Numb Hands from Tight Scalene Muscles

Another cause of numb or tingling hands can be tight scalene muscles.  (If you are new to this site, start with the Home page because there can be other causes and you will be able to investigate them.   By following the techniques in this site, you can take care of your problem, if it is caused by your work or hobby).

Tight scalene muscles can cause several problems.

(They do not necessarily cause all or any of these problems in one person).

  • They can pinch on any or all of the major nerves that go into the hand.
  • This can cause tingling or numbness in part or all or the hand – which can sometimes travel along the forward.
  • It can create false carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Initially the numbness may only occur when sleeping.
  • They are a common source of headaches.
  • They can refer pain that causes false angina (you feel like you are having a heart attack.
  • They can refer pain to your shoulder blades.
  • Thay can pinch an artery that supplies the hands – giving you cold fingers or hands.
  • They can pinch on a vein that returns blood from the hand.  Which causes some swelling – which is another cause of false carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • People with their neck jutting forward have tight scalene muscles.

This Video is Part 1

It shows where to find the scalenes and an excellent stretch for them.

Part 2 will have more stretches for the Scalene muscles.  You can find it in my course Carpal Tunnel Master and Beyond

How to tell if you have tight scalene muscles:

Hook you fingers around your collar bone in the location shown in the video.  If you feel tenderness, they are tight.

Remember: Nerve pinching can happen anywhere between the base of the neck and the wrist.  Often more than one locations are involved.  So please follow the other videos referred to on the Home page.


Numb Hands from Tight Scalene Muscles — 7 Comments

  1. Yes. The pectoralis minor muscle is the main cause of tight back muscles because they pull the shoulders forward and the muscles in the back between the shoulder blades have to work to counteract that (and they lose). The pectoralis minor muscle also can pinch on any or all of the nerves that run into the hand. If they are not so tight as to cause numbness all the time, they generally cause the numbness when your arms are raised to near shoulder height or higher. See if you sleep with your arms up? The tight back is a result of the tight pec minor muscle and not the cause of the numbness.

  2. Rick Iverson on said:

    I have numb hands & fingers every night. I believe it may be from a TIGHT UPPER BACK. When I try to stretch the shoulders forward & back, and sideways, the numbness disappears.
    Will your videos address this problem? Thanks!

  3. My course Carpal Tunnel Master covers self-help techniques for various causes of hand numbness, including scalene muscles, pectoralis minor muscles, forearm muscles, as well as cubital tunnel and thoracic outlet syndromes. At the bottom of that page there is a link marked “contents” that gives more details about what is covered.

  4. Wendi Paris, LMT, NCTMB on said:

    I am a dual licensed Massage Therpaist in Beachwood (suburb of Cleveland) Ohio. I believe I have tight scalenes or other neck muscles causing moring numbness and tingling in my hands. It has gotten worse lately. You seem very knowledgable about these issues. I would like to find more self help techniques and also courses on working with the scalenes and other mucsles for my patients and clients in my area. Any information would be helpful. Of course I am like the shoe makers kids, I don’t have the money for regular massage and everyone I work with is so busy or on different shifts for us to do much trading.

    Wendi G. Paris LMT, NCTMB, CPC

  5. Thank you.

  6. You have some really great exercises.

    I get a lot of people asking me about carpal tunnel and in actual fact they have tight scanlene muscles.

    I will reference this post in future responses.

  7. Barrett on said:

    Hilma, your site is a treasure! Thank you for sharing this very helpful and restorative information with the world. Your pec stretches have made me a new woman – the muscles around my shoulder blades were almost locked down, but no more. Ditto the helpful forearm massages and the scalene exercise. It makes such a difference to KNOW what is going on/wrong with one’s muscles and tendons and how to properly counteract (and prevent) overuse and strain. One question: when will the video for the other scalene stretches be posted?

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