Massage IS a viable option
What is Dupuytren contracture?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, Dupuytren contracture (sometimes also called Dupuytren disease) is a disorder that makes the tissue under the skin of your palms and fingers thicken and tighten. Small bumps (nodules) grow on your hand’s fascia — the rubber-band like tissue under your skin that supports your hand and fingers. Eventually, these growths can form thick cords under your skin and bend your fingers so much that you can’t straighten them. The Cleveland Clinic goes on to state:
Dupuytren contracture can take months or even years to develop, so you might not notice any symptoms at first. Symptoms of Dupuytren contracture usually develop in the following order:
- Nodules: Small bumps under the skin on your palm are the first sign of Dupuytren contracture. They’re usually at the base of your fingers where they meet your palm. You might be able to feel or seem them. Some people never get symptoms beyond nodules, and some people’s nodules go away on their own. The nodules might make the skin around them look dimpled or puckered.
- Cords: Over time, the nodules may thicken into long cords of tissue on your fascia. The cords can pull on your fingers and make it feel like they’re constantly being pulled in, toward you palm.
- Contracture: The most advanced symptom is what gives Dupuytren contracture its name. Eventually, the cords can grow so tight and thick it might be impossible for you to extend or straighten your affected fingers away from your palm.
Unlike other conditions, there aren’t usually triggers that aggravate Dupuytren contracture’s symptoms. If you have it, your symptoms may slowly get worse over time as nodules turn into cords and then might cause contracture. Some people never progress through all stages of symptoms.
So what are some treatment options for those managing Dupuytrens? A quick Google Search, will tell you that if you that there are conservative treatments such as “physical therapy and stretches”, with no real mentions of what type of exercises or stretches to do. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered there as I’ll show you in a second. The search also revealed splinting, medication, and surgery as your options.
Massage and Cupping.
One thing that did not show up was cupping, if you are not familiar with cupping you can check this out for a brief history and current studies. I have had a lot of success with cupping over the last 15 years on everything from numbness due to scar tissue to relieving Dupuytrens contracture (combined with manual therapy and exercise of course).
When using cupping for Dupuytrens I like to use a vacuum machine to help maintain higher levels of suction. We generally start with some static cupping, followed by dragging the cup along, massaging the line of the affected tendon. After the cupping, I perform some osteo-articular pumping (a gentle form of massage) of the hand. Lastly we do exercises and stretches for the hands. The stretches include myofascial stretching of the flexors of the hand, biceps, coraco-brachialis and all of the other muscles that run from the palm into the neck. We consider myofasical stretching a form of self massage. After thoroughly stretching the fascia of the affected area and it myofascial chains, we move on to the ELDOA.
Generally, with Dupuytrens, we do the ELDOA (also a form of self massage), for the the Brachial-Plexus. The Bracial-Plexus are the nerves running from the middle of the neck (C/4-C/5) to the base of your neck (T1/2). These nerves are the ones that innervate your arms and hands. Each nerve is surrounded in a fascia called the epineurium. Think of the epineurim like the skin of the nerve. The more pliable the fascia the less prone to contracture it becomes.
Of course I wouldn’t tell you all of this without a bit of social proof! Check out our testimonial from one of our clients whom we used massage to help with her Dupuytrens contracture. PS…. She is a Registered Nurse who had tried many other methods…..
Social proof of massage and cupping.
While treating me for a knee injury , TJ addressed a long standing
condition in my left hand of Dyputrens syndrome, he used a cupping
technique on my hand in our weekly appointments, this has greatly
reduced the tendon contracture by over 60% . In modern medicine
some people choose a more invasive route, requiring surgery to
correct. I am so Thankful I ran into T.J.
My other aging process he has helped me with is Plantar fasciitis on
my left foot – he has given me great practical advice along with a
massage technique to understand the aging process and how to
reverse that or for sure slow it down. Another welcomed piece of
TJ is a Master at knowing the body- how the bones, ligaments and
tendons connect and how they all work in unison. He is a wealth of
practical health info. I have benefited and learned volumes from him.
I plan to continue to see him on a check- in basis , and definitely plan
to carry forward the ELDOA he taught me that benefit my body .
I would highly recommend TJ and his practice to anyone whom is
ready to take serious healing, aging, and body awareness. He is
passionate about his work and has a real gift for passing on his skills
CYNDY EVERETT-MARSH R. N.