Three Exercises To Help Alleviate The Pain And Stiffness Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Michelle Hopkins

Carpal tunnel syndrome can get in the way of your enjoyment of everyday life and prevent you from partaking in activities you used to love. Luckily, there are some exercises you can do to gain relief from the pain and stiffness. Perform these exercises daily, and you should notice that your symptoms become less severe over time.

Fanning the Fingers

This exercise helps stretch out all of the muscles in the back of your hand and wrist, which reduces pressure on your nerves. It may be painful for the first few repetitions, but then your wrist should loosen up, making the exercise more comfortable.

Start with your hand in a fist. Then, slowly uncurl your wrist, stretching your fingers out and separating them so that you're "fanning them out." Hold your fingers in this fanned-out, extended position for about 5 seconds, and then make a fist again. Repeat 10 - 15 times until your wrist feels looser. Repeat with the other hand.

Claw Curls

Another exercise to stretch the muscles in the back of the hand and wrist, claw curls are easy to perform throughout the day whenever you think about it. If you're having a lot of pain when doing the finger fan exercise described above, try doing a few claw curls and then working your way into the fan exercises.

Start with your fingers extended and held next to one another -- as if you're making the "halt" symbol with your hand. Then, curl your fingers downward, just at the middle knuckles. (The set of knuckles closest to your palm should not bend.) Your fingers should resemble claws. Hold this folded position for about 5 to 10 seconds, and then straighten your fingers again. Repeat about 10 times per hand.

Finger Taps

This exercise not only stretches the hand and wrist but also helps strengthen it a bit, which may ease carpal tunnel by ensuring that when you do use your hands, the muscles are strong enough to perform the tasks you demand of them (and thus suffer less inflammation afterwards).

Hold your hand flat above a table with you palm facing the table. There should only be about 2 inches between your palm and the table. Then, tap the table using only your pointer finger. Keep the other fingers still. Next, tap the table with your middle finger, keeping your other fingers still. Then, do the same thing with your ring finger, and finally your pinkie. Repeat about 10 times with all fingers.

If these exercises don't bring you relief, then speak to a physical therapist. He or she can recommend more specialized exercises based on your unique needs.