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This page has been created as a resource for our clients experiencing symptoms associated to nerve compression leading to altered sensation in upper limbs. Here, you will find instruction and guidance on how to perform some therapeutic exercises and releasing techniques. This, as a reminder of the instruction that has been given to you during our session.

May this information increase your knowledge, body awareness and the conviction that:

  1. Every tissue, structure, process, system, organ, action, thought, within our body-mind unit is deeply interrelated.

  2. Our body has the inherent ability to heal, given that we provide it with the resources and conditions to do so.

  3. Everything is consequential. Therefore, improvement and regression in our condition is highly influenced by our EVERYDAY actions, lack-of-action, thoughts and emotions.

NERVE COMPRESSION

-leading to altered sensation in upper limbs-

Pins-and-needles, pain, itchiness, burning sensation, numbness are symptoms associated to nerve compression. *

Many factors can cause or contribute to this situation. Some examples are acute or previous injury, repetitive or prolonged activities, systemic conditions such as diabetes, spinal conditions (e.g. stenosis, osteoarthritis, irritation, compression, disc bulge/herniation), inflammation, myofascial adhesions, restrictions, muscle hypertonicity, biomechanics associated to poor posture, etc. 


* Similar symptoms can be caused by other pathologies. Unless recommended to you during our sessions, be aware that some of the information contained on this page might not be useful to you or could be contraindicated to your condition.

BIOMECHANICS OF POSTURE

Our habitual posture plays a determinant role in our health state. A sound posture challenges our musculoskeletal structures in a positive way, creating alignment, balance and proper function.


On the other hand, a poor posture affects our structures and their function, creating skeletal misalignment, muscular imbalance (e.g. hypertonicity & atrophy), fascial or musculoskeletal restrictions, etc. 

This can certainly originate, contribute and/or aggravate various conditions, including nerve compression or entrapment. In order to regain a healthier state, it is crucial to direct our steps into a path that will help us regain a sounder posture.


We are glad to offer Manual Osteopathic Therapy with the objective of regaining a sounder posture, releasing adhesions, restrictions and regaining musculoskeletal alignment/balance. However, at Postureffect, we know the success of our treatments is highly dependant on what our clients do (or do not) on an everyday basis. Thus, instruction and home care exercises are crucial aspects of your recovery path.

Sat on the Rocks

ANTERIOR & MIDDLE SCALENE

A very common site of nerve compression is between your Anterior and Middle Scalene muscles. 

The Scalenes originate from the transverse processes of the cervical vertebrae (lateral aspect of the neck). Anterior and Middle Scalene insert at the 1st rib, deeper to the clavicle. The structures of both muscles and the rib form a triangular space. ALL the "neural wiring" supplying the upper limb on that side of our body passes through that tiny triangular area. 

Increased muscle tone (hypertonicity) and/or a change of configuration in the neck structures can cause the above mentioned space to reduce. Thus, leading to arterial and nerve compression.

In addition to releasing Anterior and Middle Scalene, an appropriate treatment should include instruction on how to release other muscles that contribute to and are affected by this condition and strategies with the objective of modifying unhealthy postural habits.

Woman in a Spa

PECTORALIS MINOR

Another common site of nerve compression, often associated to compression at the level of the Scalenes, is the one caused by the Pectoralis minor muscle. Pecs Minor originates from the 3rd, 4th and 5th ribs. Deeper to the Pectoralis Major muscle, Pectoralis Minor inserts at the coracoid process of the scapula. 

After passing through the space between Anterior and Middle Scalene, the "neural wiring" continues its way towards the arm, passing under the coracoid process of the scapula. Prolonged-increased muscle tone (aka hypertonicity) and a change of configuration in the chest and neck structures may cause Pecs minor to "pull" on the coracoid process. Thus, leading to increased strain on those nerves.


The symptoms associated to this particular type of nerve compression are more likely to be reproduced or aggravated when lifting the arm.

