"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Friday, January 07, 2011

Carpal Tunnel Self-Treatment

This is a work-in progress that will be updated periodically, and is a follow-up to Help! - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome???, which should be read first.

(Updated below - 06 Feb 2011)

At the end that post (in the update of 05 Dec 2010), I had just ordered the The Julstro Self-Treatment System© and was awaiting its arrival.

When I got the kit (on 13 Dec 2010), it was missing the accompanying book I had ordered with it.  An email to them got a prompt apology for the screw-up and a promise to ship it right away. That was followed by another email, with a USPS tracking number, showing that it was indeed in route. The book arrived on the 21st.  So, apparently not a run-around.  (You want to see run-around?!!   Check out Anatomy of an eBay Transaction...  that's what a run-around looks like. )

If you've been reading carefully, you'll have noticed that I had everything by Dec 21st;" seventeen days ago, and I'm only just now writing about it?!!!

Start of whine.  I can only plead that, for a single man completely alone, I seem to have one hell of a lot on my plate.  Perhaps not as much as a married man with a family would have, but the flip side of "completely alone" means that when something has to be done, there just ain't no one else to do it for me.  End of whine.

First impressions...

The book on the left is supplemental;  the accompanying one I mentioned above.

The other items make up the kit, consisting of...

An instructional DVD (that wouldn't play in my regular player, but would play Ok in my old Panasonic DVD recorder.  Frustrating, but not unusual for home-brewed DVDs.)

A workbook that covers the same ground as the DVD.

A chart of nerve "trigger points".

A hard plastic hand tool for attacking those trigger points.
("Attack" might be the right word; it could substitute for brass knuckles.)

The DVD and book both start with trigger points on nerves passing through a muscle in the neck called the scalenes, which I'm having a hell of a time successfully locating. The idea is that when a nerve is impinged, you feel it at the endpoint. So the treatment includes nerves at the base of the neck, right on down through the arms, to treat symptoms that seem confined to hands and fingers.

The theory is that (from Julstro manual)...

"Each time a muscle is held taught for extended periods of time especially when the contraction is done with strength, the muscle adjusts to that shortened position. This is due to a phenomenon called muscle memory. The result is tension on the tendons of the muscles, a buildup of lactic acid, and a diminished supply of fresh blood, nutrients, and oxygen to the muscle. When this happens to the muscles of the arm and hand the cascade of events will lead to pain, numbness, and loss of mobility to the hand and wrists."

The treatment apparently is a combination of deep-tissue massage (with the help of that weapon tool) and stretching of the muscles to flush out toxins.

Now, I must confess that my experience with massage is mostly limited to Asian massage parlors in the Saginaw and Utica areas of Michigan, the very first of which (Jade Spa, in Saginaw, 1984) had a small pink heart-shaped neon tube illuminating one corner of its front window. Somehow, further elaboration doesn't seem necessary. (To "Jade": Wherever you are, I hope you are well. :-)

Which strongly implies that I don't really know enough about massage to determine if that theory truly makes sense. The mention of "lactic acid" raises a flag as google searches on it reveal pages that attack the theory of it being a problem, countered by other pages that support it. Kinda like googling for climate change data. :(

Leaving me figuring the only thing to do is an empirical approach; try it and see if it works.

First thing I have to master is finding those scalenes, without giving myself a Vulcan nerve pinch in the process. :-)

Hope to update this, with useful info, in a couple of weeks.

Update - 06 - Feb 2011 - A ray of hope...
After several weeks of self-pitying inaction (see Psychosomatica), I finally went to a licensed massage therapist for help in locating those scalene muscles and in general getting her take on what I had written above about how this self-treatment was supposed to work.

After reading it, instead of going "WhaaaAAAAATT?!!!", she told me that it really did make sense, and that she thought I was on the right track. She also gave me some tips on nutrition that I will elaborate on in more detail, if this pans out.  And, YES, it could be weeks before a real difference is noted, so don't get discouraged too early.

So, I'm going to get back on track, and keep in mind about what I wrote at the start about being a work in progress.

Bottom line: I want to shout, "It... could... work!" (Gene Wilder, as Young Frankenstein, after reading his grandfather's seminal journal "How I Did It")

More later...

And, as I'm evaluating their product, time for a commercial...

Interested to know more about carpal tunnel treatment?
Take advantage of the free resource at www.carpaltunneltreatment.org and
find the best solution to your carpal tunnel questions and concerns.


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