5 Wrist Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common ailment among many Americans, particularly as technology use increases and more people are spending more time working on computers or being on their phones. It is characterized by tingling, weakness, and numbness in the wrist or hand, and is more common in individuals who do repetitive motions with their hands and wrists. Those who type frequently, play piano, do assembly line work, and other similar motions are more prone to carpal tunnel syndrome. Other health concerns can contribute to carpal tunnel pain as well, such as obesity, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Some women also experience symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome during pregnancy.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
The median nerve is a large nerve that runs from the hand all the way through the arm and into the spinal column. This nerve runs through the carpal tunnel, and when this area is swollen or exacerbated in any way and for any reason, it causes more irritation and more carpal tunnel symptoms. In severe cases, the pressure on the median nerve can even lead to intense pain, muscle cramping, reduced grip strength, loss of feeling in the fingers, and permanent muscle damage.
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There are a variety of ways to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, and the type of treatment that is best for you will depend on the severity of your carpal tunnel syndrome and your particular situation. Chiropractic, physical therapy, medication, and surgery are all viable options for dealing with carpal tunnel pain, and you can talk to a doctor at NCHS to learn more about your options and the best course of treatment for you. Many doctors will begin by giving you some at-home wrist exercises for carpal tunnel pain. This will increase blood flow, improve flexibility in the wrist, reduce swelling of the carpal tunnel, and bring about a reduction of all related pain and symptoms. Set up an appointment with a doctor at NCHS to have your carpal tunnel syndrome treated further, but for now, utilize these wrist exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome.
Wrist Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
The biggest thing to keep in mind when doing these wrist exercises is that they should bring about relief, not more pain. While some stretching discomfort is okay, don’t push yourself to the point of pain with any of these. Take a break in the middle of doing these exercises if you need to, and be sure to consult a doctor if your carpal tunnel syndrome gets worse.
- Hang and Shake – This is a great exercise to do first thing in the morning or if your carpal tunnel syndrome wakes you up in the middle of the night. Simply hang your hands over the side of the bed to increase blood flow, and then gently shake them. This will help get rid of any tingling or numbness and should help you get back to sleep or use your hands sooner in the morning.
- Finger Fan & Stop Sign – Make a tight fist and then fan your fingers out as widely as possible. Repeat this a few times, up to 10 times. Go back to making a fist and open your hand while stretching your fingers up as high as possible, as if you’re telling someone to stop. Try to make your hand as flat as possible and return to a fist and repeat.
- Resistance Lift – Lay the forearm that is affected by carpal tunnel syndrome on a table, with your palm facing down and your wrist straight. Place your other hand across the top of the hand on the table at a perpendicular angle, with the center of your top hand across the knuckles of your bottom hand. Lift the lower hand up (but keep your arm on the table) while resisting with the top hand. This should stretch your forearm muscles and gently strengthen them. Do this multiple times per day.
- Wrist Curl – You can do this exercise with a one-pound weight, a can of beans, or no weight at all. Stand up with your arms down by your side. Lift up your forearms so they are parallel to the ground and keep your wrists straight and in line with your forearms, with your palms facing down. Bend your hand up, hold for about ten seconds, and then return to a neutral position. Repeat this ten times, with the entire exercise being done three times a day.
- Hand Squeezes – Find a ball of socks or a softball and squeeze it tightly for five seconds. Relax your hand for a few seconds, and then squeeze it again. Repeat this ten times to improve your grip strength, increase blood flow to the area, and reduce pain and inflammation.
If you utilize these wrist exercises for carpal tunnel, along with any other exercises that your doctor recommends, your pain will likely be reduced and your symptoms will begin to dissipate. If you still experience pain or if your carpal tunnel pain increases, be sure to make an appointment with one of our physicians at NCHS. We have multiple locations throughout North County and Riverside County, and we are happy to explore various treatment options to improve your carpal tunnel discomfort. We can provide you with chiropractic care to improve nerve communication and reduce pain, offer you physical therapy to increase blood flow and strengthen muscle tone, or prescribe medication to alleviate symptoms temporarily while we explore other long-term options.