Like any other exercise, it's advised you start slowly by doing some simple stretches to loosen up your fingers, wrists and arms. Begin by rotating your wrist from side to side, then up and down. Repeat at least four times. Follow this by stretching your fingers as far apart as is comfortable, then relaxing and spreading them again. Repeat this four times as well. Finally, grab your thumb and slowly, gently pull it back, holding it there for a few seconds, and release it. Stretch the thumb on your hand and repeat four times.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which is located between the forearm and palm, is impinged or otherwise squeezed. This compression of the median nerve often results in pain and weakness in the hand and wrist as well as burning, itching and numbness in the palm and fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome affects a variety of people across a broad spectrum of jobs and lifestyles. Fortunately, whether you're a secretary, cashier, doctor or construction worker, there are exercises for your fingers, hands and wrists that can help prevent this painful condition.
Hand and Finger Exercises
The following exercises were developed by Dr. Housang Seradge at the University of Oklahoma Orthopaedic and Reconstructive Research Foundation. Studies conducted at the university showed that two out of three patients who exhibited mild-to-moderate carpal tunnel syndrome were able to forgo surgery as result of using these exercises.
Extend your arms outward so that they are parallel to the floor with your palms facing forward as if you were motioning for someone to stop. Hold this position for five seconds while making an effort to stretch your fingers as well as your wrists.
With your arms still in the same position, allow your palms to face the floor. Your wrists should be totally relaxed at this point while your fingers dangle loosely.
You should then slowly curl your fingers in towards your palm, forming tight fists with both hands. Bend your wrists so that your fists are facing downward. Once again, maintain this position for five seconds. Be sure you are applying enough effort so that you feel the stretching sensation in your wrists.
After the five seconds, straighten your wrists, relax them, and allow your fingers to dangle as you did previously. Hold for five seconds and drop your arms to your side, letting them hang freely as you shake your hands and wriggle your fingers. Repeat these exercises throughout the day, during your breaks or whenever you feel the onset of discomfort. Do not push through the pain, as this will only further the damage.
While stretching and exercising your fingers, hands and wrists are important, it is important to remember that carpal tunnel syndrome is best avoided by incorporating a series of changes in the way you do your job. Always maintain good posture and wrist position, take frequent breaks, keep your hands and wrists warm, ask your employer about creating an ergonomically-friendly work environment and, if possible, rotate jobs with co-workers.
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