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April 24, 2008

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

We're studying the forearm (antebrachium) this week, so I decided to develop a theme for the week. It only seemed appropriate to blog about an entire array of disorders that commonly occur in the upper extremity.

Carpal tunnel syndrome
was a popular topic discussed a few years ago by the massage industry. The syndrome is characterized by inflammation, usually due to overuse, that causes swelling in a very narrow tunnel that passes through the wrist. Inside this tunnel is nine tendons to the fingers wrapped in synovial sheaths and the median nerve. Because of a limiting tendon that wraps around the carpal tunnel, inflammation of the synovial sheaths cause impingement on the median nerve.

Symptoms include:
* Tingling or numbness in your fingers or hand
* Pain radiating or extending from your wrist up your arm to your shoulder or down into your palm or fingers
* A sense of weakness in your hands
* A constant loss of feeling

Initial treatment options are usually conservative. Rest, ice, taking frequent breaks, and wrapping the affected wrist in a brace, and anti-inflammatory drugs are usually tried first to see if they will help. The implementation of massage early in the manifestation of the syndrome may prevent it from getting worse to the point that the patient is required to seek surgery.

Keep in mind if you are a massage therapist assisting a client with carpal tunnel syndrome, it is important to consider what is happening in the shoulder and neck on the affected side. Like many conditions, the problem isn't always limited to where the pain is.

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Posted by linda at April 24, 2008 8:00 AM

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