Can carpal tunnel symptoms or pain in your hands and arms be caused by tight shoulder muscles? Yes!
Here’s one way muscles can cause symptoms in your hand that might be confused with carpal tunnel syndrome:
You have two shoulder blades on your back. Maybe you can still move your shoulder blades or maybe you can’t. If we don’t use muscles they have a tendency to get less flexible. They can get ‘stuck.’
That means you will have less movement of all the muscles that attach to your blades.
And bodies don’t like to have areas of restriction so they complain. They give symptoms of numbness, pain, tingling or other uncomfortable sensations.
There are muscles on each side of your back between your shoulder blade and ribs called the subscapularis. They are like the filling between the ribs and shoulder blades.
Sometimes I just call that muscle the subscap for short. The subscap is one of your four rotator cuff muscles. Those are the four muscles that allow your shoulder to rotate.
If you stop using those muscles and moving your shoulder blades that affects the other rotator cuff muscles. In fact, injury or weakness or stiffness (tightness) in any of the other three rotator cuff muscles will also affect your subscap muscle.
Now, when your shoulder can no longer move easily through space that is called muscle imbalance.
Sometimes restricted movement occurs because of pain. Very often the pain is caused by the muscles. Muscles are the most overlooked cause of joint and other pain in your hands and arms. Hand pain can be caused by muscles almost anywhere in your upper body, neck or arm.
And your hand is directly attached to your shoulder muscles.
- Drop your hands to your sides.
- Look down.
- Where are your thumbs pointing?
If they are pointing toward each other that means the muscles in the front of your shoulder are shortened and ‘tight.’ That happens because we use them a lot.
But it also means that your subscap muscles are on the weak side. It means your shoulder cannot move easily in all of the directions it once could. Your muscles are out of balance.
And here’s something else: Nerves run from your neck to your hand. When your shoulder muscles are out of balance it causes pressure on the nerves. And nerves don’t like to be pressed on or pinched.
And that is how your shoulder muscles cause pain in your hand. Either muscles that are out of balance or nerves that are compressed can cause uncomfortable symptoms in the carpal tunnel area.
But there is good news!
Muscles are treatable! Most people can help their shoulder muscles get back in balance.
You will have to take action but that’s okay. That how everything gets accomplished: action. By learning how to take care of and move the muscles in your shoulder in a more relaxed and balanced way you can get rid of the carpal tunnel pain caused by your shoulder muscles.
There are excellent programs that can help. Note: I said ‘programs’ not just a trick or tool that does this or that for your carpal tunnel. You have to get those shoulder muscles moving so they will be free and happy again.
And that is how you can get rid of the pain in your hand caused by tight or weak muscles that are out of balance in your shoulders!