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June 28, 2010


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I get frequent pain in my hand, I keep going back and fourth on whether I think its carpal tnnel or not. I don't have the clasic numbness and weakness, but the location of my pain, my aggrevating factors, and reieving factors fit. Anyway I do not know what else it may be. It is aggravated when I do a lot of writing or when I spend a lot of time on my laptop using the touchpad mouse. It will be fine for weeks or months and then I have a "flare up" where it hurts all the time. When it is bothering me it is worst either in the morning or after extended use like carpal tunnel. Also, my mother has been diagnosed with mild carpal tunnel and sleeps with wrist braces. This has been going on, off and on for years, but only recently has gotten worse. I have no numbness or tingling. One time I woke up with severe thenar pain and weakness for the day, but other than that one day no weakness, and the pain is more in the center of my palm not the thenar area. It feels like a muscle ache usually. I do have. Occasional elbow pain which may or may not be related. I tend to think it is more of early osteoarthritis and stiffness and thus not directly related, but I recognize the nerves all travel there and several muscles originate in the area so it is likely at the very least contributing. Sorry for the long rambling explanation, I am a beginin med student so I know quite a bit about what I am talking about, but unfortunately not enough to make sense of what exactly is going on. So I will really appreciate any thoughts on what this may be, and what I can do to help. Less writing and computer use is out of the question because of school, but anything else I'm open to. Thanks

Kathryn Merrow - The Pain Relief Coach

Dear Melissa,

I think you will love this one! Pain in the palm of your hand can be referred by the palmaris longus. According to Travell & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction, "Two cases of what appeared to be carpal tunnel syndrome were found to have a variation of the palmaris longus in which the tendon passed beneath, rather than above, the volar carpal ligament. Three other cases proved to have anomalous distal bellies of the palmaris longus which compressed the median nerve against the underlying tendons."

The muscles that are causing your hand symptoms can come from your hand, arm, chest, upper back or neck. The cause of hand pain is rarely where the pain is. And muscles are responsible for most of our pain.

By taking care of your muscles with stretching and massage and by strengthening your back you will be able to avoid a lot of pain.

The Trigger Point book suggests that surgery is an answer to release the palmaris longus muscle but it is a medical book (medical people do things like that.)

However, muscles can be released or relaxed manually (by hand) with massage therapy. This is important for you, as a doctor, to know. You will be able to help many more people through your own experience.

Also, according to Travell & Simons, "Myofascial Trigger Points in the palmaris longus muscle may develop as satellites of key TrPs in the distal medial head of the triceps brachii muscle..."

And laptops are not known as the most ergonomic pieces of equipment. Perhaps you could get an additional keyboard to place in a more body-neutral position (I use mine on my lap.)

Hope this helps.


Palm Pain

I do have some pain in the wrist and top of the hands but my doctor told me it is due to my TMJ. It is weird because it involves the nerves in the jaw. However, he also suggested that I check out with a doctor for carpal tunnel, saying a surgery may be warranted.

luke andersen

someone please comment 2 help me..i am 16 years old..and i have a agonizing pain in the bottom of my palm..its not carpel tunnel..it happened yesterday when i fell twice in the same spot on really hard ground..then about a 1 later..i accidentally whacked the same spot again in a metal pole..the second that happened...i just was screaming in agony...my hand is not broken....im wondering if i pulled a muscle or tore it.or anything like that....please answer


Your doctor is thinking that carpal tunnel pain and TMJ pain are both caused by nerves. He figures that is the tie-in between the two syndromes.

I'm not thinking so.

Please read the self-help articles here in the Self-Help Category and Causes of Carpal Tunnel Category. The categories are on the right hand side.

It's premature to suggest surgery although sometimes that is the answer.

TMJ pain or dysfunction can have many causes. Most of them involve muscles one way or another.

That's good news because muscles can be treated.

Thanks for writing.
The Pain Relief Coach


Hi Luke,

If it's not broken, it sounds like your hand is really bruised.

When I have had serious muscle injuries like this, sodium naproxin (Aleve) helped tremendously and ice/cold therapy will help relieve the pain, too.

I hope this helps and that you will feel better really quickly.

The Pain Relief Coach


I developed some pain in my palm, between my thumb and index finger. It doesn't hurt with normal activities but it hurts if I go to stand up from sitting position and use my hand as support. No numbness or wrist involvement nor are the other fingers and other 3 fingers involved.


Hello Charlie,

Thank you for writing. It sounds like you are pressing on that area when you use it as a support? That tissue could just be aggravated.

