Why Do I Have Numbness and Tingling In My Hand?

hand numbness tingling

“What causes my numbness and tingling?” As a healthcare provider and a musculoskeletal expert- I get this question all the time! And the most likely cause of it is…undue pressure on a nerve. But what could cause abnormal pressure on your nerve? Several common reasons include- swelling accumulation, abnormal posture, tissue protrusion (such a herniated disc). Let’s review one common and misdiagnosed cause—your 1st Rib. Your 1st Rib connects to your T1 vertebrae in the back and the top of your breast bone in the front. It is located directly behind and just below your collar bone. Above it sits major blood vessels (called the subclavian artery and vein) and a bundle of nerves that run from your neck and into your arm.

An abnormal position of your 1st rib can easily put increased pressure on those nerves and cause a number of issues in your neck, shoulder, arm, and hand. Contact Marathon Physical Therapy today!


The 3 Common Problems Caused by an elevated 1st Rib include:

#1- Numbness and tingling into your arm and hand

#2- Shoulder pain and difficulty reaching up and behind your back

#3- Swelling of your fingers/hand

These problems sound quite bad and debilitating, but the good news is…the treatment for can be done by your Physical Therapist! The treatment is called a 1st Rib Mobilization and it gives you instant pain or numbness relief.

How Physical Therapy Helps

You may be wondering how this treatment is performed. It comes down to having a good manual physical therapist (PT). Manual means that they use their own hands to feel and to mobilize different parts of your body including muscles, tendons, spinal vertebra, joints, and ribs. But before any good manual PT is trained to mobilize, they are taught to find abnormality in your body.

When it comes to your 1st rib, your PT will look and feel for an abnormal positioning of your 1st rib. Once they determine that one of your 1st ribs is abnormally positioned, they will push on the 1st rib to mobilize it into a normal position. The treatment takes seconds and gives instant relief to your tingling, swelling, and limited and painful arm movement.

In addition, physical therapy treatment for it will involve:

  • Full posture and strength assessment
  • Education on proper breathing called diaphragmatic breathing
  • Evaluation of bad posture habits (like sitting slouched at your desk job, carrying heavy handbags on one shoulder all the time, etc)
  • Correction of bad posture habits
  • Strengthening of important posture supporting muscles
  • Stretching of tight chest muscles.


If you have any one or more of the 3 common problems listed above, then your 1st Rib could be the culprit! Let us examine your 1st Rib and see if you would benefit from a 1st Rib Mobilization. Contact Marathon Physical Therapy today!

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