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Nerve Damage & Massage Therapy

Nerve Damage & Massage Therapy

Ulnar Nerve DamageUnderstanding Massage and Its Impact on Nerve Damage:

Massage therapy has long been revered for its myriad benefits, from relieving muscle tension to promoting relaxation and enhancing overall well-being. One area of particular interest is its potential impact on nerve damage. While the benefits of massage for muscle-related issues are well-documented, its effects on nerve damage require a more nuanced understanding. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the relationship between massage and nerve damage, exploring how different massage techniques can aid in nerve repair and provide relief from nerve pain.

Understanding Nerve Damage

Nerve damage, or neuropathy, can occur due to various reasons, including physical trauma, medical conditions like diabetes, infections, and exposure to toxins. Symptoms of nerve damage can range from mild tingling and numbness to severe pain and muscle weakness. Depending on the severity and cause, nerve damage can significantly impact a person’s quality of life.

How Massage Therapy Works

Massage therapy involves the manipulation of soft tissues, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments, to promote relaxation, reduce pain, and enhance overall body function. The primary mechanisms through which massage therapy exerts its effects include:

Improved Circulation: Massage enhances blood flow to the targeted areas, which can promote healing by delivering essential nutrients and oxygen to damaged tissues.

Pain Relief: Through the stimulation of sensory receptors, massage can help reduce pain by blocking pain signals to the brain.

Muscle Relaxation: By alleviating muscle tension and reducing stiffness, massage can improve mobility and decrease discomfort.

Stress Reduction: Massage promotes relaxation and reduces stress levels, which can have a positive impact on overall health and well-being.

Types of Massage Techniques

Several massage techniques can be beneficial for individuals with nerve damage. Understanding the unique characteristics of each technique can help in choosing the most appropriate therapy:

Swedish Massage: This technique involves long, gliding strokes, kneading, and circular movements. It is effective for promoting overall relaxation and improving circulation, which can be beneficial for mild nerve pain.

Deep Tissue Massage: This type focuses on deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. It can be particularly useful for chronic pain and tension resulting from nerve damage, as it helps release deeply held tension.

Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT): Also known as trigger point therapy, NMT targets specific points of pain in the muscles, which can correspond to nerve pain. By applying pressure to these trigger points, NMT can help release tension and reduce referred pain.

Myofascial Release: This technique targets the fascia, the connective tissue surrounding muscles and nerves. By applying sustained pressure, myofascial release can help alleviate restrictions in the fascia, reducing pain and improving mobility.

Reflexology: Focusing on pressure points in the feet, hands, and ears, reflexology can stimulate nerve pathways and promote relaxation throughout the body. This can be particularly beneficial for systemic nerve conditions like peripheral neuropathy.

Massage Therapy for Specific Nerve Conditions

Different types of nerve damage may respond to massage therapy in various ways. Here are a few common conditions and how massage can help:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Characterized by numbness and tingling in the hands and fingers, carpal tunnel syndrome can benefit from deep tissue massage and myofascial release to alleviate pressure on the median nerve.

Sciatica: This condition involves pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, often affecting the lower back and legs. Neuromuscular therapy and deep tissue massage can help relieve muscle tension and reduce nerve compression.

Diabetic Neuropathy: Nerve damage resulting from diabetes can cause pain and numbness in the extremities. Reflexology and gentle Swedish massage can improve circulation and provide symptomatic relief.

Post-Surgical Nerve Damage: After surgery, nerve damage can occur due to trauma or inflammation. A combination of techniques, including Swedish massage and myofascial release, can aid in the healing process and reduce scar tissue formation.

Considerations and Precautions

While massage therapy can offer significant benefits for individuals with nerve damage, it is essential to approach it with caution. Here are some important considerations:

Consultation with Healthcare Providers: Before starting massage therapy, individuals with nerve damage should consult with their healthcare providers to ensure it is safe and appropriate for their specific condition.

Qualified Massage Therapists: It is crucial to seek massage therapists who are trained and experienced in dealing with nerve-related issues. A qualified therapist can tailor the treatment to the individual’s needs and avoid exacerbating the condition.

Communication: Open communication with the massage therapist is vital. Individuals should inform their therapists about their symptoms, pain levels, and any changes in their condition to ensure the treatment is effective and safe.

