Why are my hands tingling?

So you work in an office, doing lots of mousing and keyboarding.  You start noticing that you wake up at night with aching or tingling hands, like you’ve slept on them wrong.  You start worrying that you may be developing carpal tunnel syndrome and are dreading the thought of surgery.

DON’T PANIC

It is possible you have thoracic outlet syndrome, a condition caused by the compression of the nerves or blood vessels that feed your arms due to muscle tightness.  Oftentimes, this can be corrected with releasing the muscles in your neck and upper chest.

I have seen many clients come in because of tingling or a dull ache in their hands, especially felt at night.  These symptoms can be carpal tunnel syndrome which is a compression of the median nerve as it passes across the wrist.  However, symptoms are generally felt only in the thumb, index and middle fingers or up the arm to the elbow.  It is a good idea to rule out muscle tightness first because it is much simpler and less invasive than surgery.

SOLUTION

A massage provider should do a few muscle movement tests to rule out carpal tunnel syndrome and confirm which muscles may be contributing to the key symptoms.  If muscle tightness is found, the treatment involves releasing muscles in the neck, upper chest and shoulders.  Stretches are given at the end to allow you to continue improving on your own.  It is likely you will need a few treatments to sort out the adhesions and trigger points that may be present.  Afterwards, with regular stretching and possible posture correction, symptoms usually go away entirely.


Sciatica Symptoms: Bone degeneration or muscle tightness?

You’ve been experiencing back pain for awhile but something has changed.  You’re developing a dull achiness in the buttock and a shooting pain down the back of the leg.  It’s worse when you stand up after you’ve been sitting for awhile and it flares up when you’re walking.  Currently, the only thing that makes it feel better is lying down on your back.  You mention it at work and a co-worker declares that you have sciatica and goes on to give you details of the debilitating pain and surgery that a family member with the condition had to endure.

A little online research can give you one explanation.  Sciatica is an irritation of a particular nerve root as it exits the spine.  It can be caused by herniated discs, narrowing of the canal that holds the spinal cord or degeneration of the vertebrae surrounding the area the nerve root exits the spine.  You start worrying  that surgery may be in your future.

DON’T PANIC!

There are other conditions that can cause sciatic-like symptoms and a few of them relate to the piriformis – a muscle that runs from your sacrum to the top of your leg bone.  When it tightens excessively on one side, it can cause pressure on the sciatic nerve as it runs above, below or through the muscle.  Tight muscles can develop adhesions and tight spots called ‘trigger points’ that refer pain from the tight spot to the surrounding area.  The most common referral pattern of a trigger point in piriformis is down the back of the leg.

SOLUTION

The condition is easily treated with massage and stretching.  A therapist will loosen up the muscles of the low back and gluteal area, looking for especially sensitive tight spots that cause the referral pattern.  The muscle is stretched and lengthened and tender spots may be held with sustained pressure until they release.  The recommendation for homecare includes stretching the hip muscles and heating the surrounding area to prevent any recurring symptoms.