You will encounter many different forms of massage depending where around the world you travel. However in this modern age, you can probably find all significant forms of massage within a close proximity.
Introduction: Pain And The Need To Get Rid Of It
Everyone in this world at one point or another has experienced some form of pain. Naturally, others have had it worse while others have been lucky enough to never have been through anything severe. However, no matter what anyone says about any experience with regards to pain, there is one thing that we all have shared – we want that pain to go away just as quickly as possible!
Carpal tunnel syndrome is no different from these other experiences as there is a major discomfort and people who suffer from it are filled with the desire to get rid of that pain, at all costs. But can massage therapy take that pain away? Some agree that it can indeed. Read below to find out more about the connections between carpal tunnel syndrome and massage therapy.
Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And How It Really Affects You
By definition, carpal tunnel syndrome is when the carpal tunnel of the anterior wrist is inflamed or traps the nerves there. Naturally, this may cause varying degrees of pain and discomfort to the patient who may experience subtle numbing of the fingers to being unable to lift light objects with their hands all the way to being so bothered by the pain that it disrupts their sleep.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is typically acquired as a result in the person using repetitive movements, much like for those who use computers all day, every day, every week, every month, with little to no rest! Carpal tunnel is also basically an overuse of an injury, however, it is also genetic and diseases may also play a factor in acquiring the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome. The most typical or common cause of carpal tunnel syndrome is the excessive flexion and extension of the wrist, but those with smaller carpal tunnels, arthritis, and diabetes also play a role in suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.
Digging Deeper Into What Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Is And How Massage Therapy Can Help
Knowledge is power and if someone would like to further understand more about carpal tunnel syndrome, then they would need to study the anatomy and physiology of the human body, or at least the area associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. As a massage therapist, it would be vital to know the structure of the wrist in order to properly treat your client as well as to avoid hurting them any further.
Massage therapists should have critical thinking and the awareness of the proper amount of pressure to induce. They should also be in communication with other massage therapists as they learn from each others experiences and discussions about their clients conditions could be very beneficial for your future sessions with your clients. Beyond the benefits that this practice gives to your clients, it certainly does not hurt that it shows your community of other health care professionals that you are actively out to learn more as you are a therapist who takes your work very seriously.
Another reason why it is said that critical thinking is vital when massage therapists treat patients with carpal tunnel syndrome is because they need to be aware of their own limitations. Sometimes you need the humility to be able to speak to your colleagues and learn from them when you realize that you do not know it all. If you are unable to understand that which you can and that which you cannot do for your patient, then perhaps you aren’t a very good massage therapist and need to reassess your capabilities.
Assessing The Severity Of Your Patient’s Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
As a massage therapist, your initial assessment of your patients condition is critical. Some of your clients may first approach you with feedback from a health care provider or coach at the gym, but some may come in without any professional words or advice from their trainers. The initial assessment should be completed with a full family health history interview that will give you the specific information about any medications that they may be taking, other general health concerns or issues, as well as the most precise explanation they can offer with regards to their carpal tunnel syndrome. This should include the exact areas of the pain, how long it has been hurting, how long the pain lasts each time it hits them, and instances that trigger the pain to begin with.
Massage therapists should also have a look at their prenator teres, the shoulder and cervical regions, and must know if there is history of other neck or shoulder injuries. Without the knowledge of these important factors, massage therapists may find themselves unable to offer any kind of relief to their patients or worse, might make the damage more severe then when their patients came in.
It must also be noted that since you will be doing repeated sessions with them, being as a single session is not enough to cure this injury, assessing how you plan on rolling out your therapy is vital. Conversations must take place prior to and after each session to see if your therapy is doing your patient any good. It would also be wise to be familiar with their daily activities in order to gauge how much they use their wrists. This will help you determine when and where there is more or less damage being done. One patient may go through an entire day without any reports of pain or discomfort but may not be able to lift a glass of water the next. These specifics will help any massage therapist know how severe the injury is and will then likewise be able to assess the damage and handle the treatment accordingly.
Since communication is key, ask your patients how they feel about the therapy being given. One patient might want more oil, another patient may find that the pressure was too much and would like it lighter. You can also ask if the stretches seemed to benefit them or make matters worse, while asking if there was any discomfort or aching after the session.
Making The Massage Therapy Work To Help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
It may seem obvious that the area to target your massage therapy would be at the wrist, however, there is more to the wrist then to simply massage the wrist. One must actually do a full body assessment considering the fact that other areas of the body may be contributing to the problem at the wrist. Carpal tunnel syndrome is actually a problem that exists from other muscles lack of balance 100% of the time. Considering that the nerve that supplies sensation in the carpal tunnel comes from the shoulders and the neck, therapists will need to relieve those areas in the upper body in order to relieve the other areas that lead down the pathways towards the wrist.
Deep tissue massages are great for releasing tension around the soft tissues of the shoulders down to the hands while other more orthopedic massages strip the compression through active engagement. The first thing that must be done would be to release the internal rotation around the shoulders like the pectoral muscles. After that, work from the top of the arms down towards the elbows, the forearms, and finally the wrist and fingers. Specifically targeting the nerve endings while releasing all tension found in those areas.
More often than not, an hour is a good peg of a duration that should be applied during a massage therapy session wherein the focus again is not only on the wrist but should be focused on the entire arm as well as the cervical region. With regards to the number of sessions needed, this will naturally vary depending on the severity of the persons injury. Some people have been known to have improved drastically after merely 60 minutes of treatment whereas others have needed up to six 60 minute massage therapy sessions which had been needed in order to properly and thoroughly address the primary, secondary and tertiary areas of the carpal tunnel.
With all that said, there is still the need to offer relief after just the first session and though it works most of the time, you still need at least 4 sessions in order to find any long term relief to the pain. Deep tissue and neuromuscular therapy more often than not shows immediate relief, though not long term, so it is important to inform the client that this relief does not equal a long term solution and that more sessions will be necessary.
Finally, it is important for the client to know that once you feel any pain or discomfort, it is vital to have it treated right away as prolonging treatment only makes matters worse which will entail a longer period of time in order to treat the injury properly or at the optimum time.
Conclusion: Massage Therapy Works If You And Your Client Make It Work
All in all, massage therapy can certainly aid you in curing your carpal tunnel syndrome but all the methods listed above are vital. Without one, it may be difficult to impossible to make the other factors work their magic. Massage therapists need to be thorough, patient, open minded, and must establish a proper communication highway with their clients and they in turn will also have to be honest and specific in the results of their treatment and their history.
It is also of extreme importance to be patient and to allow the therapy to work. Walking into a massage therapy session expecting immediate and long term relief from a mere 60 minute session is not going to help you and you need to be able to commit to further treatment in order to reach your goal of ridding yourself off this pain once and for all. To find the best massage therapist nearby, you should do your due diligence and work toward your goal of treating carpal tunnel syndrome.
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