Instead of wrapping your thumb around the arm of the furniture try the following and see if they help. It's possible that resting it and using some ice massage and doing some massage will take care of it if you don't continue pressing on that area.

1. Hold your thumb next to your fingers when you stand.

2. Are you not able to stand without using your hand for support to push yourself up? If that is the case, strengthening your legs would be helpful. Then you could use your legs to stand up.

3. Is the seat too low for you to stand without assistance from your hands? If so, sit on a higher seat or build up your seat with pillows. I do that on a low couch.

4. Put something soft and thick on the arms of the chairs if you must use them to help stand up.
That will create less pressure on your hand.

I hope these ideas help you get rid of the pain in your palm.

The Pain Relief Coach

Maria Nunez

Reading this made me think I could also have it. But the thing is, I'm not sure. As I type this comment right now its hurting my left hand/palm. The pain doesn't go to my wrist nor to my actual palm. Its more like right under my little finger (the pinky). So basically in between my wrist and pinky. Any suggestions to releif the pain.?


Hi Maria,

Here is a possibility: Press into the muscles close to the outer edge of your palm, below your baby finger. You will either feel softness or hardness. Press into the softer areas with the thumb of your opposite hand. Look for tender areas. When you find something tender, just hold it for several seconds. You can even go back to it a few times if you feel like it still needs it.

The muscles in the palm of your hand may be the cause of the pain near your pinky.

If that's not it, let's try again. :)

The Pain Relief Coach


i have a weird pain in the palm of my hand that feels like tingling when it is mild but just hurts a lot when it is extreme. i don't think it is carpel tunnel because it is in the wrong place. i also have disgraphia and trebling in my hands. does anyone know what this could be? the pain tends to get worse when i am nervous or constipated.


There is a muscle in your lower arm up toward the crease of your elbow on the palm side. It is called the palmaris longus. If you press into the muscles on that side of your lower arm,you may feel tender areas. Tender means there are tight muscles. If you press on the tender areas for several seconds you will probably notice they start to feel less tender. That means the muscles are relaxing.

What can cause trembling and pain in your hands? The most common cause is muscles. Muscles can cause pain and they can also cause pressure on nerves.

If you have not yet tried massage therapy you may be really surprised at the difference a skilled massage therapist can make.

Tight muscles in your neck, chest, upper arm and lower arm can all cause trembling and pain in your hand and arm.

I wonder if your posture changes when you get nervous or constipated? If you tend to curl up at those times that could cause more pressure on the muscles and nerves that may be causing the pain in the palm of your hand.

isaacs isaacs (Beverly Hills, Sydney)


I do a lot od gardening almost every day.Please will this result in my palm been painful in the mornings when I woke up from sleep?




Sure doing lots of gardening can cause you to have pain in your palm in the morning. Is is the hand that you use the most to hold tools? It's getting a lot of work, if so.

Try cold packs before bed or even in bed. Place them in your palm and on your whole lower arm from your elbow down.

Also, "wring" your hands throughout the day and massage your lower arms. Look for tender areas in your lower arms and give them extra massage or compression or cold therapy.

There is hardly anything more enjoyable than gardening. :-) Hope this helps you get rid of the pain in the palm of your hand!


It's been almost 10 months since I had my carpal tunnel surgery. I've been getting along great until about a week ago.
I started riding my bike again since the weather is so nice. I started having pain on my right palm on the left lower side.
Could this be related to the carpal tunnel? It was only hurting when riding my bike when there was pressure against my palm when holding on to the handle bars, but now it's starting to ache through out the day.
My other palm is hurting as well, but I am scheduled for my other carpal tunnel surgery in a few days, so I am not too concerned about that one as the surgery will help that one.



Hi Karla,

I'm not so sure that the carpal tunnel surgery will get rid of this but since you won't be able to ride for a while, that will help.

From your description of the pain, it sounds like it's from pressure or compression. It's just getting more over time with more and more pressure. It's most likely the way you hold the handlebars. Do you lean on them?

Massaging your palms and lower arms and shaking them will help and so will using cold therapy (ice therapy.) Maybe you could take massage breaks while you ride.

I hope this helps you get rid of the pain in the outer side of your palm quickly!


I have this pain in both my palms that comes and goes. It's sudden and my palms get numb and tingly and the pain is really, really bad. I've noticed that it hurts more when it's cold outside. I try massaging my hands to calm the pain but it doesn't help much. The only thing that helps reduce the pain is when I apply BioFreeze. I don't do anything repetitive for long periods either.
What could I do to stop the pain?

