Are you sitting down?
I thought so.
Want me to make another bold prediction? I know for a fact that your upper back is rounded forward, your pelvis is tucked under, and your spine is flexed. It’s not the ideal position in which to spend the majority of your day, to put it mildly.
What you may not realize is that the position you’re in is wreaking havoc on your body. You may recognize it by the migraine you get around 3 p.m. each day. Or maybe you have trouble focusing on your computer screen after a long day of emails and spreadsheets. But if the title of this post got your attention, then perhaps your wrists are screaming at you and you’ve been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
According to Pain Free at Your PC by Pete Egoscue, people suffering from CTS:
…have ‘blisters’ in their wrists. There is friction and stress. These blisters are not caused by using a PC’s keyboard or mouse. They are caused by the adjustments that are made to skeletal misalignment. And they are just as visible as a limp. You can see these adjustments in the position of the head, the shoulders, the wrist, and the hands.
Just like you get blisters on your feet when there is excess pressure or friction, the bones of the wrist are no different. Your diagnosis of CTS is simply the body’s way of telling you that you’re out of balance. There is too much pressure on one area (in this case, the wrist), and your internal warning sirens are sounding.
However, you aren’t going to eliminate your CTS by focusing on your wrist. Just as with other symptoms you experience throughout your body, you can’t afford to have tunnel-vision and focus only on the site of the pain.
The key to eliminating your “blisters” is simple: We have to stay focused on the position of the body rather than the condition of the body. Specifically, we have to change the position of your shoulder. Try this test while sitting at your desk:
Sit sideways. Place your forearm on the table, running parallel with your thigh, with your palm down and your upper arm and elbow at a 90-degree angle. (It doesn’t matter whether it’s your right or left side.) Pull your head and shoulders back as far as you can. Feel the S-curve develop its arch in your lower back. Hold that position, and glance down at your wrist without moving your head position. You should see that now there is space under the wrist immediately behind the palm of your hand. If there isn’t, your head and shoulders are not fully back. Make sure to roll your hips forward to counteract flexion.
Once you have the arch in your wrist, let go. Slump. Allow your back to round and your head and shoulders to come forward. The arch in your wrist will flatten. If you continue to push your shoulder forward and down, you’ll feel a growing strain and pressure in the wrist. Pull back on your shoulder, and the pressure will ease.
Pretty cool, huh? That diagnosis of carpal tunnel syndrome shouldn’t seem quite so scary now.
Think about it: By changing your shoulder position, you impacted your wrist condition. And the cool part is that you can teach your body how to hold that functional position.
Remember, CTS is simply the effect. It’s not the cause. By retraining your muscles to hold your bones in their proper position, you’ve taken charge of your health and tackled the primary culprit—that compromised shoulder position—head-on.