Carpal tunnel syndrome is being the most frequently occurring condition, caused by compression of the median nerve in the flexor retinaculum. This condition is characterized by numbness, pain, and tingling in the hands or arms.
Studies have shown that physical exercises work best to provide relief from carpal tunnel syndrome. Exercises gradually improve the flexibility of the median nerve and muscles around your hand, wrist, and forearm.
As a physiotherapist, I would recommend some finest and effective exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome. You will observe visible relief after a few days of exercising as the body needs time to adapt to the new changes.
Benefits of exercises
Exercises improve the blood supply around the hand area, bringing adequate nutrients for the muscles and nerve.
Will heal your median nerve which has become ischemic because of prolonged compression.
Exercises will gradually alleviate the pressure off the nerve.
Creates space in the carpal tunnel
Increases flow of lubricating fluid to the tendons.
Flexibility/ stretching exercises will remove tightness of the medial nerve and muscles of the hand, wrist, and forearm.
All exercises should be done initially with the help of a physiotherapist, as he /she will determine how many exercises you should perform because excessive exercises or even one stressful exercise without doctor advice can worsen your condition instead of providing relief.
A physiotherapist will determine which exercise will be best for you and how many times you need to perform these exercises and which exercise can exacerbate your condition
Hence, frequency, intensity, and duration of exercise should be followed on physiotherapist advice.
Exercises should be performed slowly and safely.
Keep that in mind that never cross limits of pain, if you perform these exercises and pain starts, stop immediately, take a break, and after taking full rest and without pain start the exercise again.
Here, in this article, I have described the best and effective physical exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome.
This exercise is super easy, it's like you have just washed hands and now you are trying to dry them.
Do this exercise for one or two minutes every two hours. This exercise will improve your muscles and median nerve flexibility as your muscle and nerve will be stretched during this technique.
This is the best stretch for your hands.
First, make prayer position with your hands but in a downward direction
Spread your fingers apart, then steeple your fingers by separating palms and keep fingers together as shown in the finger.
This exercise stretches the median nerve, carpal tunnel structure, and palmar fascia. You can perform this exercise whenever you are free.
Wrist extension stretch
Straighten your arm
Bend your wrist as you are signaling someone to stop
Use your other hand and softly ‘’pull your hand toward your body until you feel some stretch’’ around your forearm.
Hold the stretch for 15 seconds.
Repeat this exercise five times
Wrist flexion stretch
The arm position is similar to wrist extension stretch except that your palm and arm will face downwards.
Straighten your arm and bend your palm downwards
Gently pull your hand with the opposite hand towards the body
Maintain this stretch for 15 seconds
Repeat this exercise five times
Median nerve gliding exercises
Try to make a fist with your thumb placed outside the fingers
Elongate your fingers in an upward direction with thumb aligned with your index finger
Extend your wrist a little while keeping your finger straight toward the ceiling
Keep your wrist and fingers straight while extending your thumb
Keep your wrist, thumb, finger extended, and keep your palm up.
Gently stretch your thumb with your other hand while keeping your fingers, thumb, and wrist extended.
Hold each position for 3 to 7 seconds.
Tendon gliding exercises
Make your hand straight with your palm facing forwards as you are signaling someone to stop.
Make a partial fist as shown in the figure.
Make a partial fist with thumb at the side of the index finger
Make a tabletop position by keeping your fingers straight and palm in a downward direction.
Make a complete fist
Hold each position for 3 seconds.
Thumb touching exercise
Touch your thumb with each finger
Repeat this exercise five times.
Note: Increase the repetitions, duration, and intensity of exercise according to the physiotherapist's recommendation. All these above mentioned exercises are useful but still, these exercises take time to work and you need to do these exercises every day with time, effort, and dedication.
The REGLO Glove
As some of you will be using braces and splints, Sure, these devices keep your wrist in a neutral state to avoid positions that can worsen your CTS situation. But these supporting devices cannot be used as an alternative for exercises, because these devices only provide support and protect your arm, wrist during activities, and rest.
Aside from exercises and these supporting devices, what if I told you that a better solution exists which have qualities of both the exercises and braces. This device named REGLO has captured my attention as it acts as a mini therapist,
Benefits of using REGLO
You can wear them during activities.
Does not put weight on your flexor retinaculum, where the median nerve passes through
This glove is soft, made with antibacterial polyester.
Never disturbs hand sensitivity.
Provides better grip and safety to your hand.
Preserve your hand function during the activity.
Also, promote better hand health.
One of the most significant advantages of the REGLO is that REGLO stretches your carpal flexor retinaculum in the same way as exercises do but it more safely and effectively. It provides the same stretch no matter what you are doing. You can wear this glove even during sleep. In my opinion, the REGLO glove is the best novel alternative solution to physical exercises as physical exercises take time and effort. But do not wear it all day as you know excess of everything can be bad!
REGLO the pocket therapist
REGLO acts like a pocket therapist as it can stay with you, whenever you want. This glove will provide direct stretch on the flexor retinaculum and it will leave your hand and finger free so that you can perform normal activities. Unlike other devices that completely covers your hand and only enable hand mobility to some extent.
REGLO the recovery Glove
REGLO acts like a recovery glove because along with stretching, this device increases the space inside the carpal tunnel, with excessive fluid drainage. With REGLO you don't need the therapist's supervision as it is safe and comfortable. No complaint has ever been made with this device so far!