Gradual Approach: Starting with gentle techniques and gradually increasing intensity can help the body adapt to the therapy and prevent any adverse reactions.


Massage therapy offers a promising complementary approach for managing nerve damage. By improving circulation, reducing pain, and promoting relaxation, various massage techniques can aid in the recovery process and enhance the quality of life for individuals with nerve-related conditions. However, it is essential to approach massage therapy with careful consideration and professional guidance to ensure safety and efficacy. With the right approach, massage can be a valuable tool in the journey towards nerve health and overall well-being.

For more information about how massage can benefit nerve damage contact our local massage therapy school campus.

Massage & Carpal Tunnel

Massage & Carpal Tunnel

Massage Therapy and Carpal TunnelMassage therapy is an effect treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition caused by a pinched median nerve in the wrist. It’s associated with pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the hand and wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow canal in the wrist. The bottom and sides of the tunnel are formed by small bones called carpal bones. The top of the tunnel is a strong band of transverse carpal ligament, which holds the all components together.

Inside the tunnel are the median nerve and tendons. Tendons are rope-like structures that connect bones in the hand to muscles in the forearm. They also allow the thumb and fingers to bend. The median nerve runs down the arm and forearm and passes through the carpal tunnel into the palm of the hand. It provides sensation to the fingers (except the little finger). It also adds strength to some small muscles at the base of the thumb and index finger.

When the ligament thickens or tendons swell, the space in the tunnel decreases and the median nerve becomes compressed, exerting excessive pressure on the median nerve.

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms include:

  • Tingling, burning, or itching in the palm and fingers, especially the thumb, middle, and index fingers
  • Occasional shock-like sensation that moves up into the fingers
  • Pain and tingling traveling up the forearm toward the shoulder
  • A swollen feeling in the fingers
  • Decreased feeling in the fingertips
  • Occasional hand weakness and loss of coordination
  • Weakness and clumsiness in the hand, which may make it difficult to use the hand for small tasks such as writing, or buttoning a shirt
  • Dropping objects due to numbness, weakness, or loss of proprioception

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome begin suddenly or gradually- without a specific injury. In fact, many people find that symptoms come and go at first, and usually affected by excessive use of the hand. As the condition worsens and the pressure on the nerve becomes greater, symptoms may become more frequent or may persist for longer periods of time.

It’s common for people to experience nighttime symptoms because many sleep with their wrists bent. In the morning, a person may wake up with tingling or numbness in their hands. They may not notice the problem at all during the day, but symptoms often flare up when holding something with the wrist bent, such as when reading a book, using a phone, or driving. Many patients find that moving or shaking the hands can relieve the symptoms in the early stages of the condition.

Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is often caused by a combination of factors that irritate or squeeze the median nerve. Possible contributing factors include:

  • Activities that involve highly repetitive wrist or finger motions, like typing, farming, or knitting. Repetitive motions may aggravate the tendons in the wrist, causing swelling that exerts pressure on the nerve. This usually happens when the hands are lower than the wrists
  • Trauma or injury to the wrist, such as sprain or fracture. This may break one or more of the carpal bones, cause swelling, or deform the small bones in the wrist
  • Arthritis-related diseases, especially if there is swelling of the wrist joint, tendons, and tissues in the carpal tunnel
  • Work that involves heavy use of the wrist
  • Mechanical problems in the wrist joint
  • Hormonal changes and fluid retention caused by pregnancy or menopause
  • Repeated use of vibrating hand tools or instruments that require forceful gripping and put pressure at the base of the palm
  • Heredity
  • Health conditions such as diabetes, amyloidosis, kidney failure, lymphedema, menopause, an underactive thyroid gland, or an overactive pituitary gland

Massage Therapy for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Massage therapy is a non-invasive and effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome. It helps relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome by reducing swelling in the muscles caused by damage or overextension in the work environment. It also works by breaking down scar tissue, and softening and lengthening muscles and fascia of the shoulder, neck, elbow, wrist, hand, forearm, and upper arm.

During a massage session, the therapist will use deep tissue work to stimulate trigger points, release adhesions, and reduce the tension in the soft tissues of the arm, shoulder, hand, and wrist. This involves bringing the arm and shoulder out of internal rotation or incorporating myofascial cupping to reduce muscle tension.

