Great Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is caused when the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the tight bony carpal tunnel at the wrist. The condition can result in pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand, and it can affect one’s ability to carry out everyday life and work tasks. Here are a few GREAT exercises for CTS that require no equipment and can be done anytime and anywhere:

Calm slim model standing in tree pose in bright room

PRAYER: Place your hands in a “prayer” position. Touch the palm-side finger pads together and slowly push the palms into one another while keeping the elbows up as much as possible as you feel a strong stretch in the hands, fingers, and palm-side of the forearms.

SHAKE: Shake your hands for 10-15 seconds as if you just washed them and you’re trying to air dry them off.

WRIST FLEXION STRETCH: Hold your arm out in front of you with the elbow straight, palm facing down. With the opposite hand, bend the wrist as far downward as possible so the fingers point to the ground. This will produce a strong stretch in the muscles located in the back or top of the forearm. Repeat five to ten ties holding each stretch for 15–20 seconds (as tolerated).

These exercises can be repeated multiple times a day, as often as once per hour. It is often very helpful to set a timer on your cell phone to remind you to take a stretch break. A “good pain” (stretch) is considered safe while sharp or radiating pain may be potentially harmful. However, if you experience sharp, lancinating, or radiating pain, then stop or modify the exercise.

Frequently, CTS involves more than just the wrist, and exercises that target the neck, shoulder, and elbow can often hasten recovery. This is especially true when there is “double crush syndrome” where the median nerve is entrapped in more than one location such as the neck, shoulder, elbow, or forearm (as well as the wrist).

Chiropractic management of CTS can include manipulation and mobilization of the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, shoulder, and neck. Muscle release techniques are often employed as well as the use of physical therapy modalities such as laser, electric stimulation, ultrasound, and others. The use of night splints to keep the wrist straight when sleeping is a “standard” used by most healthcare providers. Co-management with primary care may be appropriate if diabetes, inflammatory arthritis, or other complicating conditions are present

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Don’t Wait!

Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) occurs when the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the wrist. Researches estimate that the average person has a one-in-ten chance of developing the condition in their lifetime, and the risk is higher for individuals in certain professions (such as those using heavy, vibrating tools) and with medical conditions (like diabetes). The symptoms associated with CTS involve pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hands and fingers, typically sparing the pinky and outer half of the fourth digit.carpal tunnel

Given that some of us are more likely than others to develop CTS, what should we do if we start to encounter symptoms associated with the condition?

Is it important to seek treatment right away or is it safe to wait?

Generally speaking, the faster a patient seeks care, the quicker they will respond to conservative treatment options like those offered in a chiropractic clinic. Delaying treatment may mean a longer recovery or even having to consider more invasive options, like a surgical procedure. But why is that?

Like many cells in the body, the nerves are provided nutrients by way of blood vessels. When even a small amount of pressure is applied to the median nerve, it can damage those blood vessels. Unless the vessels are given a chance to heal, the nerve can suffer. If the nerve damage is severe enough, even surgery may not be an option, and a patient may have to learn to live with their pain or find other ways to mask their symptoms.

One big problem with CTS is that patients rarely wake up with severe wrist pain that prompts them to seek treatment. Often, the condition is subtle with pain, numbness, and tingling that comes and goes. Individuals with CTS may find it more of an annoyance than anything and tend to put off treatment until the symptoms cause too much of an impact on their quality of life to ignore and they’re forced to call the doctor.

The good news is that patients often respond well to conservative care. Chiropractors often diagnose CTS and can effectively manage it without the need for more invasive surgical intervention, but the prognosis for an effective treatment outcome declines with the greater the degree of nerve damage. Hence, patients are encouraged to seek treatment sooner rather than later when it comes to CTS. Care often includes manual therapies (manipulation/mobilization), education (rest, ice, brace, exercise), nutrition (anti-inflammatory in nature), and more.

Ouch – Why Do My Hands Tingle After Work?

Carpal Tunnel is the #1 Reason for Missing Work

in America. Here’s how Chiropractic is helping…

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “disorders associated with repeated trauma” account for about 60% of all occupational illnesses. Of all these disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome is the condition most frequently reported.

What is Carpal Tunnel?

Carpal tunnel receives its name from the 8 bones in the wrist, called carpals, that form almost a tunnel in the hands. The tunnel is filled with tendons which control your finger movement. It also provides a pathway for the nerves to reach sensory cells in the hand. That’s why after a few hours of clicking your computer mouse like a madman that you get a tingling sensation. In fact, tingling of the hands is a classic symptom of carpal tunnel! Repetitive flexing and extension of the wrist may cause a thickening of the protective sheaths which surround each of the tendons. The swollen tendon sheaths, or tenosynovitis, apply increased pressure on the median nerve and produce Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. (CTS)

Why are people seeking out Chiropractic to help their carpal tunnel?

I mean, aren’t we just “back docs”? Fortunately, not all wrist pain should be called CTS. It is important to determine, if in fact, the symptoms are being caused by the pressure on the nerves of the wrist, or if there is a different cause of the problem. It is VERY common for these types of symptoms to exist when there is a neck misalignment, history of auto injury, or other spinal conditions. The nerves of the neck control all the nerves of our arms and hands. If the nerves of the neck are being compressed, wrist and hand pain is a common symptom. You would be surprised how often a person’s carpal tunnel symptoms “vanish” after some adjustments.   What are the symptoms of carpal tunnel? Symptoms usually start gradually, with frequent burning, tingling, or itching numbness in the palm of the hand and the fingers, especially the thumb and the index and middle fingers. Some carpal tunnel sufferers say their fingers feel useless and swollen, even though little or no swelling is apparent. Fortunately, chiropractic has a number of answers for tingling hands and carpal tunnel like symptoms. If you’d like to talk to me about chiropractic and YOUR symptoms, please just ask or call… we’re here to help!

If you believe that you or someone you love could be a candidate for a chiropractic evaluation, please give us a call – or even if you have questions, don’t hesitate to call and ask.