Sometimes when I travel to teach, students who have taken classes from me in the past will ask if I have any open time to work on them.
I was working on a student last week before our Seattle classes who was having thumb issue. This student has been a reflexologist for about 10 years, began massage school a couple of years ago, and then had to stop massage school for eight months due to a thumb injury. Her docs said she had a sprained thumb. She did not have a direct injury, just reached for a thick binder, felt something give, and has had pain and weakness since. She has done PT, worn a brace, and tried very, very hard not to use her thumb as instructed. The pain has decreased, but her mobility and strength have not returned.
I spent 30 minutes working on her hand and forearm. One of the first things she said to me was that her forearm extensors were always wicked tight. In my initial palpation, I felt quite a bit of tension in her forearm extensors and little in her forearm flexors. I also felt that her ulna was immobile. I worked with that first, releasing the interosseus membrane and the connective tissue of the humeroulnar joint. Once the ulna was mobile, the tension in her forearm shifted to the flexors. Her extensors were still tight, but less so, while her flexor tone had increased substantially.
Later that weekend, she told me that her thumb was doing really well, that she had less pain than she since she reached for that binder. What I ultimately found was that she had shifted a carpal bone, her first metacarpal was immobile, and all of her thumb muscles were adhered together. She will have to do some work to regain the strength in the muscles. But without first mobilizing the ulna, we would not have achieved all that we did in 30 minutes.
Full Circle’s NCBTMB approved CE course for SMRT: Arm & Hand will be taught in June in Watford City, ND and in November in Witchita, KS. You can also purchase this course on DVD, by digital download, or as a 60-day rental. https://efullcircle.com/spontaneous-muscle-release-technique-arm-hand/