It's noon and after working for several hours at your computer, you feel a numbing pain radiating from your middle and index finger through your wrist and forearm. Rather than taking a pain-killer, stretch and move your arms and wrists to alleviate the pressure that is placed on your median nerve, a nerve that extends from your lower cervical spine, through your arm and out into your thumbs, index finger and middle finger. As long as you get up and move around, you can prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other pain in your hands, wrists and forearms.
Standing Median Nerve Stretch
Stand with your right side of your body facing a wall and with your feet about hip-distance apart.
Place your right hand against the wall with your fingers slightly curled so that your finger pads are touching the wall.
Exhale slowly as you turn your torso slightly to your left. You should feel a stretch radiating through your forearm, wrist, hand and fingers. Hold the stretch for five to six deep breaths. Repeat the stretch on the opposite hand.
- Because the median nerve share many nerve roots with other nerves in your arm and hands -- known as the brachial plexus -- stretching other nerves in the arm can also alleviate pain, such as your ulna nerve and radial nerve. Get a regular massage from a licensed massage therapist for your arm, shoulder, neck and upper spine to improve tissues elasticity.
- If the pain or numbness worsens with stretching, check with your health-care provider immediately before you continue to exercise.
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.