What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: 5 Exercises to Get Relief

Carpal tunnel leads to pain and numbness. (Photo via Unsplash/Towfiqu barbhuiya)
Carpal tunnel syndrome leads to pain and numbness. (Photo via Unsplash/Towfiqu barbhuiya)

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that leads to numbness, pain, and tingling sensation in the wrist, hand, and arm.

The carpal tunnel is a passage that goes between the hand and wrist and contains ligaments, nerves, blood vessels, tendons, and bones. Too much compression in the median nerve leads to this syndrome and furthermore, causes severe pain, discomfort, and numbness.

Symptoms

Major symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include numbness in the fingers, a tingling sensation, pain in the wrist and fingers, reduced grip strength, dropping objects, etc.

The good news is that several stretches and exercises may help alleviate pain, improve symptoms, and also reduce pressure on the median nerve. Stretching and strengthening exercises may help speed up recovery.


Top exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome

Here’s a look at five most effective exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome:

1) Wrist extension

Wrist extension alleviates carpal tunnel syndrome pain. (Photo via Pexels/Kindel Media)
Wrist extension alleviates carpal tunnel syndrome pain. (Photo via Pexels/Kindel Media)

Wrist extension is one of the best stretches to ease carpal tunnel syndrome. This exercise gently stretches the inner forearm muscles and helps alleviate the pain. You can do this exercise as a quick warm-up stretch or as a pain relief move a few times a day.

To do the exercise:

  • Hold your right arm straight out in the front at your shoulder height. Ensure that the elbow is not locked while stretching the arm.
  • Bend your wrist back, and use your left hand to pull your right palm back towards your body. Gently pull your palm till you feel a stretch in your inner forearm.
  • Hold the stretch for ten seconds, and release.
  • Repeat the exercise a few more times, and do the exercise with your other arm.

2) Wrist flexion

Wrist flexion is another incredible exercise that can provide relief from carpal tunnel syndrome. This exercise stretches the outer forearm muscles and strengthens them while also easing pain.

To do the exercise:

  • Extend your left arm in the front at shoulder height. Do not lock your elbow while stretching your arm out.
  • Keep your palm facing down, and bend your wrist. Ensure that your fingers point straight towards the floor.
  • Using your right hand, pull your left hand towards your body till you feel a stretch in your left outer forearm.
  • Hold the stretch for ten seconds, and release.
  • Repeat the exercise a few more times before switching sides.

3) Prayer stretch

The prayer stretch eases wrist pain. (Photo via Pexels/Mikhail Nilov)
The prayer stretch eases wrist pain. (Photo via Pexels/Mikhail Nilov)

The prayer stretch is an easy and effective exercise that may help with the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

To do the exercise:

  • Put your hands together in front of your chest.
  • From there, lower your hands towards your waist while keeping your hands close to your belly. Continue the movement till you feel a good stretch under the forearm muscles.
  • Hold the stretch for at least 20 seconds, and release.
  • Repeat the exercise 3-4 times.

4) Wrist lift

Another very easy and productive carpal tunnel syndrome exercise, the wrist lift works on the forearm muscles and provides quick relief from pain.

To do the exercise:

  • Place your right palm on a table or any other flat surface, and place your other hand at right angles across your right palm’s knuckles.
  • Lift your fingers and wrist of your right hand while gently pressing it down with your left.
  • Hold for ten seconds, and release.
  • Repeat the exercise ten times more before switching your hand.

5) Wrist stretch with weight

Wrist stretch with weights stretches the forearm’s flexor muscles. (Photo via Instagram/vckpilates)
Wrist stretch with weights stretches the forearm’s flexor muscles. (Photo via Instagram/vckpilates)

Wrist stretch with weights particularly stretches the forearm’s flexor muscles. To do the exercise, you need a lightweight dumbbell or simply use a small refrigerator bottle. Start with light weights, and gradually switch to heavier ones.

To do the exercise:

  • Hold the dumbbell in your right hand, and extend your arm straight. Keep your palm facing towards the floor.
  • Slowly move your wrist up, and back towards your arm while bending only at your wrist.
  • Return to the starting position, and relax.
  • Repeat the exercise with your other hand.

Takeaway

Practicing the aforementioned exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome consistently for at least five weeks is sure to ease the pain and improve other symptoms. These exercises may also prevent the symptoms from developing due to everyday movements.

If you have a persistent pain or tingling sensation that doesn’t get better even after practicing these stretches, you may consult a doctor to seek other treatments.

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