Gray Top

PECTORALIS MAJOR

Pectoralis Major, is the big trouble maker of the upper body. Sustained hypertonicity or chronic shortness of this muscle leads to musculoskeletal imbalance and contributes to a number of chronic conditions affecting upper limbs, spine, hips and lower limbs. In other words, it affects your whole body.

That is why, your daily routine should include strategies with the objective of releasing myofascial adhesions, hypertonicity and shortness in this muscle.

Smiling Fit Model
 

Have you forgotten how to perform your releasing routines? Or, are you unsure of which structures you should address?

Our body is in constant change/adaptation/compensation. That is why sometimes you may feel more (or less) restrictions, adhesions, tenderness or hypertonicity in a particular muscle. That is also one of the reasons why your home care exercises and releasing routines will never feel exactly the same.


In regard to your self-releasing practice, it is important to keep in mind the following aspects:

1) Most of the routines were designed to help you release adhesions and address restrictions. The more often you practice the faster you will see results.


2) Perform your releasing routines with mindfulness and awareness. In other words, it's all about QUALITY of movement, not quantity.


3) Check for body asymmetry and focus more on the structures that need to be released. Check if there is any difference in shoulder level or in "feeling of tightness" (right and left side) and allow for a longer release on the more affected area(s).


4) Muscular & fascial release and stretches can cause a feeling of "burning" or other types of sensations. However, we would like to remind you that more "burning", "tension" or "pain" does not forcefully mean more releasing or healing. If you are consistent, your body will gradually get used to this practice and soon, you will feel ready to increase the pressure and challenge your structures a little more.

5) Be patient and consistent and if you have any question, please don't hesitate to contact us.

LOWER NECK

This video shows some of the muscles that it would be helpful to release. Apply the Golgi Tendon Organ stimulation technique on those areas. Please find images of each individual muscle on the sections above.

BASE OF THE SKULL

This video shows some of the muscles that it would be helpful to release. Apply the Golgi Tendon Organ stimulation technique on those areas. If you want to give a break to your fingers, lie on your back and use a tennis ball to release this area. Please find images of each individual muscle on the sections above.

PECTORALIS MAJOR release

1) Press on the muscle belly. Find the areas to be released.


2) While pressing on those areas, lightly move your elbow/hand.


3) For a more challenging release, pinch" your Pectoralis Major muscle. Then start "drawing" a spiral with your elbow.

NOTE: Do not forget to also release your neck structures, see other videos.

PECTORALIS MAJOR myofascial stretch

Video under construction, thank you for your patience!!!

VIDEOS

The following videos show some releasing sequences. Please note that these are just examples, feel free to create your own releasing sequence. You could start with your Pecs, or at the base of the skull, Levator Scapula or SCM... It's all good, as long as you address ALL the structures mentioned and focus on the "tighter" spots.

NOTE: Take your time. These videos show the sequence, not the real timing. The reason is there is no ONE SINGLE real "timing" to follow. Adjust the releasing routine to your own situation or body state, which is different from others.
In my case, I usually need to focus more on Scalenes and Levator, but that can vary from day to day. The state of my structures mostly depends on my previous activity, stress levels and prolonged position.

NECK-PECS release 
- beginners -

A lateral flexion of the neck to the opposite side gives a little stretch to the neck structures.

Take your time. Allow each of these structures to release. 

NOTE: Do not forget to release the base of the skull. You could do that prior to releasing the neck-pecs area. If you want to give a break to your fingers, you can lie on your bed and utilise a tennis ball to release that area.

NECK-PECS release 
- more challenging option -

Laterally flexing your neck to the opposite side gives a little stretch to the neck structures. Rotate the neck (keeping the lateral flexion) for a more challenging option.

NOTE: Do not forget to release the base of the skull. You could do that prior to releasing the neck-pecs area. If you want to give a break to your fingers, you can lie on your bed and utilise a tennis ball to release that area.