Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is an increasing problem in a time of computer keyboards and a high demand for fine-motor skills. Carpal Tunnel is caused by the compression of the median nerve in the wrist. This nerve travels, with nine tendons, through the carpal bones of the wrist called the 'Carpal Tunnel' to the hand and fingers. There is limited space in this tunnel, so any inflammation of the tissues will cause the median nerve to be compressed. At first this may cause only minor irritation, but, over time, it may lead to nerve damage. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can range from moderate to severe, and can, in severe cases, result in paralysis of the wrist. Massage is indicated for treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, as it can help promote circulation, reduce inflammation, and aid in the removal of local toxins, all of which can help alleviate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Massage is certainly preferable to the more drastic approaches of anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injections, or surgery, which may only provide temporary relief.
Carpal Tunnel Types and Symptoms
The symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may actually be indicative of other problems. Some are actually even more serious than Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. A visit to a medical professional is essential for anyone suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome's symptoms. Though self-treatment may be indicated for CTS, other, related, problems may need the care of a medical professional. Arthritis, muscles spasms, and even heart problems may be mistaken for CTS. Proper diagnosis is the first step to getting proper treatment and avoiding more serious complications.
|Carpal Tunnel Syndrome||Muscle Spasms||Raynaud's Phenomenon||Arthritis||Thoratic Outlet Syndrome|
|Present in some Pregnant women due to fluid retention in the hands.||Caused by repetitive motions over a long period of time||Numbness tingling or pain in one or both hands||Inflammation of joints, pain, difficulty moving, swelling||Caused by compression of nerves and blood vessels running down the neck and into the arm|
|Symptoms include pain numbness, and movement problems especially in the thumb area.||Can be caused by typing or other activities involving the hands and wrist||Brought on by cold or stress||Loss of appetite, fever, loss of energy, anemia, can affect other parts of the body||Compression occurs at first rib in front of shoulder|
|Caused by the swelling of the tendons in the wrist compressing the median nerve symptoms are usually worse at night||May be indicated by numbness of thumb and first two fingers||Treated with warmth or medications to open the blood vessels.||Arthritic conditions including rheumatoid arthritis gout and Osteoarthritis may mimic but not actually be treatable as CTS||May be cause by injury or chronic slouching|
|Treatments suggested include frequent massage use of splints wrist braces and anything to relieve pressure on the wrist tendons||Deep muscle massage proper stretching of the muscles and therapy are indicated||Sufferers are prone to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and there may be a connection between the two ailments||Involves the inflammation of the lining of joints and/or internal organs||Though symptoms mimic Carpal Tunnel Syndrome treatments for CTS are useless for Thoratic Outlet Syndrome making proper diagnosis essential|
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is marked by pain and weakness in the hand and wrist and may be extremely incapacitating. CTS has been documented as early as the late 1800s and is caused by the compression of the median nerve, which travels through a tunnel in the wrist through the carpal bones. The median nerve is responsible for both touch-related sensory messages to the brain, and is also associated with motion. Compression of the median nerve can lead to pain, numbness, and, eventually, to loss of movement and paralysis of, specifically, the thumb and first two fingers. Compression of the median nerve occurs when there is swelling of the tendons of the wrist and hand. Swelling in these tendons may be caused by retention of fluids in the hands, or rheumatoid arthritis, but is most commonly caused by strain due to repetitive motion of the hands and wrist.
Prevention and Treatment
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome has been treated using Massage therapy. We have had multiple clients recover from their symptoms helping them stay off the operating table. Talk with one of our Client Coordinators about which therapist is best for this treatment.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can be prevented by the use of supporting equipment such as wrist braces, and instruction on proper movement, to prevent unnecessary strain to the tendons and ligaments of the hand and wrist. In some cases, where Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by another ailments, prevention may include anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen. The key to preventing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is to learn how to use the body in such a way that the tendons and ligaments are not severely strained.
In serious cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome surgery may be indicated, but this should be used as a last option only. Surgery is, at best, a temporary solution for CTS, and puts the sufferer under the strains of recuperating from the surgery, and the stress of the surgery itself.
As Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by inflammation, anything that will increase circulation, help remove local toxins, and decrease inflammation in the affected area is the key to recovery. Because all of these things are necessary to alleviate the swelling of the tendons in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, the most highly suggested treatment for CTS is massage. Doctors also suggest that sufferers of CTS massage the affected area themselves between regular massage treatments. With regular massage a CTS sufferer should feel less pain within a few weeks, and a cessation of all symptoms within a few months.
By: Sara, LMT
As a massage therapist here at Peaceful Spirit, I have found that many of my clients have discomfort relating to abdominal tension. This led me to take a number of continuing education courses in Chi Nie Tsang (CNT). While experiencing Chi Nie Tsang as a student, I realized that a much greater number of people would likely benefit from this method of bodywork than I had at first imagined. After completing the first two levels of CNT, I began to use it with my clients. As my experience grows, I have begun seeking more advanced training and look forward to using my knowledge to help more clients achieve long lasting benefit. I would like to share with you some excerpts from an article that I found particularly clear in its description and explanation of CNT.
Description of Chi Nei Tsang:
“CNT practitioners assist those they work with in maintaining their health through tissue and organ massage and wind release techniques. It is essentially a facilitated form of self-care since the highest form of its practice is teaching people to maintain their health and optimize their energy.”
Benefits of Chi Nei Tsang:
Detoxification: “CNT manipulations help relieve the body of excess stagnation, improving elimination and stimulating the lymphatic and the circulatory systems.”
Restructuring and Strengthening the Body: “it addresses the visceral structures and positioning of internal organs, stimulating them to work better and also helps correct the postural problems resulting from visceral imbalances.”
Helps relieve Chronic Pain and deep seated tension: “has been helpful with chronic pains such as back, neck and shoulder pains and problems related to misalignment of the feet, legs and pelvis.”
Aids in Digestion, physically and emotionally: “Rather than working on the muscular or skeletal structures, it (CNT) focuses on the vital organs and fascia, helping to unwind tension from the navel outwards and purify the cells of physical and emotional toxins."
How Chi Nie Tsang is different than massage:
“Firstly, CNT cannot be applied with any muscular force. Because we are working on the abdomen, which is a highly sensitive area, any sense of force felt by the client will result in their body psychologically shutting off with muscular tension. On a psychological level, muscles play a protective role in the body.” So, in order to make a connection, on both a physical and emotional level, the practitioner needs to use a Chi, instead of muscle, and this takes training.”
“Unlike some massage which uses indirect methods to contact the internal organs, CNT massages the vital organs directly.”
To find more on this topic, and to read the article in it’s entirety, go to - http://taohealthnotes.wordpress.com/2010/02/28/chi-nei-tsang-abdominal-healing-getting-to-the-core/
Excerpts by Sara, LMT
References: Chi Nei Tsang Abdominal healing – getting to the Core, Article by Kim Knight.
Fibromyalgia is an arthritic condition, meaning that it is associated with a long-term infection of the body resulting in pain and fatigue. Fibromyalgia is difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms of the disease are similar to those of many other chronic conditions. Fibromyalgia may have similar symptoms to such disorders as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, multiple sclerosis, as well as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Because Fibromyalgia interrupts the normal sleeping patterns of the sufferer, as well as causing constant pain through out the body, massage is indicated to treat those suffering from Fibromyalgia. Massage has been shown to help the body restore its natural sleep cycles by creating deep relaxation and reducing muscle pain and tension. Recent studies have shown that an hour of massage a week for Fibromyalgia patients can benefit the sufferer significantly. Nutrition may also play a role in improving a Fibromyalgia sufferer's health.
Fibromyalgia Types and Symptoms
Because Fibromyalgia shares many of its symptoms with other disorders, especially other diseases and disorders associated with arthritis, diagnosis from a doctor is important, though it may take considerable time to rule out other disorders. Doctors are currently researching a possible connection between those who have suffered from abuse or have a history of neglect. Depression may also be associated with Fibromyalgia. Those that suffer from the disease often find that the fatigue and pain is worse when under stress, feeling anxiety, or feeling depressed. Mood swings and sleep disturbances are also common with Fibromyalgia, as are migraines, tension headaches, and abdominal pain and cramping that may resemble irritable bowel syndrome.