Thanks :)

Kathryn Merrow--The Pain Relief Coach

Dear Anna,

Massaging your hands doesn't help because the problem is higher up in your arms. The palm muscle runs almost all the way to your elbow!

Turn your hand palm up so your thumb is facing out. Search the muscles of the parts of your lower arm that are facing the ceiling. You are looking for tender areas.

If it is too difficult for you to do this, ask someone to help. Just give them directions and feedback on the pressure or tenderness. Or see a professional massage therapist. Just ask first where they would work to treat your symptoms. If it's just the hand, skip over that person.

BioFreeze is nice because it distracts from the pain. Try this: Apply the BioFreeze to your whole arms shoulder to wrist. Massage it in rather than just place it.

The combination of massage and ointment together may help the most.

By the way, my very favorite pain relieving product is Kool N Fit. There is a picture of the spray bottle on the right hand side of this page. It's yellow and white. You can click on the bottle if you like. I much prefer it to BioFreeze.

(I don't wear perfume--I wear Kool N Fit.) :)

So start seeking tender areas in the upper part of your lower arm on the palm side.

The advantage of seeing a professional massage therapist, if you can, is that person can also check out the muscles in your upper arm and chest and back and neck. They might also be causing the pain in your palms.

But start first by massaging, rubbing, warming or icing the muscles on the palm side of your lower arm. When you find tender areas, hold them for about ten or twelve seconds. You can keep going back to them if necessary.

I hope this helps. Let me know how you are doing getting rid of this pain and tingling in your palms.


Geoffrey Morley

Hi there

I have been experiencing pain for at least 2 months in both hands initially starting in the thumbs and they still continue to be painful to bend or extend, especially after being on the computer or doing other things requiring dexterity. The pain is worse in the right thumb after it has had more use but is definitely present in both.

I now have additional pain in my right palm and noticed what appears to be a tightening band under my skin (on the palmar aspect from near the base of my thumb diagonal towards my middle finger. I had surgery to alleviate carpal tunnel in that hand appprox/3 years ago. The pain seems to be getting worse and not subsiding

Kathryn Merrow--The Pain Relief Coach

Hi Geoffrey,

Are you diabetic? The reason I ask is that it sounds like you are describing a thickening of tissue on the palm. Diabetes can cause hand pain and other symptoms as well as thickened tissues on the hand.

But if that's not it, here's another thought:

There are muscles and tendons in the palm of your hand and in the palmar pad of your thumb. Have you been massage/pressing into that area? You can. If you find that it's tender with pressure you can hold the pressure for 12 seconds. You can go back to the same area a few times if it doesn't relax right away.

The problem with carpal tunnel surgery is that it often doesn't address the actual cause of the problem. Also CTS is often mis-diagnosed.

Unfortunately, many doctors just don't know about muscles causing hand, wrist and arm pain. This is a primary reason that the symptoms either come back or never leave after surgery.

You can also try massaging your lower arm from wrist to elbow with a tennis ball or similar ball. That will make it easier on your other hand.

I would like to refer you to a really good program: http://CarpalTunnelPainStoppers.com

Go there to read the page that will come up and you will get a really good idea about why hand pain happens. There's a video you can watch, too.

Pain in the thumbs can be from muscles in the thumbs where they attach to the palm or in muscles in the lower arm. Hand pain can be caused by muscles all the way from your neck to your hand.

I hope this helps you get rid of the pain in your hands and thumbs.



I'm a pretty avid bowler. Once a month I bowl 4 games in the morning and another 3 at a league at night. This past week after doing this I had severe pain in my right hand (I'm right handed). I could barely grasp or lift anything. The last 2 days, I've taken ibuprofen and the pain has gone away, but i can still feel its there. The pain is mainly in the palm area but some tingling in the fingers. What is my problem? I hope it's not CTS and you don't tell me to stop bowling.

Kathryn Merrow--The Pain Relief Coach

Hi Brent,

Definitely not carpal tunnel syndrome. Best long distance guess: Muscle tendons from your fingers run up the palm side of your lower arm toward your elbow. You may have strained one or more of these tendons. However, if you are still having problems grasping, you may have torn or detached a tendon. If weakness is still an issue, it would be a good idea to see a doctor for an opinion. I am going to suggest that you let it heal FULLY before you resume bowling. The tingling indicates nerve involvement but that could be because of swelling from an injury to a tendon. Finger muscle tendons pass through the carpal tunnel in the wrist on their way toward the elbow.

Please remember: I'm not a doctor and this is a long-distance guess, not a diagnosis. :) And I hope you feel better quickly!


