Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Massage

Stroke the area of the upper forearm first

n last Friday’s post on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, I promised a follow up article on a massage I’ve found very useful. Lots of people have tried it, and it works. Let’s take a close look at this massage -


1.  To reduce swelling in the wrist

2.  To reduce muscle contraction in the forearm

3.  To reduce tension in the flexor tendons through the wrist

4.  Increase flexibility of tendons compressing median nerve

5.  Break up and eliminate pathological deposits

6.  Reduce irritation of median nerve

7.  Reduce pain and numbness

8.  Increase elasticity of transverse ligament scar following surgery.   
9.  Normalize muscle tone and strength in forearm and thumb

10. Prevention: to assist in preventing carpal tunnel syndrome

Massage with the fingertips

TIP #1:    Work from the area of least pain to the area of most pain along the median nerve on the inside of the forearm. Do this gradually.  It may take up to 10 or 15 sessions alone of upper forearm massage before the pain has decreased enough in the wrist for you to massage the wrist area directly.  All massage must be painless!

1. Make sure you’re warm and comfortable. Gently grasp the inside of the arm below the elbow with your other hand. Stroke repeatedly from the elbow halfway down the forearm.  Use your entire hand.

2. Now switch to your fingertips, massaging gently downward.  Work only in the area between the inside of the elbow and the middle of the forearm. Switch back and forth between strokes with the entire hand and your fingertips.

3. Once the upper forearm is warm and pliant, please use these two methods: a. bend your fingers and use the tips of the knuckles; b. use the base of the palms.

4. Grasp the upper forearm area between the fingers and thumb of the other hand and gently shake the muscles from side to side.  

5. Switch back and forth between massage using the fingertips and gentle shaking from side to side.

TIP #2:   Don’t massage the lower forearm until you’ve noticed a decrease in wrist pain.   


1.  Once pain has decreased in the wrist area (again this may take more than one session), move to the lower forearm area. Follow the same routine as you did on the upper forearm. Start by gently grasping the lower forearm with your other hand. Stroke repeatedly toward the wrist. 

2. As before, massage a lot with the fingertips, then with the bent knuckles and base of the palm.

3. Grasp the lower forearm area between the fingers and thumb of the other hand and gently shake the muscles from side to side.  

4. Switch back and forth between massage using the fingertips and gentle shaking from side to side.

TIP #3:   Start massaging the wrist only when there is no swelling and the pain has disappeared. Be very gentle with the wrists at first; you don’t want to irritate the carpal tunnel area further. If you can feel a great deal of heat emanating from the wrist stay with the forearm massages until the wrist has cooled. 

Grasp and gently shake the muscles


1.  Start with very light fingertip friction combined with a light shaking from side to side. Do this for a few minutes. There should be no pain.

2. Now massage the upper and lower forearms again. Switch back and forth between massaging the forearms and massaging the wrists.


1.  With the fingertips, massage progressively deeper to increase flexibility of wrist tendons and ligaments and prevent a recurrence of median nerve compression.

Your massage session should last 10 - 15 minutes


Once massage has accomplished its goal, strengthen your wrists through a program of weights and isometrics while maintaining wrist flexibility with lots of stretching and continued massage.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you need any more information.


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