Passive stretching exercises

Sensory disturbances, numbness or tingling in the arms or hands may indicate a nerve related problem. The nerves of the arm originate from the cervical vertebrae and run between collarbone and ribs into the arm Thoracic outlet syndrome(left picture, highlighted in yellow). When using the computer, people often sit in a slightly forward-leaning posture. This reduces the free space below the collarbone and puts pressure on the nerves and blood vessels running between collarbone and ribs. This is the most common form of the so-called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

Stretching thoracic outlet syndrome.gif

Often the active stretching exercises are sufficient to eliminate minor complaints. The three most important exercises are shown in the image on the right (the third exercise with the head tilted back).

If there is no improvement, you can stretch the red area above and below the collarbone with your fingers or a rounded, elongated object (e.g. a massage stick, price: ). Try to apply pressure to the area behind the collarbone for at least ten seconds. Slightly move the arm to find the most effective position. In the beginning, you should seek help from a physical therapist. This stretch for me was the only measure that resulted in an immediate and significant improvement. The uncomfortable feeling to "sense" my forearm all the time went away. Although this kind of numbness often came back after a few hours or days, the symptom-free periods between the stretches became longer and longer.

Surgery is possible in exceptional cases. Please consult a doctor.

All exercises / activities on this page are only suggestions. For your individual complaints some will be more useful than others. Print out this page and discuss all the information with a doctor or physical therapist before trying them out. You do everything at your own risk!
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