Carpal tunnel massage techniques


Carpal tunnel syndrome results from compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passage in the wrist formed by the eight tendons of the flexor muscles of the fingers.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include pain in the fingers and wrist, numbness, and tingling that can eventually progress to weakness and loss of fine motor skills. It is the most common peripheral neuropathy, often seen in people who work at computers for long periods of time or who perform repetitive hand movements as part of their professional tasks such as construction and work in the classroom. factory.

Although the clinical practice guidelines for the management of carpal tunnel syndrome from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons do not directly support the evidence for or against massage techniques for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, emerging evidence suggests beneficial results of using massage and other related techniques to improve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. state.

Massage for carpal tunnel syndrome can help decrease pain, increase range of motion, improve grip strength and functional use of the hand, and decrease symptoms such as numbness and tingling by relaxing the muscles. flexor tendons of the fingers surrounding the median nerve, thereby reducing compression.

Related: Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome


Massaging the flexor tendons that form the carpal tunnel can help reduce tightness, pain, and irritation of the underlying median nerve. The massage techniques for carpal tunnel syndrome are as follows:Inasmuch asInasmuch as

  • Touching: Light circular movements with the palm of the hand increase blood flow to a particular area to warm it up and prepare for a deeper massage.
  • Friction: Firm pressure applied to the bottom of the wrist, sliding the arm toward the elbow to break up scar tissue and decrease swelling.
  • kneading: Deep kneading pressure used to increase blood flow and improve flexibility of tight muscles.
  • Tremor: Shaking the arms can help calm sensory receptors to help muscles relax and unwind.

Massaging the wrist and forearm according to the following regimen has been shown to help improve symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome:Inasmuch asInasmuch as

  • 30 seconds of touching
  • 60 seconds of friction
  • 30 seconds of kneading
  • 30 seconds of shaking
  • 30 seconds of touching

This technique takes three minutes and can be done on your own.

Nerve sliding exercises

Symptoms of the carpal tunnel result from compression of the median nerve. Nerve sliding exercises for the median nerve can help decrease compression and pain by stretching the irritated nerve, allowing it to move more freely.

To perform median nerve sliding exercises, the wrist and fingers can be moved into six positions:

  1. With the wrist in a neutral position, bend the fingers and thumb to form a fist.
  2. With the wrist in a neutral position, extend the fingers and thumb upward, keeping your thumb aligned with your fingers.
  3. With fingers extended, extend wrist back.
  4. With the fingers and wrist extended backward, move the thumb forward away from the fingers.
  5. Hold the previous position and supine the forearm while turning your palm towards your face.
  6. Hold the previous position and gently stretch the thumb back with the other hand.

International Rheumatology

Each position is held for five seconds and repeated ten times. These exercises are performed with the neck and shoulder in a neutral position and the elbow bent 90 degrees.

Tendon sliding exercises

Tendon sliding exercises can help increase the range of motion and flexibility of the flexor tendons of the thumb and fingers. When these tendons become tense and inflamed, they compress the nearby median nerve and can cause pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling. When the tendons are stretched and the pressure on the median nerve is released, symptoms may improve.

To perform tendon gliding exercises, the fingers will move in five positions:

  • Right: Start with your fingers extended vertically, holding your fingers up
  • To hang up: Just bend your fingertips towards your palm
  • Fist: Bend your fingers all the way down to form a fist.
  • Table top: Straighten your fingers horizontally so that your hand forms a 90 degree angle.
  • Right fist: From the table position, bend your fingertips towards your palm while continuing to maintain a 90 degree angle in the fingers.

International Rheumatology


Stretching the flexor muscles of the fingers can help reduce muscle tension and inflammation in the flexor tendons including the carpal tunnel. The finger flexors can be stretched by using your hand to bend your fingers back, holding this position for 30 to 60 seconds, and repeating several times a day. You should feel a stretch in your fingers and forearm.

Trigger point therapy

Trigger points are specific tight bands inside a muscle that become very sensitive to touch and return pain to other parts of the body.

Common trigger points seen in patients with carpal tunnel syndrome include:

  • Four centimeters below the crease of the elbow on the top of the forearm at a point along the extensor toe muscle
  • Four centimeters from the crease of the wrist to the elbow in the middle of the underside of the forearm
  • Two centimeters from the wrist crease towards the fingers along the transverse carpal ligament of the wrist and the origin of the thumb muscles

Journal of Body and Movement Therapy

Focusing the massage on these specific areas can help decrease pain not only at those specific trigger points, but can help relieve referred pain in the hand and fingers.

Related: What Are Trigger Points and How Can PT Help You?

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