Best Carpal Tunnel Exercises at Home or at the Office

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Shake It Out

Although exercise alone won’t always relieve carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms, they can temporarily relieve pain and get your hands back to a workable state for a while.

A popular and effective carpal tunnel exercise is shaking out both hands. Stand up straight and hang arms at your side with wrists limp. Gently shake your wrists in this position for ten seconds. Do not shake them violently or shake them so much you begin to feel as though your bones and ligaments are falling apart. The idea is to relieve the pain that’s bottled up, not inflict more.

Wrist Stretches

Cramped muscles and ligaments only hurt your carpal tunnel. Stretching to get rid of the pain will help relieve the tension.

Extend your arms straight out in front of you. Flip your hands upwards so palms face away from you. Hold this for five counts, release and repeat a few more times as necessary.

There’s also a slight variation to this exercise that’s also effective in releasing tension. Repeat the motions above with one hand and use the other hand to bend the palm backward, toward your body, just a little bit. Hold this for five seconds and perform it on the other hand.

Use Your Fists

Various fist positions are also good carpal tunnel exercises.

Extend your arms in front of you again and hang your hands downwards. Put them into a fist and hold them for five to seven seconds. Repeat as necessary.

Similarly, stick your hands out and hold them in fists, but this time, leave them level with the floor and do not bend the wrists. Hold this for five to seven counts as well.

Neck and Shoulders

Carpal tunnel exercises are often as simple as shrugging your shoulders.

Stand erect with your neck comfortably relaxed. Shrug each shoulder simultaneously. Slide shoulders back, then back to normal position, forward, and back to normal position once again.

Finger Exercises

Your fingers sometimes turn numb and tingly when you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Thus, whenever you move the mouse on your computer, grip a steering wheel or throw a ball, you might not have as much control because it hurts to hold onto these items. Doing finger exercises can remedy this problem.

Spread your fingers apart on one hand. Grasp the thumb of the outstretched hand with the other hand and pull it back for five to seven seconds. Repeat at least ten times for each hand.

Toys at the Office

Keep a squishy ball or other small, soft object at your desk in your office to squeeze now and then whenever your carpal tunnel syndrome acts up. Some people like to use squishy gel animals whose eyes pop in and out when squeezed. This motion takes your fingers out of their cramped position and gets the blood flowing. This exercise often helps relieve numbness, at least temporarily.


University of Maryland Medical Center