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HI Everyone, I have been doing massage for about a year now and lately when I am sleeping I wake up with horrible numbness/tingling and cramps in my hands. I always try to practice good body mechanics so a bit concerned about what is going on with my hands. Any suggestions on what this could be. Would love to know what kind of stretches/treatment I need to start doing. Thanks,

Colleen

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Dear Colleen,

 

In my experience the best thing you can do is to begin stretching. My favorite for your kind of symptoms is to lie on your back on the floor, knees up or down, with arms stretched straight out to the sides. Relax your hands and just lie there, paying attention to the sensations that you feel. They will come and go, shift location, vary in intensity. It's kind of neat, actually, to feel all the different sensations that come up. Do this stretch for as long as you have time for. In your case, I'd recommend that you do it before going to bed, and once again in the AM. You can always add additional time throughout the day if that suits you.

 

If you get to the point where this positioning doesn't elicit any more sensations, then try opening your fingers slightly and hold that position to see what sensations come up as you lie there. You can continue to open your fingers further and further to get additional symptom relief. Just do it in stages and take it nice and slow. You can also try rolling your bent knees to one side or the other, then rest in the new position to observe the sensations.

 

There are more targeted stretches that will get deeper into the tissues that have changed that are creating your symptoms, such as all the tissues along the nerve pathway, but this is an excellent one to start with.

 

Don't put off doing something about this. Nerve sensation such as yours indicate that there has been a lot of change to the connective tissues that are supporting your nerves. Failure to correct this kind of tissue change can lead to more intense and debilitating nerve involvement in the future. The good news is that it is possible to completely eliminate these types of symptoms with stretching alone. I have helped thousands do just that. You just need to learn how to do it and you will find great relief.

 

Let us know how it goes for you!

 

Sharon Butler

Starting a new career which involves much use of the chest/anterior arm musculature can cause these tissues to shorten over time. Body mechanics are important, but so is keeping or improving the flexibility of the anterior chest and shoulder region. Self care, such as prolonged doorway stretches and the like can be quite helpful for improving this condition. Get some good work done on your self (you insert the modality) that really gets in there to help open up this region). MFR is great for this, but there are many other good modalities to try.

 

Good Luck

Walt Fritz, PT

Hello. I am sorry to hear you are having numbness in your Hands. If it has been a year since you have been having symptoms, its time to take time off from what is causing it. Stop doing he activity that is causing it, reduce inflammation with hydrotherapy ( cryotherapy), go to a specialist and find out the root cause of the symptoms. Finding out the source is very important to reducing your symptoms. True carpal tunnel can happen but most of the time, the source is coming from higher up the chain. The source could be tight muscles with trigger points, or it could be a structural impingement. Sometimes it is simply trigger points in the pectorals minor or it could be a rib out or it could be a disc impingement. The only way to find out is to see a specialist.
It is important to find the source so you can heal. If this has been going on a year, damage could already have occurred.
I have first had knowledge in this subject. In my book, Creating Peace with Your Hands, I tell my story and I explain
repetitive strain injuries, the injury and healing process in depth. I have a free 1 hour course at igetintouch.com that has some stretches and self care info. I wish you a long and healthy career.
Karina Braun

Hi Colleen,

 

Sorry to hear you're having numbness, that's certainly inconvenient!  I agree with everything the others here are saying,  and I would also suggest a consult with a good, Palmer-trained chiropractor.  (If that's in your scope of things you want to explore.)   Try to get a referral from somebody in your area.  They deal as much with the nervous system as they do with the skeletal structure.  It could be that your ergonomics during the past year (table height, positioning, or whatever) have affected your frame ~ like mine do, if I'm not especially paying attention.  I'm in my sixties and couldn't be doing this work if I didn't keep maintaining the "tools"...which include my spine and everythng attached to it.   Good luck, I hope you resolve this.   

Thanks for all the quick feedback. Sharon the stretches you provided above, do you have palms down or up? Also, this problem just started about a month ago so hopefully I can resolve it now that I have some idea what it is. You all have been very helpful!

Thanks!

