View Full Version : OHS/Snatch & wrist nerve issues?

Justin Arnold
10-10-2010, 12:23 PM
Hello all,

I've been dealing with a bit of a malfunction for some time, and figured I'd consult the board for the extensive experience on the subject.

I was starting to train the O-Lifts with an instructor, and dealing with typical newbie issues in the snatch position like wrist pain from lack of flexibility, etc. This is made a little more interesting by reduced wrist mobility from 10 years of abuse as a climber.. though I'd say that gives me a little extra perspective on wrist and tendon injuries than the normal guy. I was progressing in those departments, figuring out hand position, and getting used to the feeling of the bar being overhead without excessive pain.

One day I'm working on technique and receive the bar overhead with a light load (around 40K), and feel a very intense tingling/pain in my left hand, originating in the notch between my thumb and index finger, running in a narrow band down through the carpal tunnel and maybe 2-3 inches into the forearm. I had to ditch the weight.. it hurt too bad, and contrary to tendon abuse, this wasn't something I could just deal with. This was "nerve" pain. For the record, I did not have wrist wraps on when this happened.

Ever since then, there is a lingering tingling/pain sensation with certain wrist and hand positions, usually somewhat mimicking having the bar overhead during a snatch. The wider the grip (bending the thumb back toward the forearm more), the worse it is. I can front squat, press, or jerk with no issue whatsoever. I can OHS light loads (50 usually isn't a problem, and occasionally 60), but as soon as weight starts increasing the pain switch gets turned on and I'm forced to quit. Thing is it is not limited to having weight applied.. I can be steering my car with my left hand and go around a tight turn, somewhat stretching my left wrist, and I'll feel the numbness/tingling temporarily. Wrist wraps seem to help somewhat, though I haven't had my own to mess with extensively. Will be getting a pair soon.

My mom is an occupational therapist with extensive training in the human hand, but most of what she deals with is therapy/recovery and carpal tunnel syndrome. I've done a couple functional tests for CTS and come up negative, as well as a total lack of the classic symptoms (night pain, CT Tinel signs, etc). My intuition is that I somehow stretched one of the major nerves going through the wrist.. thing is her books on the subject seem to suggest specific paralysis/numbness until it can reheal, at which point everything should be hunkey dorey. But I get and have had no permanent numbness/paralysis.. only "nerve" pain when the right conditions are met.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has ever dealt with or heard of anything like this, and what causes/solutions were found.

On a related note, has anyone noticed a correlation between extensive olympic lifting and carpal tunnel syndrome?

Thanks a ton for any help,


Justin Arnold
10-10-2010, 12:27 PM
One relevant detail I forgot to mention: This happened about a month and a half ago, and doesn't seem to be getting better at all.. but then it doesn't seem to be getting worse either.

Rick Deckart
10-10-2010, 12:54 PM
do you know the wrist conditioning routine from Coach Sommer look it up
at www.gymnasticbodies.com
will improve wrist mobility and create some strength in unused angles etc.
quite good.

Justin Arnold
10-10-2010, 05:41 PM
Thanks, I'll be sure to check that out.

Kevin Perry
10-10-2010, 06:47 PM
I get the same issue with OHS/Snatches after not practicing them for a while. I used to think it was a medical issue but im now pretty certain it is entirely a wrist mobility issue as it goes away with time and regular practice. This is possibly the same thing with you.

Justin Arnold
10-11-2010, 10:47 PM
Kevin, would you characterize your issue initially as one involving the nerve? or at least felt like it? (ie, non-local tingling) and was yours one hand or both? any issues outside of lifting? or only when you went overhead?

I had a bit of a development on Sunday.. I've never used a hook-grip, because I simply didn't need it and a regular grip was more comfortable. Well it appears the different thumb position keeps the strain off the nerve (or whatever is going on) to the point that I get virtually no pain at all, no matter how heavy I go. I could still feel -SOMETHING-, but it wasn't pain. Thing is, I must stay in a hook-grip the whole time.. I can't release it and simply let the bar rest in my hand. I think I can deal with that..

Steven Low
10-12-2010, 06:40 AM
Hit up nerve glides and see if they help

"nerve glides" google first link, middle of the page

Justin Arnold
10-27-2010, 09:54 PM
I messed around with nerve glides a little, but honestly couldn't remember to do them often enough to do any good.

What seems to have helped a ton was switching to a hook-grip during OHS or snatches. It seems to allow the palm to get less parallel with the bar, which reduces the angle of my wrist in the overhead position. There is a dramatic reduction in the pain/numbness.

With doing that, and changing how I grip the steering wheel while turning to minimize that instance of pain, I don't seem to notice it much at all anymore.

Anyway, thanks for the advice.