Massage & Bodywork

MAY | JUNE 2016

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Triquetrum Lunate Ulna Scaphoid Radius Distal row Proximal row 102 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a y / j u n e 2 0 1 6 technique MYOSKELETAL ALIGNMENT TECHNIQUES Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Revisited Adding Nerve and Joint Gliding Routines By Erik Dalton, PhD Artists, bodyworkers, computer programmers, and writers are among those who suffer from overuse syndromes such as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). Although most of us have developed hands- on skills for relieving median nerve compression as it passes under the transverse carpal ligament, I believe the treatment can be enhanced (Image 1). By adding simple nerve and joint gliding techniques, inflammation, which arises as tendon and nerve sheaths glide across rigid carpal bones, is often reduced. A 2015 study published in The Journal of Pain reported physical manual therapies that included central nervous system desensitization maneuvers were effective in improving CTS pain. 1 By restoring proper carpal joint positioning, massage helps lower intra-tunnel pressure and boosts median nerve glide. I've found gentle carpal stretching facilitates longitudinal nerve excursion and reduces protective guarding in the arm flexor muscles. To test this hypothesis, let's first assess and correct the most common carpal bone fixation (lunate), get the median nerve gliding, and retest. ADDRESSING LUNATE-TRIQUETRUM- SCAPHOID MOBILITY Of the eight carpal bones, the lunate is notoriously the most problematic. It's prone to sticking (Image 2), and researchers have discovered that during falls or motor vehicle accidents with the hand outstretched, the lunate can dislocate, compress the flexor tendons, and occlude the median nerve. 2 Several orthopedic tests are beneficial in identifying motion-restricted wrist and hand joints, but let's focus on a single neurological exam I've found effective. 1 2 The relationship of the median nerve and the transverse carpal ligament. The proximal carpal row includes the scaphoid, lunate, and triquetrum. To begin, ask the client to touch the tip of the fourth digit to the thumb and hold firmly, as you moderately attempt to pull these fingers apart, testing the non- affected hand first. Weakness in the ring finger's opposition to the thumb usually indicates a triquetrum-lunate fixation. Conversely, weakness when testing the third digit's opposition to the thumb incriminates the lunate-scaphoid joint. The osteoligamentous stretches shown in Images 3 and 4 are designed to correct lunate fixations. I encourage you to add these stretches to your current CTS repertoire. RESTORING CTS NERVE GLIDE When swollen tendon sheaths and fixated carpals crowd out the median nerve, loss of axoplasmic nutrient flow can trigger chronic inflammation, as well as pain, if the brain feels the injury is a functional threat. A variety of active and passive neural glide techniques exist to help clients with CTS pain, but the flossing routine shown in Image 5 is my favorite. When performing this neurodynamic maneuver, the order of joint positioning is crucial. Begin by stabilizing the shoulder (scapula), followed by the forearm, wrist, fingers, and elbow. Median nerve Transverse carpal ligament

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