Don’t Lose Your Grip – Causes and Cures for Numb/Tingling Hands & Arms

Numbness and tingling symptoms in the hands is often a sign of nerve entrapment in the arm or shoulder from tight muscles, swollen tendons, and poor working posture.  Pay attention to the warning signs. If the condition progresses, it can lead to pain, weakness and disability.  Take care of yourself now and avoid unnecessary pain and even surgery. Call me with questions or to set an appointment.

Causes of nerve entrapment:

1)      Poor working posture and ergonomics, at the desk or driving in the car. Have a professional observe you at your desk to spot any habits that might lead to trouble.

2)      Failure to take breaks, change positions, and stretch during the workday.

3)      Poor posture when sleeping – some people habitually bend their wrists or elbows, or contort their shoulders or neck while sleeping. This will catch up with you eventually.

How can you tell which nerve or nerves are involved?

1)      Carpal tunnel syndrome affects the thumb side of the hand, and involves the median nerve and the finger/wrist flexor muscles and tendons.

2)      Cubital tunnel syndrome affects the pinky side of the hand, and involves the ulnar nerve at the elbow (leaning on the elbow, chronically flexed elbow)

3)      Thoracic outlet syndrome affects multiple parts of the arm and hand, and involves the whole nerve and blood vessel bundle (brachial plexus) at the neck or under the pectoral muscles.

4)      There are other less prominent entrapments in the arm and forearm that can also contribute. The more entrapments the faster your symptoms will progress.

Prevention/Treatment

1)      Change your posture and ergonomics – body awareness training is an option.

2)      Stretch and exercise.

3)      Massage and chiropractic.

         Massage can help release tight muscles and calm swollen tendons that are compressing nerves.

         Also, and equally important, massage can raise body awareness.  Awareness is the first step to improved posture and more relaxed and easy muscle function even while working.

 

People at Risk:

1)      People hunched over their computers. 

2)      People who drive a lot.

3)      Folks complaining of numbness & tingling in the arms and/or hands.

4)      Anyone who does a lot of typing, reports, data entry, etc.