Repetitive use and static postures: a source of nerve compression and pain

J Hand Ther. 1997 Apr-Jun;10(2):151-9. doi: 10.1016/s0894-1130(97)80069-5.


Nerve compression or musculoskeletal diagnoses require consideration of both the repetitive movements and static postures that may be contributing to the problem. Certain postures and positions assumed at home, at work, and during sleep will have three major influences: (1) directly increasing pressure on nerves at entrapment sites; (2) placing muscles in shortened positions so that adaptive muscle shortening may then secondarily compress nerves; and (3) placing some muscles in elongated and weakened positions, resulting in other muscles being over-used, thus creating the cycle of muscle imbalance. Successful management of the patient with upper extremity pain, paresthesia, and numbness should begin with initial identification of all sites that are contributing to the presenting symptoms. Treatment must then be directed toward the sources of nerve compression and musculoskeletal dysfunction. Upper quadrant symptomatology can be alleviated with an appropriate therapy program, even in the patient with chronic symptoms, but only with patient education, compliance with an exercise program, and behavioral modification at home, work, and during sleep.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arm / innervation*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / complications*
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / physiopathology
  • Ergonomics
  • Humans
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / etiology*
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / therapy
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Posture*
  • Risk Factors