Last week we discussed possible reasons for your hands going numb or tingling in the morning. If you missed those test you can review them here.
This week we are demonstrating 3 pain relieving techniques for each of the issues discussed last week.
Issue: Cervical Radiculopathy
Solution: Cervical Traction
Take a band (link to buy a similar band) or a deflated bike tube and attach it to a door (by closing it behind the door) or a solid pole. Place the band behind the base of your skull and let your head completely relax into the band.
Hold cervical traction for 3-5 minutes. At the end of the 3-5 minutes, perform cervical retraction (think double chin) as demonstrated in the video. This can be performed multiple times per day and is great for pain control and eliminating any numbness/tingling that seems to go into the entire arm or hand.
**Do not perform this if it increases your pain above a 5/10 (10 being the worst imaginable pain).
Why it works:
Cervical traction is a great way to reduce the neck stiffness and numbness and tingling that goes along with cervical stenosis. It doesn't cause a "separation" of the joints; rather, it causes a fluid gradient change, bathing the irritated nerves with healthy fluids and 'flushing out' inflammation.
Issue: Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS)
Solution: Scalene 'Smash and Floss'
Using massage lotion, you will 'pin' down your scalene muscles and then actively take them through a stretch. Perform this for 5-10 minutes for a nice self massage. To add extra stretch, take the arm on the side being stretched and reach behind your back.
Why it works:
Scalene 'Smash and Floss' technique provides your brain with a good sensory input, decreasing threat perception in that area. It should feel like a slight but comfortable stretch, allowing your brain to relax the muscle tone in that region and decrease compression of the brachial plexus.
Issue: Carpal Tunnel
Solution: Median Nerve Slide and Glide
Glide: Set up - Raise your shoulder to 90 degrees, bend your elbow to 90 degrees, and keep your wrist straight. Movement - Bend your head away from your shoulder and 'follow your head' with your elbow. Return to the start position.
Slide: (use the same set up as above) Movement - Start this movement the same as the first one, only this time rather than returning to neutral you will bend your head towards your raised shoulder and straighten your elbow.
Why it works:
Nerves don't really like to be stretched or compressed. In order to improve blood flow and decrease inflammatory chemicals in the neural sheath (nerve covering) the slide and/or glide are great ways to promote nutrient rich fluids and decrease inflammation along the sheath. You should not feel increased 'tension' or 'tightness' along the nerve and it shouldn't increase numbness/tingling into the hand.
While this is not an exhaustive list of exercises we give our patients, it is a good starting point. If you found relief with one of these techniques let us know!
Don't forget to share this with a friend or family member who may be struggling with the same issues. If they aren't sure what's causing their numbness/tingling, send them this link as well!