Exercises to Alleviate Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

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Awkward aches and pains are difficult to ignore, and if you suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, you know that all too well. The numbing, pins-and-needles feeling that stretches from the corners of your wrists, up into the palm side of your thumb has probably grown to become something you’ve just learned to live with. There are, though, carpal tunnel symptom treatments that will improve the way you feel without you having to eliminate the activities you enjoy.

Aside from surgical treatments for carpal tunnel, there are some hand exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome that you can practice regularly to relieve your mild to moderate symptoms. Exercises for carpal tunnel are helpful in providing temporary relief and should be practiced in accompaniment with other medically prescribed treatments. Please be sure to speak with your physician before practicing any of these exercises to ensure they will not result in worsening of symptoms.

1. Bear Claw

For this exercise, you will want to extend your arm fully forward and bend your wrist back so that your fingers point straight up. With fingers pointing up, separate your fingers and thumb from each other as if you were about to give a wide high five. Next, you’ll want to flex or bed the tips of your fingers while keeping base knuckles straight. Hold for about 5 seconds and release, letting your hand drop into a fist. Slowly repeat, three times.

2. Spider Crawl

This easy exercise is a quick way to stretch out your fingers after some time typing or using your hands. First, put your hands in prayer position before you and slowly rotate them so that your fingers point down and your thumb sticks away from you. Next, spread out your fingers as far as you can and separate your palms (enough to fit a small ball), while keeping the tips of your fingers together, and bring your thumbs up. At this point, you’ll be able to create an open-close motion that resembles the crawling of a spider. This exercise stretches the palmar fascia and median nerve, helping relieve some of your carpal tunnel symptoms.

3. Shake Dry

For this exercise, all you need to do is shake your hands up and down as if to dry them out. Your arms should be slightly forward and wrists relaxed and hanging as you tilt them so that your hands can swing. Though simple, this exercise can be easily implemented into your day. Try it every hour for about a minute prevent your wrists from exhaustion or excessive tension in your hands or median nerve.  

4. Stretch Armstrong

For this exercise, you will want to stretch out of your arms before you and let your wrist hang with your fingers slightly apart. Using your free hand, pull your wrist and your fingers in for a deep, comfortable stretch. Try this motions every few hours to help improve your flexibility and reduce stress in your wrists.

This exercises may not eliminate all of your symptoms of carpal tunnel but they can reduce some of the tension in your wrists or hands that comes from repetitive motions throughout your day. It is best to try these exercises while on a carpal tunnel treatment plan designated by a specialist and may not be recommendable for severe symptoms as they may worsen the condition. If you are unsure whether your symptoms are a sign of carpal tunnel, these diagnostic imaging tools can help you find out.