Does Your Wrist or Hand Hurt, Get Tingly, or Just Feel Weird?
There are many sources of wrist discomfort – sprains, strains, bruises, breaks, shifted bones, muscle tightness, swelling, peripheral neuropathy, neck problems, shoulder problems, etc.
One of the most common is something we have all heard of, and which is very popular! It is referred to by the name ‘carpal tunnel syndrome’. Whether the cause of your numbness, tingling, weakness or pain in your hand or wrist is TECHNICALLY carpal tunnel syndrome or not, the following exercises may be helpful.
As always, if you are under the care of a healthcare practitioner, or your pain is severe, or accompanied by significant weakness, or total numbness that doesn’t go away, or is accompanied by other symptoms, consult your practitioner prior to beginning.
Ready? Here we go!
1. Shake out your hands – this is particularly effective if you wake up in the night with your symptoms. Or maybe you have been holding a book (or using a mouse…….) for a while and your hand/s ‘go to sleep.’
Simply shake your hands like you would if you were shaking water off your fingers. Keep your fingers and hand loose while repeating for several seconds. This is a nice easy movement, not at all violent! If you are not sure of the correct movement, run your hands under the faucet and then shake off the water. That’s it!
2. Steepling – This version is from a neutral position and is a good place to start – there are other variations, which we will discuss next week in Part 2.
Hold your palms together in front of you with your fingers pointed forward, not toward the ceiling or floor. Touch the tips of your thumbs to each other, and the same with each finger (if you happen to be missing fingers or fingertips, don’t worry, just skip those). Be sure to straighten your wrists so that your whole palms and fingers are touching.
Now, gently, keeping your fingertips and thumb tips touching, spread your fingers and bring your palms away from each other. This should feel pretty good – do NOT go to the point of feeling electrical-like feelings in your hands – you are overstretching, so back off.
Repeat 4 or 5 times.
3. Thumb-finger Touch – You can do this one both hands at the same time, or each one separately: Touch your thumb and index finger together on the same hand, then thumb and middle finger, etc., alternately touching each finger and thumb together until you have touched each one. Now, go the other direction, starting with the little finger and going toward the index finger. Repeat 4 or 5 times with each hand.
4. Wrist Resistance – Rest one bent elbow on a table or counter, with your forearm at around 90 degrees from the table, in front of you – your hand should be sort of gently hanging down toward the table with gravity (ie, a limp wrist).
Now, use the index (pointer) finger and middle finger of your opposite hand to very gently bend your wrist forward (your elbow/arm stay stationary) until there is a tiny bit of resistance. Now, your ‘pushing fingers’ become immobile, and you try to lift up the hand of your bent wrist. This is only a LITTLE resistance – the object is to get a little resistance and hold it, NOT to overcome your other hand. And, of course, more is not better. Hold for around 6 seconds. Relax both hands and repeat 3 times on the same hand, each time ‘taking up the slack’ that you gained from the time before.
Switch hands and do the same thing with the other wrist.
5. Do the exercises from last week’s blog regarding the elbow – often carpal-tunnel-like feelings are really coming from your forearm – who knew?
After a week of practicing these, and feeling somewhat better, you will be ready to move on to some more ‘advanced’ stretches. Stay tuned for next week’s Part two.
Have a fabulous week!!!!
Alison Sue Adams
Instructor, Coach, and Author
Sue is a Master Life Coach specializing in working with groups to release past trauma and move them forward in life.
Sue has nearly 30 years of experience as a bodyworker working with mind-body connections, including visualization and dialogue along with hands-on bodywork, to release emotional trauma in the body and mind. She has worked with infants, children, adults and families in individual and group settings.
Sue is known locally as, “the therapist’s therapist.” Her first book is titled, “Muscle Energy Technique Made Easy for Healthcare Professionals”.