Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: 3 Great Exercises!

Because carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is technically a tendonitis that happens to be near a nerve (the median nerve), one treatment option for CTS is to manage the tendonitis and by doing so, the pressure on the median nerve will resolve. Also, because the movement of the hand and wrist are controlled by opposite functioning muscles (that is, when we flex the wrist and fingers, the palm side tendons are doing the job and when we extend the wrist/fingers, the back of the forearm and hand tendons are doing the work), these opposite functioning actions need to be balanced. Moreover, if the muscles on one side of the forearm are tight and inflamed, very often so are the muscles on the opposite side.

Therefore, an exercise program for the forearm and hand should include BOTH sides, not just the flexor or palm side of the forearm/hand where the carpal tunnel is located.  Perform these exercises multiple times a day for 3-10 second hold times. You can modify #2 and #3 by NOT using the opposite hand to pull but rather, simply make the movement without the opposite hand assisting in the stretch. That way, you can perform BOTH at the same time IF your time is short (such as when performing these during a busy work day, for example).

1 Thumb Stretch A. Grab your thumb in a fist

B. Bend wrist down to feel the stretch in the thumb & wrist.

2 Carpal Stretch A. Place the palm flat on wall, fingers point down (elbow straight).

B. Reach across and pull the thumb back. Feel pull on palm side forearm.

3 Extensor Stretch A. Make a fist (elbow straight).

B. Reach under and pull back on the fist. Feel the pull on the top forearm.

Feel for the stretch where the arrows are pointing – it should be a “good” hurt/stretch!

Active Release Techniques is one of the most effective conservative treatment options for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Dr. Hyman has been hired by large corporations to treat and prevent CTS, saving literally hundreds of people from potential surgeries. If you have the symptoms of CTS, call us 303.300.0424. We can help.