Have you ever wondered why the muscles of your forearm feel tight after certain activities? Or why your wrist feels tender after a long day at work, or prolonged periods working from home? At Entegra Health, Parkville, Melbourne, we’re here to support your Remedial Massage, muscular tension and overall well being related concerns.
What Are the Flexor and Extensor Muscles?
Our forearms comprise a series of complex muscle groups located in varying depths (superficially and deep) throughout the muscle tissue, or fascia; between the elbow and wrist. Principally – these muscles comprise the Extensors in the posterior (backs) or top of the forearm; and Flexors on the underside or anterior (front) of the forearm.
The seven superficial Extensors of the forearm comprise: the brachioradialis, extensor carpi radialis longus, anconeus, extensor carpi radialis brevis, extensor carpi ulnaris, extensor digitorum and extensor digiti minimi. The four superficial Flexors comprise the extrinsic hand muscles: the Flexor Carpi Radialis, Palmaris Longis, Flexor Carpi Ulnaris, and Flexor Digitorum Superficialis.
What Are Their Functions?
The muscles of the forearm mimic the rest of the body in their ability to function beautifully in synergy with one another to perform some of our most basic, yet intrinsic actions on a daily basis. Primarily, the following actions are supported by our Flexor and Extensor muscles: rotation (pronation/supination) of the hands and wrists; flexion of the forearms, fingers and thumbs; and extension of the forearm away from the upper arm.
These actions are demonstrated when performing any actions involving our arms and hands, including: using a device, keyboard, or reaching for a cup; lifting and using a phone, or performing a backhand in tennis, or hammering a nail into timber.
What Tension Related Problems Can Occur Here?
At Entegra Health Parkville, tension related to the forearms is commonly observed in people experiencing pain, tension or discomfort in the wrists and/or elbows. Some of the common soft tissue conditions or injuries include Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) of the wrists or elbow, and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome involving the wrists and inflammation of the Median Nerve, often resulting in tingling and numbness of the hands and fingers.
These common injuries are often multifaceted however may be associated with a combination of the following daily scenarios:
- Desk based work positions
- Prolonged device use
- Repeated actions causing strain, or overuse of muscles groups
- Weak muscles
- Sudden increase in forearm muscle demands/weight bearing loads
How Can I Reduce Muscular Tension in the Forearms? | Forearm Stretch
At Entegra Health, we highly recommend consulting your Remedial Massage therapist during your treatment, or initially through a Telehealth appointment, to determine the most appropriate treatment management plan for you. Common management plans may include a combination of regular Remedial Massage treatments, and self care options including stretches and strengthening programs, to effectively reduce general muscular tension of the forearm muscles between Remedial Massage treatments.
Many simple stretches exist to effectively lengthen and reduce tension in the Flexor and Extensor muscles of the forearm, requiring little to no equipment (see Entegra Health stretch library). Stretching these muscles also assists in the reduction of tension in the wrists and fingers, therefore reducing the potential for soft tissue injuries in this area.
Strengthening the flexor and extensor muscles is important to effectively support stabilization of the wrist, forearms, fingers and thumbs. Exercises to strengthen the Flexor and Extensor muscles include hand-held weights to support the wrist, and/or lightweight balls if pain and/or inflammation is present.
For further information regarding Remedial Massage, or treatment options, please contact us via email. Access to free online resources including stretch and exercise video resources can also be found on our website.
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