Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? Do these simple exercises to relieve pain!

by Hon Lee on September 10, 2018

Repetitive stress injuries (RSI) are the most common job-related injuries and are responsible for the highest number of days lost. One of the most well-known types of repetitive stress injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) accounts for over two million visits to physicians' offices and approximately 465,000 carpal tunnel release operations each year, making it the most frequent surgery of the hand and wrist.

Symptoms of repetitive stress injuries include tightness, stiffness, pain, tingling, numbness, coldness and loss of strength in the arm. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive stress injury that refers specifically to the inflammation of a specific ligament that puts pressure on the median nerve.

3 Easy Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Relief

Here are some easy exercises to help relieve pain and other symptoms

Posture Adjustment

If you are on a computer all day, or if you are engaged in any other repetitive daily activity, consider setting an alarm for every 20 minutes.

This will help remind you to change your posture, perform some stretches, or just take a break.

Keep your head up and your shoulders relaxed, but not slouched.

Maintaining good posture, whether sitting or standing, can help keep symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome at bay.

Prayer Stretch

Put the palms of your hand together, press lightly and hold the pose for 30 seconds.

Take a break for 10 seconds, then repeat up to four times.

In a variation of this pose, you can hold your hands out in front of you as though you were pushing them up against a wall.

Hold for 30 seconds, then shake your hands out. Repeat up to four times.

To stretch in the other direction, make your hands into fists and bend your wrist downwards.

This can be done for about 30 seconds, and then the wrists should be straightened and the fingers relaxed. Do this up to four times.

Another very simple technique is to make a fist, then open it up and fan out your fingers. Do this as many times as feels good.

Palm Up Stretch

Take one hand, with the palm side up, and extend it to your side.

If using your left hand, then extend it to your left side.

With your arm completely extended at the level of your shoulder, with your palm still facing upwards, point your fingertips downwards.

You should feel a good stretch throughout the entire length of your arm.

To increase this stretch, gently tilt your ear towards the opposite shoulder.

If your left hand is extended, then you will tilt your head to the right.

This last exercise can also help give your neck a good stretch.

Study Finds Acupuncture Effective in Treating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Acupuncture is as effective as the corticosteroid, prednisone, for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), according to a 2009 study published in The Clinical Journal of Pain.

The randomized, controlled study investigated the efficacy of acupuncture compared with steroid treatment in patients with mild-to-moderate carpal tunnel syndrome as measured by both nerve conduction studies and symptom assessment surveys.

Patients with mild to moderate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome were split into two groups. One group received eight sessions of acupuncture treatments over the course of eight weeks. The other group received daily doses of a drug called prednisolone, a steroid used to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.

Evaluations at the end of the second and fourth week revealed that both groups enjoyed a significant reduction in symptoms. However, the acupuncture group received an exceptional benefit that the steroid group did not. At the conclusion of the trial, the patients receiving acupuncture treatments showed a statistically significant drop in their nocturnal awakenings.

The researchers concluded that acupuncture is just as worthy and viable a treatment for those suffering from mild to moderate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome as taking the drug prednisolone. This is good news for patients who cannot tolerate oral steroids or prefer to handle their condition without the use of pharmaceutical drugs.

Source: Yang, C., Hsieh, C., Wang, N., Li, T., Hwang, K., Yu, S., & Chang, M. (2009). Acupuncture in Patients With Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The Clinical Journal of Pain, 25(4), 327-333. doi:10.1097/ajp.0b013e318190511c

Hon K. Lee is a Licensed Acupuncturist in Herndon, VA., and the founder of Sports Edge Acupuncture Clinic. He is also an author, teacher, martial arts instructor, qigong practitioner and a U.S. Marine combat veteran. Proceeds from the sale of his memoirs go to charities that benefit wounded warriors and their families.

Hon Lee – who has written posts on Acupuncture Herndon, VA.


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