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Why Are My Hands Going Numb?

We often get patients in our clinic complaining that both of their hands get tingly or go numb, or may just be painful. Some people complain of decreased grip strength. The numbness usually comes on at night or while sitting at a desk. Some people may have even gotten surgery for “carpal tunnel syndrome,” but continue to get the numbness in both hands. This usually is caused from poor posture, and the usual suspect is someone who has a desk job. Because they sit all day, their shoulders are pulled forward and their head sits in front of their torso. This posture creates frontal tightness in their chest and neck musculature. This tightness pulls both shoulders forward, and compresses a network of nerves that supplies sensation and strength to the arms. The patient may not feel pain higher up in the arm, but a nerve impingement from the tight tissues and muscles higher up can cause numbness, tingling and pain into the hands.

This poor posture can also cause headaches. As the shoulders are pulled forward, the head begins to sink forward as well. This puts a lot of strain on the cervical spine and forces the neck muscles to work harder than they need to, which either can cause headaches or upper shoulder/lower neck pain. Think about holding a bowling ball on top of a broom stick. If you hold the broom stick perfectly vertical, the bowling ball can rest on it with little effort holding it up. Now, if you tilt the broom stick to an angle, you will have a very difficult time holding that bowling ball up. Do you get that “knot” right at the top of your scapula? This is from your muscles working so hard to hold your head up!

What we can do to help this problem is myofascial release techniques to the tight structures to make it easier to sit with improved posture. Improving your upper back strength will also help make it easier to sit up straight. Education is key to help with body awareness, and a home exercise program is given to train the proper musculature in order to improve the posture.

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Todd Eekhoff

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"Mission Statement"

We are a community-based, family-oriented physical therapy clinic that will provide excellent service in a friendly environment. Our therapists will utilize a full-body approach using manual therapy techniques, exercise, and various modalities to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.