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  • Writer's pictureDr. Daniel

Get a Grip on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Updated: Mar 19, 2019

You've probably heard of it or maybe your job or favorite hobby puts strain on your hands and wrists and are experiencing it, you might be wondering if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Maybe you’ve got some symptoms, like tingling or numbness in your fingers, and you want to make sure it doesn’t get worse. The good news is that there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself and prevent your symptoms from getting worse.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a very common problem affecting hand function, caused by compression of the median nerve at the wrist. It's an extremely common issue that affects millions. It most often occurs when the median nerve in the wrist becomes inflamed after being aggravated by repetitive movements, such as typing on a computer keyboard, talking on the phone (holding phone to the ear), texting or playing the piano. It also affects professional artists (sculptors, printmakers, violinists) or any job requiring long-term repetitive motion of the wrist (jackhammer use, certain factory positions).

Common Symptoms

· Hand and wrist pain

· A burning sensation in the middle and index fingers

· Thumb and finger numbness

· An electric-like shock through the wrist and hand

These symptoms are often exaggerated when the wrist is bent forward. The numbness or pain may be worse at night and may actually keep patients awake. During the day, it may occur more often when participating in activities that bend the wrist such as talking on the phone or driving.

Sometimes it can resolve with something as simple as modifying your workplace. Sometimes it can actually be referred from the cervical spine (neck). And sometimes it won't go away on it's own. Before you ask, I'm not sure if this is going to help your specific case. There's a multitude of factors that go into symptoms and pain.

Clinically, I've found chiropractic care to be useful for patient's dealing with carpal tunnel syndrome.I recommend the following five basic moves you can start doing any time of day to lower your chances of having carpal tunnel syndrome. These stretches are very simple and can be done anywhere. You can easily do them at your desk, while watching TV, or whenever you have a minute or two to spare. I suggest problems like carpal tunnel are best addressed with stretches done throughout the day.

Here are five easy to do range of motion hand mobility exercises. Hold each position for 5–10 seconds. Do 10 repetitions of each exercise at a time. Repeat three times a day.

1. Wrist extension and flexion

  • Place your forearm on a table on a rolled-up towel for padding with your hand hanging off the edge of the table, palm down

  • Move the hand upward until you feel a gentle stretch

  • Return to the starting position

  • Repeat the same motions with the elbow bent at your side, palm facing up

2. Wrist supination/pronation

  • Stand or sit with your arm at your side with the elbow bent to 90 degrees, palm facing down

  • Rotate your forearm, so that your palm faces up and then down

3. Wrist ulnar/radial deviation

  • Support your forearm on a table on a rolled-up towel for padding or on your knee, thumb upward

  • Support your forearm on a table on a rolled-up towel for padding or on your knee, thumb upward

  • Move the wrist up and down through its full range of motion

4. Thumb flexion/extension

  • Begin with your thumb positioned outward

  • Move the thumb across the palm and back to the starting position

5. Hand/finger tendon glide

  • Start with the fingers extended straight out

  • Make a hook fist; return to a straight hand

  • Make a full fist; return to a straight hand

  • Make a straight fist; return to a straight hand

For more information on the causes and treatment of hand pain, and strengthening strategies for hands, contact us at (415) 343-7706 or email us at

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