Due to numbness and/or tingling in the fingers associated with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), dexterity problems such as opening a jar or buttoning up clothing can become difficult for individuals with the syndrome. Other issues may include loss of strength when turning doorknobs, picking up small objects and even turning the key to start the car. But one of the biggest issues for those with carpal tunnel syndrome is waiting too long before considering or having treatment to relieve the symptoms and pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome rarely subsides without some form of treatment, consulting a physician or considering surgery.
So, what can one do to relieve these issues related to carpal tunnel syndrome? There are several options to help manage the condition, including a carpal tunnel syndrome exercise regimen to aid in maintaining a healthy wrist and arm. According to a report from the University of Oklahoma, 2 out of 3 patients with mild to moderate carpal tunnel syndrome were able to avoid surgical interventions by incorporating exercises, which alleviated pain, tingling and numbness.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Exercises
1. Wrist Stretch and Flex
This exercise can be completed in six simple steps. Start out by extending and stretching out both wrists and fingers as if you are in a push-up position. Hold this stretch for 5 seconds. Next, straighten both wrists and relax the fingers. Make a tight first with both hands and then bend both wrists up for 5 seconds, and then down for 5 seconds. Allow your arms to hang loosely at your side, shaking them out to come back to a neutral position.
Repeat the Wrist Stretch and Flex ten times before moving on to the next exercise. This is a great routine to have after waking up in the morning.
2. The Median Nerve Circuit
For the Median Nerve Circuit exercise, begin with your arm stretched out in front of you with a fist to begin with, and hold for 5 seconds. Next, flatten out your hand and hold that position for 5 seconds; then, make a “puppet” hand, or a “C” with your hand and hold out for 5 seconds. Following this, you will turn your palm upward and hold for 5 seconds, and end by reaching with the opposite arm underneath your outstretched arm, and grab hold of your thumb, pulling it downward. Hold this for 5 seconds as well.
3. Towel Stretch – “First Rib”
In this stretch, place a towel over the same shoulder as the wrist with carpal tunnel syndrome and grab the end of it with your hand. Pull down with one arm in the front, one in the back and lean your head to the opposite shoulder. Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat on the other side.
There are many stretches that an individual with carpal tunnel syndrome can perform to alleviate or reduce symptoms and pain of CTS. The above-mentioned carpal tunnel syndrome exercises are a great way to start an exercise routine in the comfort of your own home. A physical therapist would also be a great resource for additional exercises and hand or wrist movements to aid in providing comfort to the patient. Be sure to consult your doctor before beginning any exercise routine to ensure safety and to prevent further damage or injury.