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Are you experiencing wrist pain? Have you worked diligently to try to eliminate that wrist pain with strength and mobility exercises, yet you are still experiencing pain and reduced mobility? If so, you may want to turn your "rehab" focus toward your shoulders.

Although the shoulder and wrist do not share any muscles, they have connectivity; a definite symbiotic relationship while mobilizing and stabilizing the arm. Fascia is credited for creating this connectivity through the arm (from shoulder to hand).

Fascia is a connective tissue that incases, touches, and infiltrates every tissue and structure in the body including muscles, tendons, ligaments, bone, skin and even organs.

This multidimensional web of fascial tissue is laid down (grows) and structured in accordance with our movement patterns, having a very close relationship with the muscles.

For a better understanding of fascia, see this informative video with Alliance coaches, Matthew and Conner, explaining fascia:

In the body, there are distinct traceable myofascial (muscle-fascia) lines that correspond with movement and postural compensations; lines of stability, strain, tension, power, flexibility, elasticity, resilience and cellular communication.

Check out this post in Axel Bohlin's "The Facia Guide" to learn more about facial lines: Fascia Lines are the intersections of the body - The Fascia Guide

When there is trauma, stress, weakness, or malfunctions anywhere along one of these natural facial lines or body "chains", any interconnected tissues anywhere along the chain can be affected.

This brings us back to the wrist and shoulder connection. There are four myofascial lines that run from the axial (inner) skeleton through four layers of the shoulder, to the four quadrants of the arm and the four sides of the hand (thumb, little finger, palm and back sides of the hand). Any injury, weakness, tightness, mobility limitations, structural imbalances and even pain in the shoulder can affect the wrist.

Problems in the shoulder can move along the chain and manifest in the wrist joint (and often the elbow too) because of that myofascial connections. In many cases, pain in the wrist can be related to what's happening with the shoulder.

To get a feel for the myofascial connection through the arm lines, try the following "mobility test":

By understanding fascia and myofascial lines, it makes sense to consider the shoulder when putting together a plan for combatting wrist pain. Opening up and strengthening ranges of motion in both the shoulder and wrist through myofascial release work, progressive loading mobility exercises and isometric exercises (for tendon/ligament health) will help fix and prevent wrist pain and keep all joints along the myofascial arm line healthy.

There are special stretches designed specifically for releasing fascial adhesions and tension along fascial lines, as well as redirecting fascia for freer and stronger movement. Including these types of stretches in a mobility strengthening program is advisable.

The following group of MFR (myofascial release) stretches are designed to help prevent or fix wrist pain and target the release of tension through the fascial arm lines. Note: For these stretches to be effective, it is important for one to be sufficiently hydrated and perform the stretches regularly.

MFR Stretches For Wrist Pain

  1. Dead Roach Stretch

2. Holding a Small Globe

3. Side-of-Neck Stretch

4. a) Front-of-Shoulder Stretch

b) Floor Deep Shoulder Stretch - this stretch is a progression to replace 4a

5. Biceps Stretch

6. Forearm Stretches

Whether you are experiencing wrist pain or not, practicing Myofascial Release work on the body through special stretches or other means (like foam rolling, massage, trigger point therapy), is a great idea and important for your mobility health.

Feel free to contact me or any Alliance coach if you have questions or want more information or guidance on this topic. Thank you for reading.

Sara Gillis

Alliance Coach

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