Some time back I received a request from a reader to cover treatments for violinists. Although violin-playing is not a sport, these clients are athletes — each day undergoing continuous use of their upper extremities, especially the hands. Let’s cover some of the common dysfunctions seen in violinists, as well as preventive treatments to help keep these athletes’ upper extremities in good shape. We will start with the condition I’ve seen afflict quite a few professional and amateur violinists — Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
With the widespread use of computers, carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries (CTS/RSI) are quickly becoming the leading cause of workplace absenteeism in the United States. But computer operators are not the only ones affected with these maladies. Cashiers, hairdressers, massage therapists and countless other professionals can be seen wearing wrist braces in the line of duty. Allopathic medicine treats these conditions with anti-inflammatories, cortisone injections and ultimately surgery.
Colleen entered massage school with all the hopes and dreams of someone searching for the perfect, mid-life career change. She simply wanted to help people, while making a decent living in the process. Little did she know the repetitive use injury she would fall victim to began early in her training — while she was still attending massage school. Unfortunately, as a new massage therapist, Colleen could help her clients’ pain, but she didn’t have the knowledge necessary to remain pain-free herself.
On a daily basis, massage therapists across the country assist their clients in the prevention of, and recovery from, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and related repetitive stress injuries (RSI). Let’s take a look at the anatomy and biomechanics of CTS and related syndromes, and through our understanding of the structural and behavioral origins of this disorder, find ways to prevent it from “impinging” on your own body.