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Hand Numbness caused by Tight Pectoral Muscles

Person holding a tennis racquet and a tennis ball

Image Source: Pexels

Hand numbness is a common condition that various factors can cause. It is characterized by a loss of sensation or tingling in the hands, often accompanied by weakness or a "pins and needles" sensation. It can be a frustrating and debilitating condition that affects daily activities and quality of life. It is essential to address the underlying causes and seek appropriate treatment to alleviate symptoms and prevent further complications.

Activities such as tennis, weight training, and cycling can all contribute to pectoral muscle tightness that can lead to hand numbness.

Pectoral Muscle Tightness

In some cases, hand numbness can be caused by tightness in the pectoral muscles, specifically the pectoralis minor muscle. This muscle, located in the chest region, can exert pressure on the brachial plexus of nerves and the axillary artery, leading to reduced blood flow and nerve function to the arms. Poor posture, heavy backpacks, and certain repetitive movements can contribute to the development of pectoral muscle tightness.

Symptoms: Pectoral muscle tightness can manifest in various ways, including:

Hand numbness and tingling: Pressure on the nerves can result in sensations of numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers.

Weakness: Reduced nerve function can lead to muscle weakness in the affected arm and hand.

Pain: Individuals with tight pectoral muscles may experience pain or discomfort in the chest, shoulder, and arm.

Restricted range of motion: The tightness can limit the range of motion in the shoulder and arm.

Causes: Several factors outside of exercise can contribute to the development of pectoral muscle tightness, including:

Poor Posture: Maintaining poor posture, such as rounded shoulders and a forward-leaning head, can contribute to muscle imbalances and tightness in the chest.

Repetitive Movements: Engaging in repetitive activities that involve the chest and shoulder muscles, such as working at a computer, can lead to muscle tightness over time.

Heavy Backpacks: Carrying heavy backpacks or bags on one shoulder can strain the pectoral muscles and exacerbate tightness.

Treatment and Prevention: Managing pectoral muscle tightness often involves a combination of approaches, including:

Active Release Technique is a very specific treatment for muscle tightness. ART is used both for the treatment of RSI injuries, as well as for the improvement of athletic performance. Active Release Technique is the key to alleviating the suffering caused by overuse injuries, as it addresses: the true cause of the problem, how to effectively treat the trauma, and how to stop the injury from returning.

Strengthening exercises: Eccentric Strength Training is an effective and proven way to enhance your strength, stability, and control around joints such as the shoulders, feet, knees, hips, and spine, helping to prevent injury and chronic pains. Strengthening the muscles of the upper back and shoulder can help correct muscle imbalances and improve posture.

Stretching exercises: Gentle but specific stretching exercises for the pectoral muscles can help alleviate tightness. 

Posture correction: Focusing on maintaining good posture throughout the day can prevent further tightness.  This should be a natural occurrence with proper strength of the upper back.  If you have to put too much conscious effort into maintaining good posture it may cause you premature muscular fatigue during the day.  Proper weight training exercises will allow you to maintain good posture without causing muscular fatigue.

If you experience symptoms like hand numbness and suspect that pectoral muscle tightness may be contributing to your discomfort contact us for a tailored treatment plan. 

Treatment Options

At Performance Care Stretch Clinic we use Eccentric Strength Training as well as Active Release Techniques to address muscle imbalances, improve flexibility, and strengthen the affected area. The treatment approach for hand numbness depends on the underlying cause and the severity of symptoms. In many cases, these conservative approaches are effective in relieving hand numbness. Therapeutic exercises, stretches, and manual techniques can help alleviate symptoms and improve overall hand function. Our team can help you with a personalized plan.

Preventing Hand Numbness

Prevention plays a crucial role in managing hand numbness and reducing the risk of recurrence. By adopting healthy habits and implementing preventive measures, individuals can minimize the likelihood of developing hand numbness. Here are some tips for prevention:

Maintain Good Posture

Maintaining good posture while sitting, standing, and performing daily activities can prevent excessive strain on the muscles and nerves in the hands and arms. Keeping the spine aligned and avoiding slouching or hunching can help reduce the risk of hand numbness.  Specific back-strengthening exercises will allow you to maintain good posture without accidentally causing muscular fatigue throughout your day.

Take Frequent Breaks

Taking frequent breaks during repetitive activities, such as typing or using handheld devices, can prevent overuse injuries and reduce the likelihood of developing hand numbness. It is important to rest the hands and perform stretching exercises during these breaks.

Use Proper Ergonomics

Using proper ergonomics in work and daily activities can significantly reduce the risk of hand numbness. This includes using ergonomic keyboards and mice, adjusting chair and desk heights, and maintaining neutral wrist positions while performing tasks.

Strengthening Exercises

Incorporating Eccentric strengthening exercises specifically targeting the muscles in the hands, wrists, arms, and chest can help improve overall muscle function and prevent muscle imbalances.  At-home suspension trainers are a good way to perform the proper exercises in a convenient location at any time of the day.

Avoid Repetitive Hand Movements

Repetitive hand movements, such as excessive typing or gripping, can strain the muscles and nerves in the hands and increase the risk of hand numbness. It is important to vary tasks, take breaks, and use proper techniques to avoid overuse injuries.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While many cases of hand numbness can be managed with conservative treatments, there are instances where medical attention is necessary. If hand numbness persists, worsens, or is accompanied by severe pain, weakness, or loss of coordination, it is important to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Getting back to your workouts

Hand numbness can significantly impact daily life and should not be ignored. By understanding the underlying causes, seeking timely medical attention, and implementing appropriate treatment and preventive measures, individuals can effectively manage hand numbness and improve their overall hand function and quality of life. Remember to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.


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