Due to the increase of text-based messaging and smart phone usage, there has been a rise in the amount of wrist injuries and carpal tunnel related health problems among Americans; Some studies even cite a 92% increase of carpal tunnel syndrome in the USA. Since none of us will be giving up our iphones anytime soon, it would be a great idea to brush up on some exercises to reduce hand and wrist injury associated with the use of electronic devices.
This article, found on qualityhealth.com, gives some tips to reduce injury and 5 exercises to relieve carpal tunnel symptoms.
5 Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
By Jeanne Faulkner
Reviewed by Quality Health’s Medical Advisory Board
The American Academy of Family Physicians offers these tips to prevent and relieve carpal tunnel syndrome:
- Prop up your arm with pillows when you lie down.
- Avoid overusing the affected hand.
- Find a new way to use your hand by using a different tool.
- Try to use the unaffected hand more often.
- Avoid holding your wrists in a downward bent position for long periods of time.
- Lose weight if you’re overweight.
- Get treatment for any disease that may cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
- If you do the same tasks over and over with your hands, try not to bend, extend or twist your hands for long periods of time.
- Don’t work with your arms too close or too far from your body.
- Don’t rest your wrists on hard surfaces for long periods of time.
- Switch hands during work tasks.
- Make sure the tools you use aren’t too big for your hands.
- Take regular breaks from repeated hand movements to give your hands and wrists time to rest.
- Don’t sit or stand in the same position all day.
- If you use a keyboard a lot, adjust the height of your chair so that your forearms are level with your keyboard and you don’t have to flex your wrists to type.
While some patients with carpal tunnel syndrome require surgery to relieve the pressure on the median nerve, many people find relief by doing exercises to reduce inflammation and strengthen their wrist and hand. Try these five simple exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome:
1. Start with one arm and hand out in front of you, with palms facing in as if you’re reaching for something. Bend wrist and keep hand straight. Use other hand to apply gentle pressure as you stretch the tendons in your wrist. Hold for 8-10 seconds.
2. Turn palms facing down. Then, flex hands at wrists they make a “stop” sign. Hold for 8 to 10 seconds. Straighten wrists and relax hands
3. Make a fist, with thumbs covered by fingers. Bend wrists down and hold for 8 to 10 seconds. Flex wrists up and hold for 8 to 10 seconds. You should feel the tendons in your wrist stretch gently.
4. Turn fists so thumbs face up and flex wrists down. Hold.
5. Straighten fingers then bend them at the knuckles closest to the palm. Keeping fingers bent, bend wrists inward and hold for 8 to 10 seconds.
Repeat each exercise 5 times and do them daily.