Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

I hear of carpal tunnel syndrome so often I grow sick of it. Computer workers constantly complain of pain in their hands and wrists. I think I used to have it. Syndromes in western medicine are complicated because they’re usually a list of symptoms that are given a name. In my case, I work as a massage therapist and I use my hands, all day. A few years into my practice and before I used Thai massage it was just too much pressure on my carpals and wrists.

In that position I do what everyone does, I go to the doctor and they look at my quizzically. I was told to work less and use naproxen sodium. If you’re anything like me you have Huge fear and anxiety about your ability to keep working to pay bills. It’s no fun to realize you type at a computer all day and are now going to have to figure something else out.

That carpal tunnel I had? I didn’t. Essentially I had trigger points in my forearms that were causing pain in my hand. Deal with the trigger points and slowly but surely hand pain, what hand pain? I’ve been working for 11 years with no signs of slowing down. That incident was 8 years ago. The video above shows the work I do on my wife periodically for her continuous use of her hands at a computer and from knitting.

If you’re having issues with carpal tunnel you should Come In and See Me. I can figure out within ten minutes if I’m going to be able to help you. As I tell people, I do not diagnose, I do not treat conditions but…what if I we can make your symptoms go away?

Myofascial Pain Trigger Points pt.10 Adductor Pollicis

Massage therapists and others who work with their hands put small muscles under strain from repetitive work. It’s always good to find new ways of doing things but at the end of the day when your thumb is bothering you, this should help.

Adductor pollicis trigger points cause pain in the wrist and thumb. Many have years of built up tension that can be released through some regular work on the area. In the video we use a Thai reflexology stick to access the small points. This saves our other hand while we’re working.

As always, work smart. Go slow and breathe.

Myofascial Pain Trigger Points pt.9 Anterior Scalene

For such small muscles the scalenes cause a huge amount of pain in a large range of the body. When clients come in I often check the anterior scalene if they have issue with any of the following: arm pain, hand pain, thoracic outlet syndrome, headaches, migraines, chest pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. Being able to work on and release the scalenes effectively is an important part of any bodyworker’s tool chest.

You place gentle broad finger pressure on the muscle and hold. Have whoever you’re working on breathe and see if the muscle begins to give way. The upper portion often refers pain into the head the lower half down into the chest and arm. If you do not tell the client this notice that they’ll start moving their hand on the side you’re working as they feel the sensation.

The carotid artery is nearby and is fine, just don’t press into it if you feel the pulse underneath. When it doubt don’t. Take your time, breathe, go slow and use your hands effectively. Try working it on yourself and see how tight the muscle is.

Myofascial Pain Trigger Points

As we continue the series on trigger points for self care we wind up in the hand and the thenar eminence. If you have carpal tunnel issues I suggest you take a look at these points and in addition any job that has you working with your hands is likely to make this area tender.

We’re working two different muscles in this area. Abductor pollicis brevis and opponens pollicis are the primary culprits. Long term, I just call the area the thenar eminence. The muscles are small, close together and can be treated in a short time period. Hold pressure in the lump of muscle between your thumb and wrist and you’re good to go. As long as you feel muscle tissue and tenderness hang out and treat the trigger points.

Myofascial Pain Trigger Points

Myofascial pain and trigger points from flexor carpi ulnaris should be the next spot you look at after working with flexor carpi radialis. The referred pain caused by trigger points here will be similar to flexor carpi radialis but in my experience the pain runs down towards the underside of the outer hand and to the middle to pinky fingers. If you believe you’re having carpal tunnel syndrome, check this area.

I find the forearm extensors to be the first stop in dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome but I recommend looking at these two trigger points in addition. Spending time at a computer is something most of us will continue for a long time so regular maintenance is a must. When you work the trigger point, go slow, it can be tender. You’ll find it exquisitely painful then hang out, breath and see if it releases.

Myofascial Pain Trigger Points

Pain due to carpal tunnel syndrome and myofascial pain from trigger points is all too common. In our previous blog posts we went over chest and shoulder girdle pain and we’re slowly working out way down the arm. This is pt. 4 and the muscle I want to cover is flexor carpi radialis.

Trigger points in this muscle will send pain down the hand near the wrist. It’s an easy to reach spot and if you spend your time at a keyboard doing computer work try this out. Even if you’ve no debilitating issues it will probably be tight as mine is, from doing manual labor. Use slow continuous pressure from your implement of choice. I show using finger pressure then a steady elbow in the video.

Flexor carpi radialis is a good starting point for forearm and hand pain. Check out the anatomy of the muscle and also keep in mind that you may compress and remove blood supply to the hand temporarily. This flush of fresh blood is a good thing and to be encouraged, we’re cleaning you out from the inside out.

If you can use a tool like your elbow or a small knob feel free to be creative. Any small amount of work you do is cumulative. Good luck and keep carpal tunnel syndrome at bay.