome relief 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The median nerve travels from the brachial plexus which is a network of nerves around the neck and upper spine that supplies the arm.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome relief 

 

What causes it?

There are many possible causes, but it commonly develops in women due to a smaller carpal tunnel and very commonly in pregnancy because of fluid retention at the wrist.

It can also be aggravated by postural habits not directly at the wrist but by changes in posture and repetitive movements that can cause restriction in the muscles that surround the nerve from the neck and shoulders down and can affect the thickness of the tendons that pass through the tunnel reducing the space.

CTA can also be aggravated by changes in posture and small repetitive movements. These repetitive movements at the wrist (such as typing, and intricate work) need good range of movement and stability within the shoulder and neck joint. If you are tensing your shoulders as you are working this will change the tension of the tissues along the muscles from the shoulder to the hand, effecting the movements of the hand.

Other issues that may affect CTS are hypothyroidism and arthritis

 

What are the treatments?

There are many treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome along a spectrum of massage and exercise to steroid injections and surgery.

From a massage and movement perspective, it is important that your shoulders and arms move well before you follow the surgery route as restriction in movements can aggravate the problem and is a less aggressive fix than surgery!

 

Alongside that if you are feeling restricted and tight within the shoulders, build in some strategies to help relax as this can also affect CTS.

Here are some simple tips to help ease carpal tunnel pain before you head for surgical intervention

Massage and soft tissue work

Booking a massage and therapy appointment to find out what is going on with your posture at the moment. We can look at the range of movement in your whole body and ease up muscle tension, relax the nervous system to support you to moving better.

Self-massage for your forearm

Arm and neck release

This is more of an advanced exercise as it incorporates the head movement.

Follow the first video and then progress after into this video.

 

If you have been suffering with carpal tunnel, then please get in touch by contacting us via our contact page and see how we can help!

  1. Osterman, M (2012). Carpal Tunnel in pregnancy Orthopedic clinic North America 43(4):515-20.
  2. Shiri, R (2014). Hypothyroidism and carpal tunnel syndrome: a meta-analysis. Muscle nerve 50 (6): 879–83 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25204641