Welcome back for another Muscle Monday!
Today’s special guests are the Wrist Extensors. Ooooooh.
The three muscles that act to extend your wrist are the Extensor carpi radialis longus and brevis, and Extensor carpi ulnaris.
They originate from the tendon on the outside of your elbow and run down the side (more or less) of your forearm, attaching at three different points along the top of your wrist (longus goes to your pointer finger, brevis goes to your middle finger, and ulnaris goes to your pinkie).
Why do we care about these little muscles? For one thing, they allow us to type at a keyboard! They also help us do arm balances in yoga (down-dog, for one), and are a key player in our ability to open and close our hands. These muscles also help our wrists move from side-to-side.
Massage therapists can certainly deal with some tight wrist extensors, but so can anyone who spends long hours at the computer keyboard. When these muscles are chronically tight, short, and overused, it can lead to tennis elbow symptoms and contribute to carpel tunnel symptoms.
From experience, I’ve also noticed that tight wrist extensors are often involved in pain higher up in the shoulder and neck.
What to do? Check your desk and keyboard #ergonomics, take as many breaks as possible, stretch and strengthen these muscles, do some self-massage using a tennis ball or the balls in the MELT Method hand and arm kit, get acupuncture. And of course, massage, Ortho-Bionomy and other forms of hands-on care can work wonders to keep things balanced and healthy, and work successfully to treat discomfort and dysfunction should it arise.
I hope you enjoyed this Muscle Monday edition! Please leave any questions or comments below, and don’t forget to ‘share’ so that others with wrist extensors can benefit : )
(Photo from p. 128 of, “The Concise Book of Muscles,” by Chris Jarmey)