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Carpal tunnel home exercises are a good idea if you want to alleviate your symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that is most often caused by continuous and repetitive movements involving the wrist joint, such as typing or writing.
Certain medical conditions including rheumatoid arthritis can also result in carpal tunnel syndrome.
Recommended Reading – 6 Effective Stretching Wrist Exercises To Reduce Discomfort
There are several ways in which it can be treated:
- Wearing wrist splints or a brace, especially at bedtime.
- A course of physical therapy.
- A steroid injection.
- Carpal tunnel surgery in more extreme cases.
However, for many of you, carpal tunnel home exercises can help to reduce your symptoms and improve your strength and flexibility to your wrist flexors.
The wrist stretches and easy exercises recommended in this article can also help to improve your grip strength, range of motion, and dexterity, making it easier to perform everyday tasks as well as offering carpal tunnel relief.
What Are the Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the median nerve, which runs through the wrist in a narrow passageway called the carpal tunnel.
Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms tend to vary from person to person, but some of the more common signs to look out for include the following:
- Hand or wrist pain which may radiate up the forearm.
- Numbness or tingling in the fingers or hand, especially the thumb, index finger, and middle fingers.
- Weakness in the hand or difficulty gripping objects.
- Aching or shooting pain that travels up the arm.
- Symptoms that are worse at night or in the morning
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to obtain a physical examination from your medical provider or hand specialist as they can advise on the most suitable treatment plan.
It’s important not to ignore the pain, as doing so could lead to further complications and worsening of the symptoms.
If carpal tunnel pain is not addressed it can be debilitating and affect your daily life, making it difficult to perform simple tasks like typing, writing, or even holding a cup of coffee.
It’s important to take care of your hands and wrists to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome from developing or worsening.
Carpal Tunnel Home Exercises
Below we suggest some effective exercises aimed at stretching and strengthening the muscles and tendons in your hand and wrist, helping to promote mobility, and reducing the pressure on the median nerve.
It’s important to note that the following exercises are not a treatment plan.
Before you complete the following hand exercises and carpal tunnel stretches, we would recommend speaking with your health care provider to determine if this is the best course of action to treat your carpal tunnel symptoms.
Wrist Flexion & Extension
- Bend your arm to 90 degrees so that your elbow is tucked in, and forearm is parallel to the floor.
- Form a fist with your hand and make sure your palm is facing down. This is your starting position.
- Bending just at the wrist, pull your hand up and back into extension going as far as is comfortable.
- Now bend the wrist to move the hand all the way into flexion.
- You should feel a gentle stretch to your wrist and forearm muscles.
- Perform 20 repetitions in both directions.
Radial & Ulnar Deviation
- Set up in the same way as with the wrist flexion and extension exercise.
- Instead of your palm facing down, position your hand so that it faces inwards.
- Bend your wrist joint and rotate your hand upwards.
- Now take your hand and rotate it all the way down as far as you can.
- Complete 20 reps in both directions.
Wrist Flexor Stretch
- Hold your affected arm straight out in front of your chest.
- Keeping your hand flat with your palm facing the floor, bend at the wrist to raise your fingers upwards.
- Maintain this position for around 15 to 20 seconds and do this 3 times.
- To increase the stretch, you can use your other hand and gently pull back your fingers.
Wrist Extensor Stretch
- Once you’ve completed the flexor stretch, keep your arm and hand in position.
- From here, bend at the wrist joint and take your fingers down.
- You can use your fingers on the opposite hand to pull your hand further towards you, do this slowly and carefully.
- Hold this position for 20 seconds and complete the stretch 3 times.
Finger Tendon Glides
- Start by taking a seat and rest your elbow on a table.
- Keep your arm straight up and hand flat so that your fingers point towards the ceiling.
- Curl your fingers down, excluding your thumb, so that they form hooks.
- Straighten back out and perform this movement for 15 to 20 repetitions.
Median Nerve Glide
- Extend your arm straight out to your side and keep your hand flat with palm facing the ceiling.
- Bending at the wrist joint, lower your fingers towards the ground.
- Simultaneously drop your head to your shoulder on the opposite.
- This helps to increase the stretch which will run from your wrist all the way up to your neck and shoulder.
- Hold the stretch for about 5 seconds and perform 10 times.
How Often Should You Do Carpal Tunnel Exercises At Home?
When it comes to carpal tunnel exercises, consistency is key.
It’s important to perform the exercises often so you get the best results.
Your doctor or physical therapist may recommend a specific frequency based on the severity of your condition and specific needs.
Generally, it’s recommended to perform carpal tunnel exercises once a day, every day and for several weeks.
Whilst stretching out your muscles and nerves can help improve mobility, you can also overdo it.
Nerves do not have the same elasticity as muscles so pay attention to your body to avoid making symptoms worse.
Aside from performing exercises regularly, it’s also a good idea to incorporate other lifestyle changes to help manage carpal tunnel syndrome and prevent symptoms.
This could include taking frequent breaks from repetitive activities, maintaining good posture, and using ergonomic tools and equipment.
Remember, the above exercises should not take the place of a proper medical diagnosis and are merely for demonstration purposes.
You now have a better understanding of carpal tunnel syndrome and how it can be treated with home exercises.
Whilst there are several treatment options available, home exercises can be a convenient and simple way to manage your symptoms.
It’s important to consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
They can help you to determine which exercises are safe and effective depending on your symptoms.