Best Exercises for Your Carpal Tunnel
As we rely more and more on technology in our daily lives, many people find themselves spending hours on end typing away at a keyboard or scrolling through their phones. Unfortunately, this increased screen time can lead to a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, becomes compressed at the wrist. This compression can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and wrist. Fortunately, there are several exercises that can help alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
What Is Carpal Tunnel?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm to the hand, becomes compressed at the wrist. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist that is formed by bones and ligaments. The median nerve and several tendons pass through this tunnel. When the tunnel becomes narrow, the median nerve can become compressed, causing pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and wrist.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can vary in severity and can include:
- Numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger.
- Weakness in the hand and wrist.
- Pain that travels up the arm.
- Difficulty gripping objects.
- Difficulty performing fine motor tasks, such as buttoning a shirt or typing on a keyboard.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is more common in women than men and is most common in people over the age of 50. Certain occupations, such as those that require repetitive hand movements, can increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. Other factors that can increase the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome include pregnancy, diabetes, obesity, and arthritis.
If you are experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent further damage and alleviate symptoms. Treatment options may include exercises, stretches, ergonomic equipment, physical therapy, medication, and surgery.
Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If you have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, there are several exercises you can do to help alleviate your symptoms. These exercises are designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your hand and wrist, reducing the compression on the median nerve. Here are some exercises you can try:
One of the most effective exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome is a simple wrist stretch. To perform this exercise, extend your arm in front of you with your palm facing down. Use your other hand to gently pull your fingers towards your body until you feel a stretch in your wrist and forearm. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, then release and repeat on the other side. You can perform this stretch several times throughout the day.
Another simple exercise for carpal tunnel syndrome is a fist clench. Start by extending your arm in front of you with your palm facing up. Slowly close your hand into a fist, making sure to keep your thumb on the outside of your fingers. Hold the fist for a few seconds, then slowly release and straighten your fingers. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times, several times throughout the day.
Wrist curls are a great exercise for strengthening the muscles in your forearm, which can help alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Start by sitting in a chair with your forearm resting on a table or desk, palm facing up. Hold a light weight in your hand, such as a small dumbbell or a can of soup. Slowly curl your wrist up towards your forearm, then slowly lower it back down. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times, then switch to the other hand.
Finger extensions are another great exercise for strengthening the muscles in your hand and wrist. Start by placing a rubber band around all five of your fingers. Open your fingers as wide as you can, then slowly close them back into a fist. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times, then switch to the other hand.
The prayer stretch is a great exercise for stretching the muscles in your wrist and forearm. Start by placing your palms together in front of your chest, fingers pointing up towards the ceiling. Slowly lower your hands towards your waist, keeping your palms together. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, then slowly raise your hands back up to your chest. Repeat this exercise several times throughout the day.
Other Tips for Alleviating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Take frequent breaks: One of the best ways to alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome is to take frequent breaks from repetitive tasks, such as typing or using a mouse. Try to take a break every 30-60 minutes to stretch your hands and arms and give your muscles a chance to rest.
Improve your posture: Poor posture can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome by putting additional strain on your muscles and nerves. Make sure to sit up straight with your shoulders relaxed and your feet flat on the floor. Adjust your computer monitor and keyboard to ensure that your arms are at a comfortable angle.
Use ergonomic equipment: Ergonomic equipment, such as a keyboard or mouse designed specifically for people with carpal tunnel syndrome, can help alleviate symptoms by reducing the strain on your muscles and nerves. Look for equipment with a comfortable grip and wrist rest.
Apply heat or cold: Applying heat or cold to your hands and wrists can help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Try using a heating pad or a warm towel to apply heat to your hands and wrists. You can also try applying an ice pack wrapped in a towel to reduce swelling and numbness.
Consider physical therapy: If your symptoms are severe, consider seeing a physical therapist who can provide exercises and stretches specifically designed to alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome. They can also provide other treatments, such as ultrasound or wrist splints, to help reduce pain and inflammation.
Maintain a healthy weight: Carrying excess weight can put additional strain on your muscles and nerves, exacerbating the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can help alleviate symptoms and prevent further damage.
The Study of Exercises for Carpal Tunnel
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Orthopedic Research, exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome have shown significant improvement in patients’ symptoms. The study indicated that regular engagement in exercises like wrist stretches, fist clenches, wrist curls, finger extensions, and prayer stretches contributed to reducing pain and discomfort in individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome. These exercises, combined with ergonomic adjustments and other lifestyle changes, provide an effective approach to managing the condition.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Exercises
In conclusion, carpal tunnel syndrome can be a painful and debilitating condition, but there are several exercises and tips that can help alleviate symptoms. By incorporating wrist stretches, fist clenches, wrist curls, finger extensions, and prayer stretches into your daily routine, you can strengthen the muscles in your hand and wrist and reduce pain and inflammation. Contact Healthy Türkiye today for learning more about carpal tunnel syndrome and orthopedic surgery in Turkiye.
Additionally, taking frequent breaks, improving your posture, using ergonomic equipment, applying heat or cold, considering physical therapy, and maintaining a healthy weight can all help prevent and alleviate the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. With these exercises and tips, you can take control of your carpal tunnel syndrome and continue to use technology without pain and discomfort.