Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which reaches from the forearm to the hand, contracts or tightens in the wrist.
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH), symptoms begin gradually and include frequent pain and tingling or numbness and itching in the palm of your hand and in the fingers, especially with the thumb, index and middle finger. As symptoms worsen, people may feel tingling throughout the day. A loss in the strength of your grip may make it difficult to make a fist, grab small objects or perform other manual tasks. It is therefore extremely important to see your doctor to receive a diagnosis.
Stretching and strengthening exercises can be useful for people that are beginning to experience symptoms, as these help you develop skills to improve your health and wellbeing.
- With your palms together at chest level (just under your chin), slowly lower your hands towards your waist, keeping them close to your stomach and keeping your palms together until you feel a light stretch in your forearms. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 2 to 8 times.
- Extend your arm in front of you with your palm facing up. Bend your wrist backwards towards the floor. With your other hand, gently bend your wrist back further until you feel a light and moderate stretch in your forearm. Hold this position for at least 15 seconds. Repeat 2 to 8 times.
- Extend your arm in front of you with your palm facing down. Bend your wrist forward towards the floor. With your other hand gently bend your wrist further until you feel a light and moderate stretch in your forearm. Hold this position for at least 15 seconds. Repeat 2 to 8 times.
- Stand up and extend your arms in front of you. Lift your hands and fingers up in a straight position as if signaling someone to stop. Hold this position for 5 seconds. Repeat 20 times.