Numbness and tingling to the extent you describe is a symptom that requires attention by a healthcare provider who has the proper license and training to diagnose the condition.  There are SO many reasons it could be happening, including causes that are not musculoskeletal in nature. It's very important as massage therapists that we know which symptoms require medical attention first and foremost, and refer them out. Paresthesias that are severe and persistent like this should always be referred out. Yes, once there is a diagnosis, there are all kinds of treatment that can be effective, including massage and bodywork.  But until you know what you're dealing with, with this kind of symptom, the person needs to seek medical care.

 

You cannot assume that her symptoms are due to doing massage.  And certainly no one's personal experience with being injured should be used as an example of how another person's symptoms could or should be treated. Just because something worked well in your case has really no bearing whatsoever on what will work well for someone else.  We are each individuals, and the human body is extremely complex.  Same goes for claims that any one treatment will help this person because you've done them with others and they found it helpful.  You and I cannot know why Colleen is having severe paresthesias, so we cannot know what would be the best treatment for her. 

 

I know everyone is trying to be helpful, and your suggestions are great AFTER diagnosis. Remember, "first do no harm" (Hypocratic oath) - the best way to do no harm is for the person to seek proper medical attention, and for all of us to familiarize ourselves with the symptoms that require medical attention, for our own sakes and for the sake of the people we advise.

Lauriann,

Your points were accurate, though a bit chastising. Your tips would hold true for anyone here seeking advise. But, Colleen asked for advise and the comments made thus far have been appropriate and sounding safe. If we are interacting with the public, our comments should be leaning toward the side of utter safety: get checked out by your MD first. While Colleen may choose to do this, the choice is hers.

The MD's diagnosis will rule out the big stuff. A good thing. As a PT, most of the diagnoses that come across on my patient's prescriptions are pretty vague and generic. It is still up to us to work with the actual problem. Colleen stated a problem and options were given. Yours is certainly one of them.

Hi Colleen,

 

Do the exercise with palms up. Then once you get to the point where you no longer get sensations from dong the stretch that way, try palms down. I recommend that people who have more forearm muscle issues do the stretch with palms down (along with palms-up) from the beginning. In your case, with nerve involvement, do it palms up until you can go no further with it. Then try the reverse.

 

Let me know how it goes!

 

Sharon Butler

Colleen Romine LMT said:

Thanks for all the quick feedback. Sharon the stretches you provided above, do you have palms down or up? Also, this problem just started about a month ago so hopefully I can resolve it now that I have some idea what it is. You all have been very helpful!

Thanks!

Hi Colleen, the book "Save your Hands" is awesome.  Lots of stretches and self care tips.  Just google it and you will find the author's website.

I own Top Massage Tables. My favorite instructional DVD for hands & wrist care is Healthy Hands, Wrists and Forearms, http://www.topmassagetables.com/product.asp?ID=438

The DVD covers the whole range including hand, wrist & forearm massage, stretches, hot/cold therapy and good care advice. It is good for both self care and also a good resource for your massage treatments on clients with hand, wrist or forearm pain and injury.

THANK YOU !  I JUST ORDERED THE DVD !

VALERIE,  LITTLE ROCK, AR.

Top Massage Tables said:

I own Top Massage Tables. My favorite instructional DVD for hands & wrist care is Healthy Hands, Wrists and Forearms, http://www.topmassagetables.com/product.asp?ID=438

The DVD covers the whole range including hand, wrist & forearm massage, stretches, hot/cold therapy and good care advice. It is good for both self care and also a good resource for your massage treatments on clients with hand, wrist or forearm pain and injury.

Hi Colleen, This used to happen to me with the numbness even before massage school. But by using acupressure it went away. And I'm saying almost immediately.

If you make a fist and on the ulnar side of hand look at the crease of skin that sticks out on hand. It comes out to a point of skin at the end of the skin crease. Below the digit. Press with your thumb of other hand and hold for a minute or so. you can even do this in bed in the morning while your hand is still numb but the advised won't be able to hold your thumb on a acupressure point for too long because it's intense when doing it while hand is numb. Doesn't really hurt, just a funny feeling , but works every time. I use it for finger and hand pain.

Also don't forget for general body ache anywhere the acupressure point between thumb and first finger, pinching the skin below the 2nd knuckle of your thumb. You are pinching the Web of skin between the fingers.

But I find the first acupressure on hand to be the best. Best of luck to you and being pain free.

Michele

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