By massaging and stretching tendons in the arm and wrist, a massage therapist can help restore full flexibility of the arm and reduce the pressure the tendons are putting on the median nerve. This in turn reduces the inflammation, pain, and numbness associated with carpal tunnel syndrome.

The number of massage sessions it takes for a patient with carpal tunnel syndrome to find relief will vary depending on how severe the problem is. Most clients experience some level of relief after the first session but for others, it may take three to five sessions or more to get long-term results.

Learn Advanced Massage Therapy Techniques from the Experts

While massage therapy is effective in treating carpal tunnel syndrome, it must be done right to get the expected results. If you’d like to expand your knowledge and skills in massage therapy, enroll in one  of Seattle’s best massage therapy schools to learn therapeutic massage therapy protocols. You’ll learn massage theories and practices, anatomy and physiology, pathology, kinesiology, and much more. This will equip you with the skills you’ll need to provide care for individuals who’ve been affected by carpal tunnel syndrome and other similar ailments.

Another option for massage therapy schools in Seattle is our sister school Seattle Clinical Massage School

Contact us today to speak with one of our enrollment specialists.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What is it? And How Do I Relieve it?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: What is it? And How Do I Relieve it?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Massage Therapy

In our fast-paced, technology-addicted world, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common complaint. The stiff muscles and shooting pain sufferers experience can have a significantly negative impact on daily life. As a professional therapist or bodyworker, it’s likely you will work with a client who has Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Understanding this increasingly common condition will allow you to help your clients achieve maximum relief.

What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when pressure is exerted on the median nerve that runs through the arm and wrist. This nerve controls motion and feeling in all digits except the little finger. When the nerve reaches the wrist, it runs through a narrow structure of bone and ligament called the carpal tunnel. Constant pressure on the nerve causes it to press against the bony parts of the structure. If left untreated, the nerve will sustain damage that can cause a variety of symptoms.

  • Numbness
  • Loss of muscle strength
  • Tingling
  • Pain in fingers, hand, or forearm
  • Many sufferers first notice their symptoms at night.

Getting a Diagnosis

As always, patients should seek an official diagnosis from their primary medical physician. The doctor will start with a medical history. People with arthritis, hypothyroidism, and diabetes are at higher risk of developing the condition. The doctor will ask about recent injuries or accidents affecting the head, shoulders, arms, or hands. They will also examine your daily routine. Those with jobs that require small, repetitive movements of the hands and wrists have a greater chance of their symptoms being caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

The doctor then performs a physical examination. They will check muscle strength, sensation (the ability to feel), and the general appearance of the head, neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands. Some specialists may order blood or nerve tests to verify results.

Traditional Treatment Methods

Depending on the severity of symptoms, conventional treatment options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome vary. Milder symptoms can often be treated effectively at home.

  • Stop any activities that may be causing symptoms. If that is not possible, try to rest your wrists and hands often.
  • Place an ice pack on wrists for 10-15 minutes at a time up to 2 times per hour to reduce discomfort.
  • N-SAIDs, like Ibuprofen or Naproxen Sodium, reduce painful swelling.
  • Wearing a wrist splint while sleeping can lessen pressure on the median nerve.

If symptoms are allowed to progress, more severe interventions may be necessary. Powerful anti-inflammatory medications, called corticosteroids, can be prescribed in pill form or injected directly into the wrist. While these medications can significantly reduce pain associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, they do not provide permanent relief. Surgery is an option for the most advanced cases.

Other Self-Treatment Options

There are some simple steps everyone can take to decrease the intensity of symptoms and frequency of attacks caused by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

  • Regular Stretching 
  • Get treated for contributing conditions.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Exercise regularly.

In addition to lifestyle changes, sufferers should take measures to protect their wrists and hands.

  • Keep wrists elevated when using a keyboard.
  • Keep shoulders relaxed and at the sides while typing or working.
  • Use the whole hand to grip items rather than just fingers.
  • Switch hands during repetitive motions.

Massage Therapy for Natural Pain Relief

Certain massage techniques have been proven to relax tight muscles and fascia in the arm and shoulder and reduce pressure on the median nerve. For clients with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a muscle specific massage will help address holding patterns associated with repetitive use while also increasing blood flow to the affected region. Leaving your client feeling loose, refreshed, and hopefully pain-free.

Contact us today to learn more about how massage therapy can be an effective treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.