How can massage help Carpel Tunnel Syndrome? Doesn’t the median nerve get entrapped?
Yes, but hear us out. Upton and McComas years ago suggested a phenomenon known as double crush syndrome. They suggested that a high portion of patients with a peripheral lesion (for example the median nerve at the carpal tunnel) also had a second lesion elsewhere. For example, in the neck or forearm. They implied both lesions contributed to symptoms. In other words, pressure on the median nerve in the neck or forearm made the median nerve more sensitive in the carpal tunnel.
The median nerve (nerve roots) can get irritated in the neck. It can also get entrapped or irritated in the pronator teres in the forearm. So, we often treat the neck with posture and exercises and also massage the muscles of the forearm.
Also consider this: The carpal tunnel contains the median nerve along with 9 muscle tendons (the four tendons of the flexor digitorum profundus, the four tendons of the flexor digitorum superficialis, and the flexor pollicis longus (FPL) tendon).
Stick around and we will show these muscles at the end. The median nerve also innervates these muscles. If these muscles are tight and it stands to reason they may place more stress on the tendons going through the carpal tunnel and put more stress on the median nerve.
Therefore, we find it makes sense to massage the muscles of the forearm and even the meaty part of the thumb (thenar eminence). The pronator teres originates immediately above the medial epicondyle (inside bump of your elbow).
(Pronator teres origin)
Head attachment choices can be based on the following:
a. Big Round Head Attachment: Good for larger muscle groups like the glutes, quadriceps, or hamstrings. Allows you to cover more surface area. Moderate in aggressiveness.
b. Small Round Head Attachment: Less aggressive to moderate. Great for tendonitis if used sideways. (Big & Small Round Head)
c. Air-filled (Pneumatic) Attachment: Probably the least aggressive head. Great for use around bony surfaces and sensitive muscle groups. Good for relaxation.
d. Bullet Head Attachment: Aggressive. We have found it to be helpful with treating trigger points or knots.
e. Plastic Flat Head: Moderate. Good on the IT band, pectoralis major (with ribs underneath), or plantar fascia (bottom of the foot). Great for tendonitis if used sideways.
f. Steel Flat Head: (Can be heated up or cooled down prior to use). Moderate to Aggressive.
g. Knobby Attachments: Generally, for larger muscles. More aggressive.
h. Field Goal: Can be used along both sides of the spine. Also, some have recommended its use on the Achilles tendon.
This article and video are part of a series of videos on how to treat your pain with self-massage. Check the full series of videos along with the downloadable guide sheets for each video on our website here: https://www.bobandbrad.com/massage/
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