Hi, I suddenly started having pain in my hand seemingly out of nowhere. Every time I used my hand to help my balance getting up (my legs are strong enough), or when I'd straighten my arm and put pressure on the palm there would be an intense shooting pain in my palm and it would hurt so much that I couldn't keep my hand there to even see where exactly the pain was. I do yoga regularly and am training to be a yoga instructor, so part of my practice often includes positions where my weight is on my hands and arms. I have been doing some self massage, and originally it was only my left hand, but after using my right hand to ael massage, it also has started feeling the same. Today in my practice it wasn't as bad, when I align my arms and hands and shoulders in a certain way and aPply pressure in a certain way, the pain doesn't show up. However when it did today it was right in my palm and hand just below the wrist. It makes my hand wrist and arm feel really weak to practice yoga. Also my finders and knuckles are kind of stiff because I crack them. The muscle on my lower underarm, below the elbow on the pinky side is also tense. Thanks

Kathryn Merrow

Hi Danika,

As you describe it, it sounds like you are experiencing nerve pain because of the intensity. Nerves hate to be compressed.

I wonder if the positions you use that do NOT cause the pain to show up are the correct postures? Perhaps you sometimes use incorrect postures and that's what's aggravating your muscles.

You know the tense muscle on your lower arm, below the elbow? That's the muscle that needs to be massaged to help it relax. You can also use heat or cold packs on that whole side of your lower arm.

If there are trigger points in muscles in your arm, they can cause weakness in muscles in your lower arm and hand. When you find really tender areas of muscle, those are the areas to spend time with. Press into them with the intention of helping them relax.

Actually, you crack your knuckles because they are stiff. :) That helps them feel better.

The best long-distance suggestions that I have at this moment are: Be sure you are doing the movements correctly and only do them in that way.

It's possible that this is just an irritation and will go away if you stop aggravating it. On the other hand, it's also possible that you are developing a cyst which may be pressing into your carpal tunnel. That would make the space smaller and that would squash the nerves in the tunnel. If it doesn't settle down in spite of your best efforts to do the postures correctly, you may wish to have it examined for a cyst.

By the way, if a doctor says it's 'arthritis' that most likely means that you have been using your arms and hands incorrectly. Tight muscles pull on bones and the bones throw out little spurs or 'arthritis.'

I hope this helps and that you get rid of the intense shooting pain in your palm.


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  • "G'Day Kathy, Thank you very much for ALL your helpful info. My symptoms have improved 10000000% with back exercises and your input. I have found a very intelligent lady (here) who understands the importance of muscle and massage and exercise to stimulate the brain. Have sufferd for decades and was getting worse. I owe much to YOU and her. Cheers, - Garry Allen, Australia - PS I used to play drums in my own band. Guess what I am again doing - after 30 years. Thank you again Kathy.
  • "Thank you SOOOOO much! I felt better after just one night of following your advice, and after the second night almost normal!" - Lori S., Weston OH
  • "Hi Kathryn, I recently developed carpal tunnel in my right hand (9 months since I started noticing signif. tingling; now it is painful). The doctors have offered little more than suggesting braces and anti-inflammatory and what I find on the internet is all over the place and often extremely depressing. Your "page" is so encouraging. I have been searching for some ways to manage and reduce the causes, and so I'll be following the advice here. Mostly, I am relieved to have a source of information now that is helpful and positive. So thank you!" - Caroline Brown, by email
  • "My carpal tunnel is almost all gone. The best help I 'think', was my posture, next was self massage and stretching. I rarely wear my brace anymore. Learning that all these muscles work together has made me realize that the supposedely Carpal Tunnel was just a symtom of something else going on." - Beverly C., by email
  • "Thank you so much for your information, it is something I have never heard before. I am thrilled to try out these techniques and do think that the scalene issue might be the key for I constantly have pain between my shoulder blades, have big knots along the spine exactly where you say and do hold my head forward. You may have hit the nail on the head."--Riannen Schlosser, Lodi CA (concerned about carpal tunnel pain)
  • "Thank you for the link - I did do the muscle assessment and it is definitely helping. I will continue to do what's in this report and hopefully will avoid surgery. I'm very happy with the results so far."--Rose Curran, Austin TX
  • "I don't remember a lot of the stuff in the wrist pain booklet, but I remember the part about sleeping on your back to keep your chest open, and I do that. And my wrists do hurt less!"--Kay Heil, New Boston MI
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  • "Really like your content, for purely selfish reasons. I've lived with chronic shoulder pain from migraines. Tried lots of things and your simple suggestions had an excellent response in my body. I look forward to reading and learning more!"--Patrice Dunckley

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