Hand Pain? It May Not Be Arthritis

250px-extensor_digitorum_muscleDo you wake up with stiff, sore fingers? I have had several people mention fears of early arthritis (without confirmation by a doctor). You should of course see a doctor if you’re concerned about your health, however there is a possibility that it is not arthritis.

Here is a little something to try. Relax your forearm on your desk or a table and feel the muscles of your arm with your other hand. When relaxed, those muscles should feel relatively soft, and the skin should move around easily. If your forearm feels hard, and maybe the skin doesn’t even move very much, then your muscles are hypertonic, in a state of tension or abnormally high muscle tone.

You may not realize just how much your arm and fingers are interconnected. If you look at this diagram of the muscles of your forearm and hands, you can see that the flexing and extending of your fingers involves muscles that travel over your wrist, up your forearm, and even across your elbow.

To further illustrate how connected they are, here’s another demonstration. Place your forearm palm up on the table again and relax it, with your fingers somewhat straightened. Take your other hand and apply pressure to the muscles just below your wrist, and push towards your elbow, as you might see in a massage stroke. With a bit of pressure, this should make your fingers flex/curl towards your palm. Cool, huh?

This type of muscle tension most often affects people who use their hands and wrists a lot, and can be a precursor, or happen in conjunction with carpal tunnel syndrome. This means if you spend a lot of time at your computer, play an instrument, paint, hammer, knit, or do other work where you use your hands a lot, or in awkward positions, you may experience this problem. Of course you know I’m going to say it… “Massage can help!”

During your massage, I can tell you if those muscles are hypertonic, (have extra tension in them). We can do some different levels of moderate to deep tissue work to help loosen them up and get your forearm and hand moving better and feeling better. The best part? I can show you a few tricks to do at home to help keep them a bit more pliable going forward and make your mornings a little less stiff, and your days a little less painful!

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