Carpal Tunnel? These 21 Exercises Will Help Tremendously - Iron Health Physical Therapy & Cryotherapy
Joseph Rendina

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Carpal Tunnel? These 21 Exercises Will Help Tremendously

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common presentation of office workers, typists, writers, painters, people who do delicate embroidery, knitters, painters and many more. It is commonly seen in people who use repetitive hand motions.

What is carpal tunnel syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is median nerve entrapment between the hand and carpal bones. The ligaments and tendons surrounding the tunnel become inflamed and tight, resulting in nerve compression.

The patient usually presents with severe pain, mild atrophy or weakness of palm muscles (thenar muscles), paresthesia, and numbness in the first three and half of the fourth fingers.

How do I treat it?

Over here, I have discussed 21 best exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome. You can start by performing 3 basic exercises and then gradually adding more exercises to relieve over time. 

21 Best Exercises For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

IP Tendon glide

To perform this glide

  • Bring your wrist in neutral position with forearm flexed
  • Then flex your fingers
  • Do it 10 to 20 times per day, 3 reps

MCP tendon Glide

To perform this glide

  • Bring your wrist in neutral position with forearm flexed
  • Bend your fingers 
  • Do it 10 to 20 times per day, 3 reps

Nerve glide

To perform this glide

  • Pull your arm out to the side, with the elbow straight and palm up.
  • Pull the fingers down towards the floor until you feel a stretch in your hand and wrist
  • Perform it 10 times, hold for about 3 to 5 seconds.

Prayer stretch

To do this stretch

  • Make a “Namaste” hand position 
  • Hold it for 1 to 2 minutes, 5 to 10 reps

Modify grip/ grip strengthening

To perform this exercise

  • Use a physio ball and compress it with your affected hand
  • Repeat it 10 times

Wrist flexor stretch

To perform this stretch

  • Extend arm straight in front of you 
  • The palm is facing up.
  • Then bend the hand down towards the floor.
  • Put pressure on your bent hand with your other hand and hold.
  • Put enough force that you can sustain.
  • Do not cross the pain barrier
  • Repeat 5 times with 10 seconds hold.

Wrist extensor stretch

To do this stretch

  • Extend your arm in front of you.
  • The palm is facing up.
  • In this position, put pressure with your other hand in extension and hold.
  • Put enough pressure that you can sustain.
  • Do not cross the pain barrier.
  • Repeat 5 times with 10 seconds hold.

Shake it out

This is a relatively easy technique, and you must have performed it subconsciously. It is usually effective at night when there is sharp shooting pain, and it wakes you up from deep sleep.

Shake or flicker your hand forcefully for 2 minutes; somehow, it relieves pain for a short period.

Fist to stop sign

To perform this

  • Open your hand and place your arm beside your head
  • Make a fist in a way that your thumb is outside the fist 
  • Gradually slide your fingers towards your wrist
  • Slide them backwards and forth towards the wrist.
  • Do not bend your fingers; fold them on your palm.
  • Make sure your thumb is not tucked in your fist
  • Repeat 10 times
  • Increase the repetitions incrementally.

 

Fist to fan

To perform this

  • Place your arm in front of you
  • Make a fist, clasp your hand.
  • Gradually open your hand.
  • Open fist half in a way that fingers are bent until knuckles
  • Extend all your fingers. 
  • Repeat for 10 times

Thumb touches

To perform this

  • Place your wrist in extension with hand out and palm facing up
  • Curve the index finger and touch the thumb.
  • Make an “O” shape
  • Repeat the same process with your middle finger, ring finger and pinky finger.
  • Perform 10 repetitions
  • Increase the repetitions incrementally

 

Finger bends

To perform this

  • Put out your hand with palm facing up
  • Bend the thumb towards the palm
  • Hold it in there for 5 seconds, straighten your thumb back
  • Repeat the same process for all fingers
  • Perform 10 repetitions

Wrist resistance in extension

To perform this

  • Place your forearm resting on a table
  • The palm should be facing down towards the floor 
  • The wrist should be on the table edge
  • Pull up your hand with only performing wrist motion
  • Add thera band for resistance
  • The force of the resistance band should be towards the floor.
  • The force of your hand should be towards the ceiling
  • Repeat for 5 times
  • Do not cross the pain barrier in the initial stages
  • Gradually increase repetitions

Wrist resistance inflexion

To perform this

  • Place your forearm resting on a table
  • Your palm should be facing upward towards the ceiling
  • Your wrist should be on the edge of a table
  • Grab the band, on the other hand 
  • Pull it downward
  • With the affected hand pull against resistance in an upward motion
  • Repeat for 5 times 
  • Do not cross the pain barrier in the initial stages
  • Gradually increase repetitions

Wrist curl

To perform this

  • Extend your forearm
  • Put your hand with palm facing up
  • Move your wrist in up and down position
  • Repeat 5 times

Alternate Finger stretch

To perform this

  • Place your hand on a flat surface like a table
  • With your other hand, stretch the fingers one by one 
  • Repeat 5 times

Finger stretch

To perform this

  • Extend your arm
  • Place your hand with palm facing towards the wall
  • Join the pinky finger and ring finger together, similarly join the index finger and middle finger together.
  • Stretch them in the opposite direction 
  • Hold for 5 seconds 
  • Repeat 10 times

Thumb pull

To perform this

  • Move your arm beside your head
  • Place your hand with palm facing towards the wall
  • Grab the thumb with your unaffected hand
  • Move the thumb towards the palm 
  • And then away from the palm
  • Hold it for 10 to 15 seconds
  • Repeat 10 times.

Windshield wiper wrist motion

To perform this

  • Place your hand on the flat surface
  • Slide your hand towards the left and then right side
  • Move as much as you can
  • Hold for 5 seconds
  • Repeat 10 times

Fist opener

To perform this

  • Make a beggars hand position
  • Place your hand in front of your face
  • Close and open your fingers
  • Stretch your fingers as wide as you can
  • Repeat this movement 10 times

Hooked stretch

To perform this

  • Hook the unaffected around the affected arm
  • Move it in the midline to the torso
  • Put pressure with your unaffected wrist and hand
  • Resist the pressure with your affected handhold for 15 seconds
  • Repeat 10 times

Summing up

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common hand condition seen in those who repetitively use hand motion; students, office workers, laborer’s and homemakers. Almost everyone complains of pain in the hand and wrist.

Often the cause is carpal tunnel syndrome, and it goes unnoticed. By just performing these simple exercises, CTS can be treated and prevented. These therapeutic exercises and stretches provide long-term relief if added to the daily regime.