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Friday, August 19, 2022

10 Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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10 Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the wrists and hands. The condition is caused by compression of the median nerve in the wrists. Specific exercises may help relieve mild to moderate cases of carpal tunnel syndrome.
“It is important when experiencing nerve irritation, tingling, or numbness to avoid pushing through exercises. Nerves can be quite sensitive and often can worsen if challenged too intensely,” says Meghan Curle, registered physiotherapist at Evolve Physiotherapy and Collaborative Care in Whistler, BC. “With the [following] exercises it is recommended to try only a couple at a time and monitor if your symptoms ease. If they do, great! If they worsen, try a different exercise once the symptoms settle, or perform with less intensity.”

01

Gentle shake


Shaking your hands gently back and forth can provide some relief from the symptoms of carpal tunnel. You may find this particularly useful at night when symptoms may be at their worst.

02

Prayer stretch

  • Starting with your palms together in front of your chest and just below your chin, slowly lower your hands down to your waistline.
  • Be sure to keep your hands close to your stomach and your palms together.
  • You should be able to feel a gentle stretch in your forearms.
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise 2 to 4 times.

03

Wrist flexion stretch

  • With a straight elbow and wrist, extend your arm in front of you with your palm facing toward the floor.
  • Bend your wrist until the tips of your fingers point toward the floor.
  • With your other hand, gently bend your wrist further until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your wrist and the topside of your forearm.
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise 2 to 4 times with each wrist.

04

Wrist extension stretch

  • With a straight elbow and wrist, extend your arm in front of you with your palm facing toward the floor.
  • Bend your wrist up until the tips of your fingers point toward the ceiling.
  • With your other hand, gently bend your wrist further until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your wrist and the underside of your forearm.
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat this exercise 2 to 4 times with each wrist.

05

Fist to stop sign

  • Ball your hand into a fist in front of your body.
  • Extend your fingers out until they are pointing to the ceiling as though you are giving the sign to stop.
  • Repeat this motion about 5 to 10 times.

06

Fist to fan

  • Ball your hand into a fist in front of your body.
  • Fan out your fingers as far as you can.
  • Repeat this motion about 5 to 10 times.

07

Thumb to finger touch

  • Touch your thumb to the tip of each finger, one a time.
  • Repeat this exercise a few times on each hand.

08

Tendon gliding

  • Begin with your elbow bent and wrist straight and your palm open with fingers outstretched and together.
  • Maintain this arm and wrist position throughout the exercise.
  • Curl your fingers inward so they are bent at the middle knuckles while your fingertips touch the top of your palm toward the base of your fingers.
  • With your thumb still relaxed, straighten your fingers so your hand forms an L-shape.
  • Fold your fingers down until to form a straight-fingered fist with your thumb tuck in against your index finger.
  • Ball your hand into a regular fist.
  • Take your time to move smoothly between positions.
  • Repeat these movements 10 times each session.
  • Complete 2 to 3 sessions each day.

09

Nerve gliding

  • Standing, lift your arm away from your side into a “high-five” position.
  • Rotate your forearm so that the palm of your hand is facing your ear.
  • Maintaining the same arm raised position, straighten your elbow so that your hand and forearm move away from your ear.
  • As you straighten your elbow, side bend your neck so that your ear moves toward your shoulder on the same side. The wrist should remain straight, and your palm will be facing upward toward the ceiling as the elbow straightens.
  • Resume a straight neck position and bend the elbow to assume the starting position.
  • Repeat 10 times 3 to 5 times daily. You should feel the tension in your wrist ease as the repetitions continue. If symptoms worsen, stop until you consult a health care practitioner.

10

Neck stretch

  • Seated or standing, gently tilt your ear to the opposite shoulder of your symptoms while slightly reaching downwards with the hand to make sure your shoulder does not shrug.
  • You should feel a mild to moderate stretch through the side of your neck to the shoulder area.
  • You can also try to slightly turn your head away from the symptomatic arm, while keeping your ear toward your shoulder for a slightly different stretch.
  • Hold for 15 seconds, then release. Repeat 3 to 5 times throughout the day.

Carpal tunnel exercises

  • are often used in conjunction with other treatments, like wearing a brace and behavioral changes
  • can help with mild to moderate cases of carpal tunnel syndrome
  • may be recommended after carpal tunnel surgery to help with the rehabilitation process
  • help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from coming back after you’ve recovered

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