As someone who has experienced intermittent hand numbness, I can say that it can be a bit alarming. When I first noticed the numbness, I immediately searched the internet for the cause and began diagnosing myself with serious problems. This was a dumb and unfortunate mistake.
It was a frustrating experience at first. In the past, the cause of any injury I’d had was obvious. I was hit awkwardly in the leg and tore my PCL. I fell off my bike and broke my wrist. You get the picture.
This issue came out of nowhere and had no obvious cause. It wasn’t painful or debilitating, but was annoying enough to cause concern.
In reality, the hand numbness was the result of sitting at a computer for five days a week writing articles just like this. My seated posture is admittedly less than ideal, and this gradually put stress on the nerve that runs from my neck, through my shoulder and down to my hand. The result was a numb, tingly sensation in my arm and hand.
However, this can also affect athletes—especially if you play a contact sport. Typically referred to as a stinger, this temporary pain and numbness is caused by compression of the same nerve from contact or even a rapid head movement. Although the pain usually dissipates after a few minutes, it’s an unpleasant experience that will cause you to miss several plays.
So how do you cure hand numbness and treat stingers? Dr. Matt Stevens, physical therapist and owner of Pure Physio (Strongsville, Ohio), recommends the Brachial Nerve Floss.
This simple technique forces the nerve to glide back and forth in your body, helping it to function more fluidly with the surrounding structures in the shoulder and neck.
Stevens recommends using this technique two to three times a day if you’re experiencing hand numbness.
Brachial Nerve Floss How To
Step 1: Sit on a chair or table with your back straight and shoulders pulled down and back. Bend your elbow, tuck it to your side and hold your palm facing up at your shoulder as if holding a tray of food.
Step 2: Slowly extend and rotate your arm so your palm faces backward when your arm is fully extended. As you straighten your arm, tilt your head toward your shoulder.
Step 3: Slowly rotate your arm in reverse, bend your elbow and straighten your neck to return to the starting position.
Sets/Reps: 1×10-20 each side