Exercises for the Carpal Tunnel

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Louise Hay
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Introduction

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common joint disorders: affects the wrist and fingers and causes bothersome symptoms. In advanced cases, intense pain and loss of sensation can occur in the wrist and the first three fingers of the hand. To prevent it or avoid worsening if already present it is possible to carry out simple exercises.



What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome refers to compression and inflammation of the median nerve of the wrist at the carpal tunnel level. The median nerve starts from the armpit and runs centrally in the arm and forearm, reaching up to the fingers of the hand. At the height of the wrist it passes right through the carpal tunnel, a structure located between the inside of the wrist and the palm of the hand.

The underlying causes of this problem are not yet fully known. Experts speculate that it is the result of the combination of genetic factors and lifestyle. In particular, an important role seems to be attributed to repeated flexion-extension movements of the wrist and fingers, which increase the chances of inflammation. From this point of view, repetitive jobs, such as those performed by housewives, cooks and seamstresses, are at risk. Other triggers are local trauma, pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives, vibrations and low temperatures.



This ailment is very common in women, especially between the ages of 35 and 50, in diabetics and in people undergoing dialysis.

How it manifests itself

Carpal tunnel syndrome manifests itself with two characteristic symptoms: pins and needles and a sense of numbness, especially at night, on the first three fingers of the hand and on the wrist. At a later time they also take over stiffness and pain to the fingers and hand. In the more advanced stages they can appear loss of sensation to the fingers and strength of the hand, with difficulty in grasping small objects between thumb and forefinger.

Carpal tunnel, the useful exercises

There is no known and certain way to prevent carpal tunnel, but some exercises can reduce the risk of illness or, if it is already present, of a surgical intervention. there four basic moves which can be performed at any time of the day. These are simple exercises that do not require any equipment. They can be easily performed at your desk, while you wait in line or whenever you have a minute or two available.



Opening and closing of the palms with fingers touching

  • Begin by placing your hands together in a prayer position in front of your face or chest. The fingertips of the right hand should touch the fingertips of the left hand. 
  • Open and spread your fingers as far as possible. Separate your palms, but keeping your fingertips together. Maintaining contact between the fingertips, bring the two palms together and apart.
  • Continue for one to two minutes.  

 

This exercise stretch the palmar band, the carpal tunnel structures and the median nerve.

The shake

  • Shake your hands exactly as you do to air dry them after washing them.
  • Repeat this for a minute or two every hour to prevent the flexor muscles of the hands and the median nerve from tightening and contracting throughout the day.

 

We could even integrate this move a hand washing routine.


 

stretching

  • Place one arm straight in front of you, with the elbow straight, wrist extended, and fingers pointing towards the floor.
  • Spread your fingers slightly apart and use your other hand to apply gentle pressure to the downward facing hand, stretching your wrist and fingers as much as possible.
  • When you reach the point of maximum flexibility, hold this position for about 20 seconds.
  • Change hands and repeat.
  • Do this stretch two or three times on each side and try to repeat it every hour.

 


After doing this for a few weeks several times a day, you will notice a significant improvement in the flexibility of your wrist

Clenched fists

  • Sit on a chair.
  • Place your open hands on your thighs with palms facing up.
  • Slowly close your hands into fists. Don't squeeze too hard.
  • With the forearms touching the legs, lift the fists from the legs and return towards the body, bending the wrist.
  • Maintain the position for 10 seconds.
  • Lower your fists and slowly open your fingers.
  • Repeat 10 times.

The other useful moves

People who have carpal tunnel symptoms should contact to your doctor as soon as possible. In fact, prompt treatment can help relieve symptoms and avoid worsening. The recommended exercises should only be part of your treatment plan. Other possible treatments for carpal tunnel are: 

  • apply cold compresses,
  • take frequent breaks,
  • splinting the wrist at night for example using night tutors,
  • resort to drugs pain relievers and anti-inflammatories,
  • undergo techniques such as ultrasound, iontophoresis, laser,
  • try to change the way you work.

If these treatments do not improve your symptoms your doctor may recommend a surgery.

 

It is also useful to perform the exercises for the contracted shoulders, so as to relax the whole part, and the exercises for the "mouse ache". 

If you suffer from flat feet, try these exercises.

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