What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
When the median nerve gets pinched or compressed in a narrow passageway called Carpal Tunnel in the wrist, while going from the forearm to hand, it causes tingling, numbness, and weakness in the hands. These symptoms may travel up to the forearm. The tingling sensation occurs usually in the thumb and index, middle, or ring fingers.
Symptoms often occur while holding a steering wheel, phone, or newspaper. It may wake you up from sleep. Carpal tunnel syndrome develops gradually and gets worse with time. Later on, holding things in hands and driving becomes difficult.
Following stretches help with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome-
- Tendon gliding stretches– It involves 4 positions.
- Finger bend/ hook position-Starting from the open hand position with the fingers held out straight and wrist in neutral, slowly curl your fingers down so that the tips of your fingers are touching the pads at the base of your fingers. Hold for 5 seconds and go to the starting position.
- Fist position– Make a fist with thumb on top of middle and ring fingers. Do not squeeze too tightly and hold for 5 seconds and relax.
- L-position– Slowly bend your fingers at the base keeping the knuckles straight to make an L position. Hold for 5 seconds and relax.
- Fingers to palm position– Bend your fingers such that the tips of your fingers should rest gently on your palm. Hold for 5 seconds and relax.
- Repeat the above sequence for 5-10 times.
- Wrist Range of motion– Starting position is – your elbow and forearm resting on a table and hand hanging with the palm facing down. Now gently bend your wrist forward (fingers pointing to the floor), backward(fingers pointing to the ceiling), and lastly, side to side from neutral wrist position as if doing a handshake. Hold each position for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
- Median Nerve glides -Make a fist with your thumb on top of your fingers. Now straighten your fingers while keeping your thumb close to the side of your hand. From that position, extend your wrist by bending your hand backward at the wrist. Now extend your thumb by moving it away from the index finger. Then move your hand towards your little finger by rotating your wrist so your hand is now pointing away from your body. Lastly, use your other hand to gently stretch the thumb by pulling it down. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 3-5times.
- Grip Strengthening– Hold a rubber ball in your hand and squeeze it. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Other factors to be considered-
- Rest your wrist and hands often. Avoid any pain triggering activity.
- Use a soft grip for writing, holding things, and using a keyboard.
- Gently stretch your hands and wrists, wiggle your fingers 3-4 times a day.
- Avoid repetitive tasks like typing, playing guitar for long periods.
- Avoid bending your wrist fully, either up or down while doing repetitive tasks. Try to keep them in a neutral position.
- Ergonomic changes-Change or redesign your desk or workstation setup, adjust your chair height, use a comfortable mouse pad and move your keyboard to allow a more neutral position of the wrist while working, and to avoid wrist strain.
- Use a wrist splint at night that will keep you from bending your wrist while you sleep and relieve pressure on the nerve.
- Keeping your hands warm can help with the pain.
STAY INFORMED! STAY HEALTHY!
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