Stretch for neck injury causing pain in right arm and thumb numbness

by Nancy
(Lathrop, CA. USA)

Esteemed Sarah,

Would you please post the stretch here so that I can try it as well. I suffer the same pain as Harpreet and would like to see if the stretch will relieve the pain and numbness as I am unable to sleep at night. No matter how long I massage or wet my hand the symptoms do not go away until I get up. Thank you so much.



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Jun 12, 2013
neck injury causing hand symptoms
by: Sarah says:

PS I hope I have answered your question accurately Nancy. On re-reading your title at the top of your question I may not have.
Apart from the angel's wings exercise, a further suggestion for a neck stretch is the 'swastika' exercise (my Jewish patients don't like this name so I'm hoping not to offend). This too helps pull the nerves free coming out of the side of the neck.

Jun 11, 2013
numb finger, numb hand or dead hand
by: Sarah says:

Hello Nancy,
Your may be different to the case to Harpreet. Everybody's different ( . . . . not related to the fact that you're in California and he's in India - such is my international reach!)
Broadly speaking, you can get symptoms in the hand - such as dead hand, throbbing hand, swelling of the veins at the back of the hand, feeling of partial numbness of the hand and a sense that you have to shake it to bring it to life - from a condition called 'carpel tunnel syndrome'. This particularly afflicts the hands at night. It is caused by a tightening of the flexor retinaculum of the wrist (this is a small ligament that works like a watch-band that stops the tendons webbing up as you bend the wrist). However, it is generally believed that the flexor retinaculum only gets tight when their is dysfunction of the thoracic spine (this part of the spine mediates the autonomic function of the arm & hand and put simply, regulates the 'juicIness' of the tissues). Various soft tissue problems of the arms - such as dead finger, trigger thumb, trigger finger, Dupytrens contracture of the palm, tenosynovitis of the wrist, tennis elbow, golfers elbow, frozen shoulder - are all thought to be caused in the first place, by a stiff (though sometimes barely painful) thoracic spine and costo-vertebral joints, where the ribs meet the spine.
I talk about this in detail in one of my books "Body in Action' which you can buy online here. I will be recommended there, you will see, that you do various thoracic loosening exercises, including using the BackBlock under the upper back. While doing the BB, I also recommend you doing the angel's wings stretch as this will help release the brachial plexus (these are the nerves coming out of your neck into your upper arms). That way, you are taking care to do good works to both neck and thorax.
Hope this helps you Nancy.

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