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Trigger Point Massage

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is a common condition caused by median nerve compression as it passes through the wrist. This compression leads to tingling, numbness, and pain in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers.

As a trigger point massage therapist with years of experience treating patients, I have seen how disruptive CTS can be to one’s daily activities.

The good news is that various conservative treatment options can help alleviate symptoms, including trigger point massage.

In this blog post, I will discuss how trigger point therapy works and demonstrate self-care techniques you can perform at home for relief.

Understanding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm of your wrist composed of ligaments and bones. Running through this tunnel is the median nerve, which supplies feeling and movement to the first four fingers. Any swelling or dysfunction in this area can pressure the nerve, leading to CTS, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. Common causes include repetitive hand motions, pregnancy, arthritis, diabetes, thyroid issues, and trauma. Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms generally start gradually and worsen over time. These include:
  • Tingling, numbness, pain, or aching in the thumb, index, middle, and ring fingers
  • More pain or discomfort at night
  • Weak grip or difficulty performing delicate motor tasks
  • Burning, electrical-like sensations down the arm
If left untreated, muscle wasting and permanent nerve damage can occur. Thus, it’s important to manage symptoms early on. Related, What is Pressure or Trigger Point Massage Therapy

Trigger Point Therapy

According to the National Institute of Health, trigger points are hyperirritable knots in the taut band of muscle tissue, which happens in response to injury, overuse, inflammation, or chronic postural stress. These sensitive, tight bands can restrict circulation and cause pain to radiate. Trigger points not only occur in the forearm flexors and extensors that control wrist and finger motion but also in the pectorals, shoulders, and neck with CTS. Massaging these myofascial trigger points can help to relieve nerve compression and restore muscular balance. Benefits include:
  • Reduces inflammation and releases tight muscle bands
  • Restores proper tissue alignment and length
  • Improves mobility of the nerves, tendons, and surrounding muscles
  • Boosts circulation to diminish symptoms
  • Provides pain relief through the release of endorphins
I incorporate trigger point therapy into personalized protocols for most of my carpal tunnel patients, including using my thumbs, elbows, and forearms to apply direct, sustained pressure to release adhesions.

How Trigger Point Therapy Alleviates Carpal Tunnel Pain?

When trigger point therapy is applied to release these muscular trigger points, direct pressure helps relax tight muscle bands, restore muscle flexibility, and alleviate nerve pressure. Other benefits include:
  • Breaks up fibrous muscle adhesions and scar tissue from small tears
  • Resolves dysfunctional motor end plates, causing abnormal firing
  • Interrupts the pain-tension-pain cycle
  • Disperses edema, blood, and lymphatic fluid buildup
  • Increases blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues
  • Releases endorphins for natural pain relief
Tension is reduced around the carpal tunnel outlet as these muscular trigger points are deactivated through sustained pressure and trigger point massage techniques. It takes pressure off the median nerve, allowing nerve signals and circulation to return to normal. Symptoms subside over time following regular and recurrent trigger point therapy to maintain flexibility. Related, Is Trigger Point Therapy Effective?
Carpal Tunnel Pain

Self-Managed Care for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Using self-massage techniques targeted at common trigger points can go a long way in managing carpal tunnel pain and tingling sensations. Here are some of my go-to method, I recommend to clients:

1. Forearm Flexors

These muscles run along the underside of your forearm up to your elbow. Use your opposite thumb, knuckles, or a massage tool to apply downward stroking pressure along the muscle bellies. Hold tender spots for up to 30 seconds until the tissue softens.

2. Forearm Extensors

The extensors run along the top side of your forearm and aid in wrist extension. Use your opposite fingertips to massage across these muscles in a back-and-forth motion. Focus extra time on the thicker, fleshier muscle mass up by the elbow.

3. Median Nerve Glide

Gently glide the median nerve back and forth to encourage mobility through the carpal tunnel. With your affected hand straight out and palm down, bend your wrist gently towards your body and then down towards the ground repeatedly. Repeat for 30-60 seconds at a time. Other helpful stretches and exercises include wrist flexor stretches, finger and wrist mobility drills, nerve flossing, and nerve gliding exercises using hand and arm movements.

Trigger Point Massage

Other Protocols I Employ to Treat Carpal Tunnel Pain

While self-care can provide some relief, you may benefit from working directly with a specialist for a customized treatment plan. As a chiropractor, I use a combination of joint manipulation, soft tissue therapies, and rehabilitative exercises to improve mechanical function and nerve flow for CTS patients. A typical session includes:
  • Thorough evaluation of posture, biomechanics, and areas of nerve entrapment
  • Manual release of muscles using instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization along the shoulder, arms, wrists, and hands
  • Targeted joint manipulation of the cervical spine, shoulder, elbow, and wrist
  • Trigger point therapy using sustained thumb, fist, and elbow pressure
  • Passive stretching and range of motion exercises
  • Recommendations for ergonomic equipment, bracing, and home care

Prevention and Long-Term Management

The hallmark of managing chronic conditions like CTS is consistency – diligently performing self-care and ergonomic strategies at home, work, and during activities. Here are my top tips:
  • Take frequent stretch breaks if you have a desk job or repetitive tasks
  • Avoid positions that over-flex the wrist, like typing with wrists extended down
  • Use an external keyboard and mouse pad instead of a laptop
  • Sleep with a soft wrist brace to keep your wrist slightly extended
  • Apply ice or cooling gel packs to help reduce inflammation
  • Get a professional massage monthly targeting forearms, wrists, hands and neck
  • Perform gentle wrist and finger stretches daily

Are you suffering from pain, tingling hands, and loss of grip strength due to carpal tunnel syndrome?

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The Final Words

This blog provided an overview of how targeted trigger point massage can effectively reduce CTS nerve and muscle dysfunction for lasting relief. If you’re still suffering from chronic wrist pain, tingling, and numbness despite self-care efforts, I encourage you to reach out.

I work collaboratively to reach the root cause and customize complementary treatments to meet each patient’s needs. I empower my patients with education and tools for self-managed care so they can take an active role in their healing journey with us.


Meet Dr. Craig Eymann, a dedicated chiropractor and yoga enthusiast with over two decades of expertise in spinal health, sports chiropractic, and personalized care, prioritizing misalignment correction for swift injury resolution.

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Dr. Craig Eymann

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