A few months ago, I experienced a tingling sensation and numbness in my left pinky and ring fingers. After a bit of research, I'd come to the conclusion that I had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS).
Recently, I happened to come across a very informative two-part (part 1, part 2) article over a T-Nation by Paul Chek on shrugs. The article stated that improper form (specifically, failing to keep the line of gravity over the spine) puts pressure on the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus are nerves that feed out to the arms. They travel over the ribs and under the clavicle. Poor form results in the compression of the brachial plexus. The symptoms of this turn out to be very similar to the early stages of CTS.
For those of you interested in doing your own homework, include the term 'Thoracic Outlet Syndrome' in your searches.
About a two and a half months ago I was forced to take a hiatus from bodybuilding due to a popped rib. I noticed that as the first few weeks went by my supposed CTS symptoms abated and then disappeared. I've now been exercising again for a over three weeks, during which I've used the information given in Paul Chek's article, and and have not seen a resurgence of the numbness or tingling that I experienced before. This as lead me to believe that I did not have CTS, but quite likely was suffering from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.
Keep in mind that I'm neither a doctor nor a very experienced bodybuilder. So take this for what you will and feel free to do your own homework.
I was having some numbness issues with my arms and suspected my thoracic nerve as the main cause. I read that heavy barbell Military presses were linked to inflamation of the thoracic tunnel and therefore compressing the nerve. I stopped BB Military presses for a while (BTW - I was doing them behind the neck). And now switch up with DB and BB (to the front) presses from week to week. I work a P/RR/RR/S routine and only use BBs on power week. I have noticed a significant reduciton in the numbness of my arms since switching up my routine. As usual, YMMV.
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"The gym offers force and pain and relief. It provides challenge and struggle and satisfaction." Dave Draper
NOTE:I always have clients possessing wrist problems/carpal tunnel use the proper wrist supports/braces when doing presses, shrugs, and lateral raises. PM me if you want more info on what type of braces I have had good results with.
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