Carpal Tunnel Exercises: How to Relieve Pain and Improve Mobility

You might have noticed your hand “falling asleep” while sleeping and you begin feeling numbness in your hand as you wake up. Well, if you face this every day, it might be the first sign of something we call Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. But surely it’s not something incurable as carpal tunnel exercises will eradicate this issue permanently from your body.

Before we move on to the best carpal tunnel syndrome exercises, let’s diagnose if you’re a victim of this syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Exercises – A Self-Diagnosis Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a health issue where the patient begins to feel weakness, tingling, or numbness in his/her hand. It is also known as median nerve compression as this syndrome is a consequence of the excessive pressure on your median nerve, which ends up in carpal tunnel (which is a passage in your wrist).

The median nerve is responsible for controlling the movement of your fingers and hand (except the pinky finger) and the feeling of your thumb; automatically, excessive pressure on this nerve causes your hand to be weak.

A carpal tunnel syndrome patient may face the following symptoms:

  • Trouble grabbing or holding things due to weakness in your hand
  • Burning sensation, numbness, or itching in your thumb, palm, or fingers
  • Tingling throughout your arm
  • Observing a shock-like sensation in your fingers or arms
  • Lack of coordination in your hand (due to shrinkage of the hand muscles)
  • Slow nerve impulses

Carpal tunnel relief exercises may help in reducing the pressure around your median nerve through simple movements and stretches, which will provide strength and coordination to your hand, wrist, and fingers braces.

What Could be the Reasons Behind Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be a consequence of several physical movements or activities, some of which are listed below:

  • Medical conditions like obesity, hypothyroidism, diabetes, arthritis, etc.
  • Engagement of your hand in too many physical activities or repeated movements (for instance, typing).
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetic i.e. inheriting a small carpel tunnel
  • A fractured or dislocated wrist
  • Others

To add a bit, women are three times more prone to this syndrome than men due to their smaller carpal tunnel. Still, carpal tunnel stretches may reduce this possibility to a great extent.

List of the Best Carpal Tunnel Exercises

If you’re searching for the best hand exercises for carpal tunnel, you’ve landed at the right place. These hand exercises to prevent carpal tunnel are very simple to perform yet extremely effective in easing your nerve from excessive pressure.

1. Basic Wrist Stretches

Beginning with an extremely simple carpal tunnel therapy exercise, basic wrist stretches involve laying your forearms flat on a table, letting your wrists hang in the air (palm facing up), and then moving your wrist and fingers up and down. The performer must hold his hands at the neutral position for 5 seconds and use slow movements. You can go for 5-6 sets of 1 minute each, 3-4 times a day.

2. Fist to Fan and Fist to Stop Stretching

These are the simplest hand exercises for carpal tunnel that you can perform even while working or even resting on a couch. Fist Fan stretches involve stretching your fingers as much as you can and holding for a few seconds, while Fist to Stop stretching is about stretching your fingers (top of the fingers facing the ceiling) to make a stop sign and holding for a few seconds.

You can go for 5-6 sets of 1 minute each, 3-4 times a day.

3. Thumb Touches

Thumb touches are basic carpal tunnel syndrome stretching that doesn’t demand much time to perform. All you need to do is to touch every finger of your hand to your thumb one by one. This touching aims at making an ‘O’ shape with your thumb and finger.

Begin with your index finger and end with your pinky. Once you are done with this, begin with your pinky and end with the index finger (count this whole process as 1 set). Go for 9-10 sets thrice a day.

4. Tendon Gliding

Tendon gliding is among the most effective exercises to get rid of carpal tunnel as it’s not a single exercise but a combination of some great exercises for CTS. Here are the exercises involved and their steps.

  • Bend your elbows with fingers pointing to the ceiling and relaxed thumb
  • Bend your fingers inwards with their tips touching the palm to make a fist
  • Try to make an L-shape with your fingers (thumb should be relaxed)
  • Now, make a straight-fingered fist with your thumb tucked in
  • Make a fist with your thumb out
  • Repeat the process ( go for 10 sets, thrice a day)

5. Wrist flexing and extension

Wrist flexing and extension, as the name suggests, revolves around flexing and extending your wrist. To perform this exercise, you need to hold your arm in the air with your palm facing downwards. Now, bend your wrist down to make your fingers point to the floor. Stretch as much as you can and hold this position for at least 30 seconds.

Similarly, make your fingers point upwards in the same position and hold for 30 seconds. Count this as one set and perform 8-10 sets of this exercise.

6. Wrist resistance

This is another interesting exercise to help carpal tunnel where one of your hands will act as a resistance to lift your carpal-affected hand. To perform this, lay your carpal-affected hand straight on a table (palm facing down) and put your other hand’s knuckles on this hand to make a plus-like structure.

Now, try your carpal-affected hand from near your wrist but create resistance with the other hand. You’ll begin to feel a pump in your forearm. Repeat the process 2-3 times a day.

7. Wrist curl

Wrist curl is a forearm exercise but is also a great exercise to help carpal tunnel. All you need is a lightweight dumbbell and a place to sit. Place your forearm on your lap or any flat surface. Hold the dumbbell and try making an L-shape with your wrist and forearm. Try this with your hand facing upwards and then downwards. You will also feel a pump in your forearms.

Yoga for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Yoga has shown incredible results in treating carpal tunnel as yogic postures enhance the blood flow and also help in releasing the excessive pressure on the median nerve. Thus, here are a few yogic postures that can help you eradicate carpal tunnel syndrome from your body.

  • Anjali Mudra
  • Uttanasana Wrist Pratikriyasana
  • Phalen’s Test
  • Hand Dance
  • Wrist Pump

Yoga for carpal tunnel is extremely effective and can be performed by yoga practitioners of any level.

Some Other Methods of Tackling the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (Other Than Carpal Tunnel Exercises)

Though carpal tunnel therapy exercises are extremely effective in getting rid of CTS, there are many other attributes to a proper carpal tunnel treatment. It is very important to note that the exercises to get rid of carpal tunnel are very important for treating this syndrome as your body heals better with proper exercise and nutrition.

Here is a list of other aspects of carpal tunnel syndrome treatment.

1. Small changes in lifestyle

Besides resorting to carpal tunnel stretches, some minor changes in your current lifestyle can bring out a significant impact on curing this syndrome. For instance, you should take a short break from your work if it involves too much movement of your hands or fingers. If you ever feel pain while working, try doing that work less often.

2. Medication and supplementation

Medication and supplementation are yet another effective way of preventing carpal tunnel syndrome. Going for supplements like ZMA can bring out a significant improvement as magnesium and zinc strengthen your nerves and nervous system. Copper is also an excellent mineral for nerve health.

A medical expert may also recommend you anti-inflammatory drugs if you ever face swelling in your wrist or hands due to CTS.

3.     Surgical treatment

A doctor may advise you of carpal tunnel release, which is a surgery for increasing the size of your carpal tunnel if your case is serious and neither carpal tunnel exercises nor medication is showing any improvements. This will ease the pressure on your median nerve and eradicate carpal tunnel syndrome.

4.     Immobilization

Your doctor may recommend you a carpal tunnel brace or splint that will immobilize your wrist to avoid excessive pressure on your median nerve. This immobilization will give you better sleep along with a visible recovery.

The Bottom Line

Carpal tunnel syndrome may be genetic or due to physical movements, but they aren’t incurable. Carpal tunnel exercises can provide lost-lasting relief from this syndrome, allowing you to use your hand seamlessly. Your body is your biggest asset and taking care of it is your responsibility. Try taking breaks while using your wrist and live healthily.

Scroll to Top