Carpal tunnel is a disorder that is caused by irritation or compression of the Median Nerve. The symptoms can include pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in one or both hands or arms. This can come about due to many factors, to include repetitive use of the hands or arms, tightness in the muscles, poor posture or ergonomics, compression higher up the stream such as the elbow, shoulder or spine. Unfortunately, massage therapists may experience carpal tunnel due to the repetitive nature of their profession and the use of their arms and hands daily.
Reducing Risk of Carpal Tunnel
Here are some tips to avoid or reduce the risk of carpal tunnel. One tip is to watch your posture and ergonomics while performing massage. This includes being aware of your neck and spine position as well as your shoulders, elbows, arms, wrists and hands. It is important to use your legs as much as possible to reduce the load on the upper body. You also can use your elbows to perform the massage strokes rather than always using your hands and fingers.
Stretch and Move Your Body
Another important aspect is to be sure to stretch and move your body. Stretching the hands and forearms and doing gentle yoga-type movements daily can keep the body limber and decompressed. This can be helpful in between clients, or to start or end the day.
Strengthen Your Muscles
Strengthening and stabilization exercises are also a great way to reduce the risk of injury and carpal tunnel syndrome. These exercises help us to keep our muscles strong to support our body. This also aids us to attain proper posture during activity and throughout the day.
Who Can Help Carpal Tunnel?
If you do experience carpal tunnel symptoms, it is best to attain help as soon as possible. Help from a physical therapist will assist you to reach your goals and get back to a pain-free lifestyle. You may also need to go see your MD in order to rule out other more serious conditions, or if your symptoms do not resolve with conservative treatment. If indicated, a surgical option may be another route, but only after conservative treatment has been trialed. Many people recover without the need for surgery.
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