|Fibromyalgia||Chronic Fatigue Syndrome||Depression||Migraines||Irritable Bowel Syndrome|
|Widespread pain and points of tenderness, which vary with the time of day, the weather, and stress levels of the sufferer. May feel like a persistent flu.||For some people, CFS appears after a bout of hepatitis, bronchitis, a cold, an intestinal bug, or mono.||Persistent "blue" or "down" feeling.||Dull ache develops into constant throbbing, pulsing pain.||Affects 10-20% of the general population|
|Fatigue, lack of energy, decreased endurance||Associated with headache, fatigue, sore muscles and joints.||As with Fibromyalgia, may be associated with a history of neglect or abuse||Associated with Nausea||Bloating, gas, constipation|
|About 25% of those diagnosed have a history of depression or anxiety||May be mistaken for Lupus or multiple sclerosis. Diagnosis is essential.||Lethargy, lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities||Sensitivity to light and noise||Frequent abdominal pain and cramping|
|Numbness or tingling in arms, hands, feet, legs, may be mistaken for other disorders such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome||Difficulty concentrating.||As with Fibromyalgia, interruption in normal sleep patterns||Loss of sight possible||May be caused by miscommunication between brain, bowels, and nervous system|
|Headaches, especially tension or migraines, are common, as are colon and bladder spasms and irritability.||Sore lymph nodes||Difficulty thinking or concentrating||Usually last from four hours to a week, depending on severity and type-some types, such as Ophthalmologic Migraines, can last for months||May be possible to regulate IBS through diet changes|
|Problems concentrating or performing simple tasks||People with CFS often suffer from Fibromyalgia and vice versa.||Thoughts of suicide or death.||Migraine sufferers find it difficult to continue with daily routine, especially if the migraines are frequent||Associated with fatigue, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.|
The causes of Fibromyalgia are widely unknown, though it is thought to be brought on my emotional, psychological, or physical changes or stress. Long periods of anxiety or fatigue may actually trigger the disease. Smoking, bad posture, and inappropriate exercise may contribute to furthering the symptoms of Fibromyalgia and should be avoided or treated if possible. People with Fibromyalgia may find themselves feeling anxious or stressed about their condition, and may find it difficult to keep exercising on a regular basis. This pattern of stress and inactivity may actually make the disorder worse, so it is essential that those suffering from Fibromyalgia avoid anxiety and stress in whatever way possible. Fibromyalgia sufferers should avoid internalizing their concerns or depression, as that can result in muscle pain and tension, instead, it is recommended that they find outlets to their stress.
Prevention and Treatment
As the causes of Fibromyalgia are generally unknown it is a difficult disease to prevent. However, in people suffering from depression, or those who have a history of abuse or neglect that are concerned about Fibromyalgia, there are several keys to relaxation and regulating stress that may help prevent Fibromyalgia. These same keys may help promote health, improve sleeping patterns, and create relaxation in those already suffering from Fibromyalgia.Take time apart each day to relax or meditate, breathing deeply and creating a peaceful atmosphere
· Take time apart each day to relax or meditate, breathing deeply and creating a peaceful atmosphere
· Get regular massage treatments. These will help improve sleeping patterns and help the body cope with stored up stress and anxiety
· Never be afraid to talk to someone. Whether suffering from Fibromyalgia, depression, or any other disorder, it may be easier to cope with things if provided with an outlet for stress and concerns. Holding back may result in physical stress, exhaustion, and muscle tension.
· Stretch and exercise regularly. Fibromyalgia sufferers may find it exhausting to exercise vigorously and are encouraged to exercise for 5-10 minutes at a time through-out a whole day. Exercise and stretches can help the body cope with the pain and tension of Fibromyalgia.
· Diet changes may be indicated. Try to eat a diet that promotes healthy well-being. Avoid foods that may cause the body distress, such as caffeine, chocolate, spicy foods, and foods high in sugars and fats. Also avoid foods that may have triggered problems in the past.
There are networks of people all over the world to help support those who are suffering from Fibromyalgia. Doctors are currently researching other keys to preventing and treating Fibromyalgia in a more holistic manner. In some cases, Doctors may prescribe sleep-aids and other medication to help deal with the different aspects of Fibromyalgia, however doctors prefer the less-invasive approach to treating Fibromyalgia and encourage regular massage accompanied by regular exercise, stretching, and a regular, healthy diet.
When Should You NOT Get Massage?
By Pam I.
