Carpal Tunnel Pain? 5 Exercises to Help Get Relief

Has Carpal Tunnel pain been interfering with your computer work, your gaming, or even your gardening? If it’s been getting in the way of things you want to be doing, you might think that only surgery will resolve the issue. Consider adding in these exercises to your daily routine to see if you notice an improvement in your carpal tunnel pain!  

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is often aggravated by repetitive motions, such as typing and using a mouse, prolonged use of power tools, playing the piano, or other movements that can overextend your wrists. Working on your hand dexterity, range of motion, strength, and flexion and extension can all help to reduce pain in the hands and wrists and even help prevent discomfort from developing into something more serious.  

The basics: What is Carpal Tunnel pain and who is at risk for developing it 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is what happens when the median nerve, located on the palm side of your hand, gets compressed as it passes into your hand. This nerve, which runs from your forearm to your hand, allows your thumb, index finger, middle finger, and part of your ring finger to feel sensation. When the insides of your wrists experience swelling and inflammation, it compresses the nerve 

You might feel numbness or tingling in the fingers, as well as weakness and loss of grip strength, all of which can make it difficult to do daily task or perform your favorite sports and activities.  

Women are three times more likely than men to experience carpal tunnel pain, as are people with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or high blood pressure.  

But even just performing the same motions over and over with your wrists can cause inflammation and compression on the median nerve.  

Exercises to help with carpal tunnel pain  

  1. Wrist extension: Hold one arm straight out in front of you at shoulder height. Make a stop sign with your hand and use your other hand to gently pull the palm back toward your body. You should feel a stretch in your inner forearm. Hold for 10 seconds, relax, and repeat 5 times on each side. You can also do this as a warmup before exercises that involve your grip.  
  2. Wrist flexion: Hold one arm straight out in front of you at shoulder height. With the palm facing away from your body and fingers pointing down, use your other hand to gently pull the palm back toward your body. You should feel this in your outer forearm. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds, rest, and repeat five times per side.  
  3. Constant Force improve your climbing gripFull finger extension: Slowly contract your hand to make a fist, and then equally slowly, extend your fingers out as wide as possible. Hold the extension for 3-5 seconds and return with control to the starting position. You can also do this with the Constant Force X-Tend to get the benefits of constant levels of resistance throughout the movement. This will help you work on building up your flexor and extensor muscles in your forearm.  
  4. Shake it out: Easy as it sounds! Shake your hands like you’re shaking off water. Aim to do this for one or two minutes each hour to keep your median nerve from feeling tight. This is also great to do when you first wake up in the morning.  
  5. Thumb touches: One at a time, connect the tip of each finger to your thumb to make an O-shape. Repeat several times. You can also work on this motion with the VariGrip Uno to improve range of motion in your thumb and fingers while strengthening your flexor and extensor muscles in your forearms. Building strength in this way will go a long way to helping ease Carpal Tunnel pain!