How to Release Your Hand & Wrist Trigger Points

I would like to share a 5 minute Self-Applied Trigger Point Therapy routine that I use in my daily practice to prevent overuse pain complaints in my wrist and hands. On long days at the practice, I like to perform this maintenance protocol at least once. I hope you will find it useful.

Step 1: Release The Flexor Carpi Radialis Trigger Point

The Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle functions to flex the hand and abduct the hand at the wrist. The trigger point in this muscle refers pain to the inside of the wrist (palm side). To release this Flexor Carpi Radialis trigger point follow these steps:

  1. This trigger point is located along the mid-line of the anterior forearm, about  3-4 inches below the crease of the elbow.
  2. Using your thumb, apply pressure to the trigger point while actively extending the affected wrist. Press with your thumb while extending the wrist, then release the pressure and return the wrist to a neutral position.
  3. Repeat this procedure 10-15 times.

Step 2: Release The Flexor Carpi Ulnaris Trigger Point

On the medial side of the forearm, the Flexor Carpi Ulnaris flexes the hand and adducts the hand at the wrist. It refers pain to the inside aspect of the wrist, concentrating on the ulnar or pinky-side. To release the Flexor Carpi Ulnaris trigger point, follow these steps:

  1. This trigger point is located about 1-2 inches medial (towards your body) from the previous trigger point.
  2. Using your thumb, apply pressure to the trigger point while extending the affected wrist (bending the hand backwards at the wrist).
  3. Be sure to apply the thumb pressure to the trigger point first, and then slowly bend your hand backwards at the wrist. Hold the pressure for a total of 6-8 seconds, then release the pressure and return the wrist to it’s natural position.
  4. Repeat this procedure 10-15 times.

Step 3: Release The Pronator Teres Trigger Point

The Pronator Teres muscle functions to pronate the forearm during quick movements. This trigger point can be activated by overuse (such as using a screwdriver), and also by fracture of the wrist or elbow. Pain referred from this trigger point will be experienced on the inside aspect of the wrist, concentrating just proximal to the thumb. To release the Pronator Teres trigger point follow theses steps:

  1. This trigger point lies about 1 inch below the medial end (the end closest to your body) of the elbow crease.
  2. Beginning with your thumb on the medial epicondyle (the “funny bone” spot), slide your thumb laterally along the elbow crease about 1 inch, then move your thumb towards the hand about 1 inch.
  3. Using your thumb, apply pressure to the trigger point first, and then slowly bend the hand backwards at the wrist. Hold the pressure on the trigger point for 6-8 seconds and then slowly release it.
  4. Return your wrist to its natural position.
  5. Repeat this procedure 10-15 times.

Step 4: Release The Extensor Carpi Radialis Trigger Point

The Extensor Carpi Radialis (Brevis) muscle lies on the back of the forearm and acts to both extend the wrist and to laterally flex it to the thumb side (radial deviation). The trigger point in this muscle refers pain to the back of the wrist. Follow these steps to release the Extensor Carpi Radialis (Brevis) trigger point:

  1. Start with your forearm in a neutral position, palm facing down.
  2. Place your thumb on the lateral edge of the elbow crease (the end of the crease farthest away from your body), now slide your thumb down your forearm towards your hand about 1 inch.
  3. Using your thumb, apply pressure to the trigger point as you slowly flex your wrist (bend the hand downward at the wrist . Hold the pressure on the trigger point for a count of 8, then release it slowly.
  4. Return your wrist into the neutral position (neither flexed or extended).
  5. Repeat 10-12 times.

Step 5: Release The Extensor Carpi Ulnaris Trigger Point

The Extensor Carpi Ulnaris muscle shares a common origin on the Lateral Epicondyle with the Extensor Carpi Radialis. It acts to extend the wrist and to laterally flex it to the pinky side (ulnar deviation). Referred pain from this trigger point concentrates on the outside aspect of the wrist. Release the Extensor Carpi Ulnaris trigger point by performing these steps:

  1. From the previous position, slide your thumb contact laterally (away from your body) on your forearm 1-2 inches.
  2. Using your thumb, apply pressure to the trigger point and then slowly flex your hand downward at the wrist. Hold the pressure for a total of 8 seconds and then release it slowly.
  3. Return the wrist to its natural position.
  4. Repeat 10-12 times.

Step 6: Release the Brachioradialis Trigger Point

The Brachioradialis muscle originates on the Humerus bone and crosses the elbow joint to attach to the styloid process of the Radius bone. This muscle acts to flex the elbow joint when the wrist is the neutral position. The Brachioradialis trigger point refers pain to the lateral elbow and to the posterior thumb regions, and can be released with the following steps:

  1. With your thumb placed on the outside edge of the elbow crease (the end of the crease farthest away from your body), slide it down the forearm  approximately 2.5 to 3 inches.
  2. Using your thumb, apply pressure to the trigger point and then slowly flex your hand downward at the wrist. Hold the pressure for a total of 8 seconds and then release it slowly.
  3. Return the wrist to its natural position.
  4. Repeat 10-12 times.

Step 7: Releasing The Deep Thumb Trigger Points

The Deep Thumb muscles included in this routine are the Opponens Pollicis and Adductor Pollicis muscles. The Adductor Pollicis muscle originates from the index and middle finger while the Opponens muscle originates from the carpal bones. The Adductor Pollicis adducts the thumb (brings it closer to the palm), and the Opponens Pollicis abducts and rotates the thumb. Active trigger points in these muscles will cause pain in the thumb during activity or at rest, and the inability to use a “pincer” grasp (between the thumb and fingers).

To release the trigger points in the Deep Thumb muscles follow these steps:

  1. Begin by turning your palm face up.
  2. Grasp your palm and place your thumb on the fleshy mound at the base of thumb, about midway between the proximal thumb joint and the wrist.
  3. Apply pressure with your thumb and hold it for 5-8 seconds.
  4. Repeat 4-5 times.
  5. Now slide your thumb contact towards your fingers and off of the fleshy mound into the web region between your thumb and index finger.
  6. Apply pressure and hold it here for 5-8 seconds. As you do this, stretch your affected thumb away from your index finger slowly.
  7. Repeat this procedure 5 times.

Related Instructional Products:

"Trigger Point DVD / Video Download: The Wrist & Hand Pain Protocol" image

Trigger Point DVD / Video Download: The Wrist & Hand Pain Protocol

Description: Wrist and hand pain complaints involve a myriad of symptoms, including sharp pain, numbness, tingling, swelling, and a loss of grip strength. Up to fifteen trigger points in eight muscle groups can contribute to the symptoms associated with wrist pain disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome. The comprehensive design of this protocol provides excellent results in the treatment of an otherwise stubborn pain complaint. Learn more about this DVD or video download by clicking here > Trigger Point Therapy for Hand & Wrist Pain.

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