Carpal tunnel is a result of a median nerve compression at the wrist. The tunnel is formed by the bones of the wrist and a ligament. The median nerve along with some of the flexors’ tendons pass through it. The compression happens as the tunnel decreases in size or the structures that pass through the tunnel increase in size. Increase in size of structures happens with repetitive actions of wrist that cause swelling which then leads to fibroses and thickening of tendons. Scar tissue formed in the ligament or any condition that leads to swelling and water retention can also cause the increase of pressure.
It is the most common nerve compression in the arm. It causes numbness and tingling in the first three and one-half fingers. As the condition progresses muscle weakness occurs as well. There is tension in the forearm muscles and adhesions can develop in the tendons of forearm muscles that pass through the tunnel. Carpal Tunnel is most prevalent in jobs with repetitive flexion and extension of wrist. Many times, only the dominant hand will be affected, but it can affect both hands as well.
Usually a splint is worn for several weeks especially at night to keep the wrist in neutral position. Massage therapy can address the swelling, fascial restrictions, tension in the muscles and trigger points. Massage works best for carpal tunnel that is caused by overuse and repetitive strain activity. At first treatments are more frequent. For best outcomes massage is performed two times a week for few weeks followed by once a week for four weeks.