Stretching for cold hands, trigger finger, carpal tunnel and Raynaud’s

Getting old can suck. Developed some Trigger finger in my ring and little fingers and some lumps in the palm. Cold hands. Physio to the rescue. Over the last 2 years, I have reversed the trigger finger and cold hands with a complicated stretch.

Warmup and then stretch your pecs, shoulders, biceps and forearms on both sides of body at the same time by laying on your back on a blue 30 inch inflatable exercise ball with arms straight out sideways and back of fingers to ground. Center the ball between your shoulder blades and spread your fingers as wide as possible, bend wrists back, push the back of fingers towards the ground. Hold for several minutes or do several one minute sessions.

This stretch can significantly help blood flow to hands and works much better than stretching on one side of the body at a time. Much more effective than doorway stretches. An anti inflammatory diet and Vitamin B12 should help specially when you first start using this stretch. Expect some pain for first 2 – 3 weeks and use frozen gel packs or ice water to minimize swelling in wrists.

Cold hands, numbness and tingling can also be signs of more serious medical issues so see a doctor if stretching does not help.

The veins, arteries, tendons and nerves in your arms all pass through small openings in shoulders and wrists and these small openings get restricted or out of alignment because we spend too much time hunched over keyboards and steering wheels or over gripping tools. If not properly stretched, the tendons get shorter and fatter over time which restricts blood flow and pinches nerves. Weak upper back and shoulder muscles can make these imbalances and misalignment issues worse. Tight shoulder straps on packs can aggravate blood flow problems.

Also look into exercises for strengthening the scapula and shoulder muscles which helps stabilize shoulders and protect against rotator cuff injuries. Every muscle group in your body has opposite muscles that also need to be balanced and stretched. External rotation exercises strengthen scapula/shoulder muscles that balance the tight pecs, forearms and biceps.

I have found that doing this stretch for 2 or 3 min a day can also provides some relief for lumps in palms, carpal tunnel and Raynaud’s. This stretch is a major level up/game changer compared to simple hand, wrist or individual arm/shoulder stretches.

About Bill Kerr

Weekend climber, scrambler and backcountry skier from Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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