Here at Peaceful Spirit, we spend a large amount of time encouraging our clients and the general public to come in and get therapeutic massage. We strongly believe that massage can help many different physical and mental conditions in ways that Western medicine simply cannot. However, we also know that there are some situations when massage is not the best option for treatment. These situations are sometimes obvious, such as having a sunburn, but can also be things you would never think could be influenced by a massage.
It may be surprising to learn that drinking alcohol is not recommended before a massage. But the combination of alcohol and massage is contraindicated for several reasons. First, alcohol dehydrates the body. And, if you’ve ever gotten a massage before, you know that one of the things your therapist tells you to do afterward is to drink extra water and stay hydrated, since massage pushes impurities out of your muscles and into your system. Drinking plenty of water after your massage helps to flush those impurities out of your body before they make you feel ill. Because alcohol is dehydrating, indulging before your massage makes you less able to flush those impurities out of your system, which can result in headaches and nausea.
In addition to dehydrating your body, alcohol can impair your judgement and make you less able to give your massage therapist appropriate feedback. While this may seem unimportant, communicating with your therapists is actually vital, not only for getting a great massage, but also to keep you from getting injured. By communicating about things like pressure and any pain you feel, your therapist is able to give you a great massage without causing discomfort, bruising, or trauma. Alcohol also desensitizes your body to pain, making it more difficult for you to tell when your therapist uses pressure that is too deep.
Last, massage can actually increase and amplify the effects of alcohol. Depending on what type of massage you receive, it can have either a sedative or a stimulant effect on your body, and it may be difficult to tell beforehand how it will affect you. Adding alcohol to the mix can have major effects that are difficult to foresee. Therefore, the best recourse is to abstain from drinking until after your massage.
Like alcohol, pain killers and other mind-altering substances are also contraindicated before a massage, since they make it difficult to tell if your therapist is using pressure that is too deep. Pain killers don’t just kill the pain that is hurting you; they can actually decrease your ability to feel any type of pain, which can be dangerous when undergoing a massage. Injuries such as bruising can result if you are unable to feel when a therapist uses pressure that is too deep. Other mind-altering substances, such as recreational drugs and medical marijuana, can impair your judgement and make it difficult to communicate with your therapist. As a rule, it’s always a good idea to leave the drinking, pain killers, and other drugs until after you’ve had your massage.
While many things that should not be combined with massage are voluntary (like drinking), there are also involuntary illnesses and injuries that are contraindicated for massage. It is always important to tell your therapist about any illness, injury, or issue you have before your massage starts. While a list of illnesses that are contraindicated for massage would be too long for the scope of this article, in general, if you have an injury (such as an open wound or broken bone) massage is not what you want to be doing – at least not around the affected area. Also, if you’re running a fever and feeling ill, you are probably contagious, and coming in for a massage will not only expose everyone in the office to your illness, it probably won’t do much to make you feel better, either. Taking all of these things into consideration, it is best to come in for a massage when you are feeling well and not injured.
There are also contraindications for massage that apply to women who are pregnant. Believe it or not, there are actually types of massage that can induce labor, cause miscarriages, and all sorts of other problems. But when done correctly, prenatal massage is very relaxing and helpful for expecting mothers. Like with all health issues, it’s important to tell your therapist that you are pregnant so that you are able to enjoy your massage without any discomfort. Another point to consider is your changing body. Here at Peaceful Spirit, we incorporate our Body Support System for our prenatal clients, which enables them to lay safely and comfortably on their stomachs, without the danger of hurting their baby. We also include other techniques (such as sideline massage) to help expecting women experience comfort and relaxation. By telling your therapist about your health issues before your massage, you will help them give you the best massage they can deliver.
The main point to keep in mind when getting a massage is that you are letting another person work on your body. That person (more than likely) can’t read minds, so he or she needs you to speak up about things like how much pressure you like and if you have any medical conditions. Many people have the idea that they are “just getting a massage” and “it can’t hurt anything.” But it’s important to realize that anything you do to your body is going to affect you in one way or another. Abstaining from alcohol (and other drugs) and communicating with your therapist about what is going on with your body are the best things you can to do to make your massage experience as enjoyable and relaxing as possible.
Fehrs, Linda. “Alcohol and Massage: A Dangerous Combination.” Institute for Integrative Healthcare Website. February, 2013. http://www.integrativehealthcare.org/mt/archives/2013/02/alcohol-and-massage-a-dangerous-combination.html