Scapular Strengthening for Relieving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Pain

Scapular strengthening exercises can improve your posture and take pressure off the nerves that cause a painful condition called carpal tunnel syndrome. See how to perform these exercises in this free video on hand and foot pain.

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Video Transcript

Hello, I'm Dr. Robert Fenell with, and today I'm going to teach you scapular strengthening for relieving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pain. Let's talk about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and what it actually is first. I'm going to use this wrist model to describe to you what Carpal Tunnel Syndrome actually is. The carpal tunnel is actually a passageway in the wrist area right where the wrist bends like this. The carpal tunnel has four sides or four borders to it. Three of the sides are made up of eight bones arranged in a horseshoe shape and the fourth side to the tunnel is made of a ligament that connects those bones together and spans across. The tunnel, the carpal tunnel itself is about the size of an index finger. Through that tunnel you have nine tendons and one large nerve known as the median nerve. Due to repetitive trauma and stress to the wrist, these eight bones can lose their healthy alignment and when that happens, they can impinge or pinch upward into that carpal tunnel space and that pinches that median nerve. It flattens the nerve against this ligament that overlaps and connects the bones together. The classic symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome include pain, numbness, tingling and burning sensations into the fingers of the hand and a loss of grip strength. Now many times patients will have a problem with their shoulders or irritation or pinching of the nerves in their shoulders that causes symptoms of pain or numbness into the hands that mimics Carpal Tunnel Syndrome but actually that is not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. That is a carpal tunnel like condition producing carpal tunnel like symptoms. Today I'm going to show you some scapular strengthening exercises that can help alleviate the stress off the nerves that go through your shoulder area which will also help alleviate those carpal tunnel like symptoms. Let's talk about what happens to the scapulas. Due to all the repetitive and trauma and stress that one goes through on a day-to-day basis, you tend to do all the work in front of your body. You don't work behind your body so as a result you tend to lean forward with your head and your shoulders and your shoulders round forward. That causes a lot of stress on these nerves going through here so we have to do some exercises to counteract that forward movement of the scapulas or the shoulder blades. So let's go ahead and show you how to do those scapular strengthening exercises right now. In order to strengthen your scapulas to give you better posture and take the pressure off the nerves we're going to do what's called scapular retractions. We're basically going to contract the muscles that connect the shoulder blades to the spine. So pinch your shoulder blades straight together almost as if you're attempting to hold a pencil between your shoulder blades tightly to the spine and then once you get to that position, push downward on your shoulder blades. So back and down, hold that for ten seconds and then relax. You'll feel those muscles, you'll feel the constriction in those muscles and the tightness and the improved circulation once you relax that and let it go. Do it again, straight back and down and hold for ten seconds. Now one of the mistakes is you don't want to go up when you do this. We already have a lot of tightness in these muscles and we want to counteract that tightness. So we're going to straight back and then that's why we press down is to counteract that upward pressure, that upward motion. You're going to do this for ten repetitions for ten seconds, hold each. Again this is Dr. Robert Fenell with, and I want to thank you for watching this video on scapular strengthening for relieving Carpal Tunnel Syndrome pain.


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