resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
A Poor Choice for Pain Relief
Acetaminophen is the most popular pain reliever in the U.S., accounting for an estimated 27 billion annual doses as of 2009. With 100,000-plus hospital visits a year by users, it's also the most likely to be taken inappropriately.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
October, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 10
Median Nerve Compression Pathologies
By Whitney Lowe, LMT
The most researched and well-defined upper extremity nerve-entrapment problem is carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). CTS involves compression of the median nerve at the base of the hand in a region called the carpal tunnel.Because this condition is studied so often, we have a very good understanding of how it occurs; however, because it has become such a "popular" condition, clinical practitioners may be too eager to assume the presence of CTS simply because their patient/client experiences median nerve compression symptoms.
This article will look at the entire length of the median nerve where there are numerous locations that median nerve entrapment may occur. We will follow the nerve's course from the spinal cord to its termination in the hand and describe common locations of compression pathology. It is essential to thoroughly evaluate the problem before coming to a conclusion about the presence of the ever-popular CTS.
The median nerve carries both motor and sensory fibers. Therefore, compression of the nerve may create both sensory and motor deficit. The sensory symptoms are located primarily in the palm (See Figure 1). They include pain (often described as sharp, shooting, or electrical in nature), paresthesia ("pins and needles"sensations), and numbness. The median nerve and its branches innervate primarily the flexors of the wrist and fingers, as well as several muscles of the thumb. Motor problems from median nerve compression usually show up as weakness in grip strength or atrophy of the thenar eminence (fleshy part of the palm near the base of the thumb).
The first location where median nerve compression may occur is at the cervical nerve roots. The median nerve is derived from the C5-T1 nerve roots. Intervertebral discs, bone spurs, small tumors, or other obstructions may press on these nerve roots and produce symptoms that affect the median nerve. Since the nerve roots also contain fibers for other peripheral nerves, symptoms of compression at the nerve root level may extend outside the commonly mapped area for median nerve sensory involvement illustrated in Figure 1.
Thoracic outlet syndrome is not consistently defined in the medical literature, so there is a great deal of confusion about it. Fibers of the median nerve can get compressed against a pathological bony extension of the C7 transverse process, called a cervical rib. This is called true neurological thoracic outlet syndrome. Other thoracic outlet syndrome variations that may compress the median nerve include the region between the anterior and middle scalene muscles, between the clavicle and first rib, and underneath the pectoralis minor muscle.
Moving distally after leaving the axillary region, the next location where median nerve entrapment is likely, is just proximal to the elbow. This location is only a possible source of nerve entrapment in a small percentage of the population. A ligament called the ligament of Struthers is present in 1 percent to 3 percent of the population. It runs between the medial epicondyle and the shaft of the humerus, and has no function. The median nerve passes underneath it and can get compressed here although it is not very common.
While the biceps brachii attaches primarily to the radius, there is a fibrous attachment to the ulna through a slip of fascia called the lacertus fibrosus, which is also called the bicipital aponeurosis. The median nerve runs underneath the lacertus fibrosus at the elbow and can get compressed by it here. If symptoms are aggravated during strong elbow flexion movements (when the biceps brachii is contracting strongly) there is a good likelihood that compression exists here.
After leaving the elbow, the median nerve runs between the two heads of the pronator teres muscle. This is a common region of median nerve compression and is commonly mistaken for CTS. The sensory and motor signals are almost identical, making it difficult to distinguish these two regions of entrapment without more specific physical examination, such as orthopedic special tests and nerve conduction studies.
The last common location of median nerve entrapment is within the carpal tunnel. While this region is the most common site of median nerve entrapment, it is not the only one. There are a large percentage of failed carpal tunnel treatments; this could very well be due to improper identification of the precise location of median nerve entrapment.
Keep in mind that compression may occur at several sites simultaneously. Therefore, you may have a problem that is not in just one of these locations, but in two or more.
One of the great benefits for using massage to treat nerve compression problems is that massage treatments are frequently applied to the whole length of the nerve and can easily work on multiple sites of compression at the same time.
A summary of the locations for median nerve entrapment are:
Click here for more information about Whitney Lowe, LMT.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.