There are certain bodily conditions that produce similar symptoms in many people despite being different in a few important ways, and a good example here is the similarities between carpal tunnel syndrome and thoracic outlet syndrome. While both of these issues can lead to similar forms of pain or other symptoms, they also have a few important differences -- but another important similarity is how both can be positively impacted by quality massage therapy.
At REMassage, we're happy to offer a wide variety of massage therapy techniques to many clients in need, including for both these conditions. What does each of these issues refer to, and how might massage play a significant role in decreasing symptoms and improving recovery? Here's everything you need to know.
Defining Both Conditions
First and foremost, it's essential to understand each of these issues on a more granular level. Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to a condition that arises when the median nerve -- which extends from the forearm into the palm of the hand -- becomes compressed. Thoracic outlet syndrome, on the other hand, is an issue that occurs when blood vessels or nerves become compressed in the thoracic region of the spine. The former is more common, impacting around 3 to 6 percent of adults in the United States, while the latter is less so, affecting only around 0.5 to 1 percent.
Both conditions, however, often lead to comparable symptoms. These might include pain or tingling in the fingers, hands, or arms; numbness; weakness; and/or a decrease in dexterity. In more severe cases, there may also be swelling, discoloration, and changes in temperature in the affected extremities.
How Massage Can Help With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
So how can massage play a role in helping with carpal tunnel? Massage serves as a low-cost, non-invasive option that can help to significantly decrease symptoms. It does this in a few ways. For one, massage therapy can help to improve circulation and reduce inflammation in the affected area. Massage can also reduce muscle tension, which often contributes to or worsens the condition.
Maybe most importantly, though, massage softens and lengthens the muscles and fascia of the neck, shoulder, elbow and related areas. This, in turn, can help to take pressure off of the median nerve, providing much-needed relief.
How Massage Can Help With Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Similarly, massage therapy can also help those struggling with thoracic outlet syndrome. Once again, this is due to a few different mechanisms. Massage helps to improve circulation and reduce inflammation in the affected area, as well as to reduce muscle tension.
Massage also lengthens muscles and soft tissue in the neck, shoulder, and related areas. This can take pressure off of the nerves or blood vessels that are compressed, providing relief.
Additionally, massage therapy can help to break up scar tissue that might be present from previous injuries. This, in turn, can help to improve range of motion and reduce the risk of further injury.
If you're struggling with either carpal tunnel syndrome or thoracic outlet syndrome, massage therapy may be a helpful option for you. Contact our team at REMassage today to learn more or schedule an appointment!