Exercise to combat carpal tunnel syndrome can keep tendons loose, promote blood flow, and strengthen muscles. Stop any exercise or home remedy, however, if it makes your symptoms worse.
The National Safety Council suggests performing the following four exercises twice a day or whenever you need a break.
Wrist Circles: With your palms down and your hands out, rotate both wrists five times in each direction.
Thumb Stretch: Hold out your right hand, and grasp your right thumb with your left hand. Pull the thumb out and back until you feel a gentle stretch. Hold for five to ten seconds, and release. Repeat three to five times on each thumb.
Five-Finger Stretch: Spread the fingers of both hands far apart and hold for five to ten seconds. Repeat three to five times.
Finger-Thumb Squeeze: Squeeze a small rubber ball tightly in one hand five to ten times. Afterward, stretch the fingers. Repeat with the other hand. (If you have high blood pressure, consult your doctor before regularly engaging in this exercise.)
Wrist Exercises With Weights
The following exercises, which call for small handheld weights, can strengthen the wrists. Give them a try, but remember to stop if they make your symptoms worse.
Palm-Up Wrist Curls: Rest your forearms on a table, with your palms facing upward and your hands held straight out over the edge of the table. With a light weight (one to two pounds) in each hand, flex your wrists upward ten times. Over the course of several weeks, gradually build up to 40 repetitions on each wrist. Increase the weight of the dumbbells each week by one pound to a maximum of five pounds. Don't exceed five pounds with this exercise, however, or you may traumatize the wrist.
Palm-Down Wrist Curls: Adopt the same position as in the previous exercise, but have your palms facing downward. Flex your wrists upward ten times. Gradually increase the number of repetitions over several weeks.
Arm Curls: Stand and hold the weights at your sides, palms facing forward. Slowly curl your arms up, keeping your wrists straight. Do ten curls with each arm; build up to 40 curls each over several weeks.
For many office workers and store clerks, carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that can make the work day full of pain and discomfort. But for many, making some simple lifestyle changes and following these home remedies may prevent further damage and promote healing.
For more information about carpal tunnel syndrome and how to combat it, try the following links:
- To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
- Bursitis can manifest symptoms that are very similar to the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome. Read Home Remedies for Bursitis to learn how to treat this ache yourself.
- To learn about cures for another potentially debilitating disease, read Home Remedies for Arthritis.
- To learn how to relieve muscle pain in general, try Home Remedies for Muscular Pain.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Timothy Gower is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in many publications, including Reader's Digest, Prevention, Men's Health, Better Homes and Gardens, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. The author of four books, Gower is also a contributing editor for Health magazine.
Alice Lesch Kelly is a health writer based in Boston. Her work has been published in magazines such as Shape, Fit Pregnancy, Woman's Day, Reader's Digest, Eating Well, and Health. She is the co-author of three books on women's health.
Linnea Lundgren has more than 12 years experience researching, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines. She is the author of four books, including Living Well With Allergies.
Michele Price Mann is a freelance writer who has written for such publications as Weight Watchers and Southern Living magazines. Formerly assistant health and fitness editor at Cooking Light magazine, her professional passion is learning and writing about health.
ABOUT THE CONSULTANTS:
Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer Guide, and has written for publications including the Boston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.
David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.