Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (also known as CTS) is a condition commonly experienced by musicians and people who do a lot of typing on a day to day basis. However, anyone can suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, and certain people can be prone to the condition if they; are pregnant, are related to people who have CTS, have a wrist injury, have arthritis or diabetes or use their hands and wrists a lot in their job.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome occurs when the median nerve in the hands is compressed and causes a wide range of symptoms in sufferers including; tingling in the hands and fingers, numbness in the hand and fingers, pain in the hand and fingers, pins and needles, weakness of the hand and wrist and a constant ache in the affected area. Sufferers will often find the symptoms get worse throughout the day and peak at night.
Sometimes CTS symptoms will stop independently, or certain workplace changes will alleviate the problem. In other cases medicine is injected into the wrist or wrist splints are used in order to treat symptoms. In the most extreme cases surgery may be required to release the affected nerve.
If you believe that you have CTS or have been diagnosed with CTS, the first course of action you should take is adjusting the job or hobby that is causing the condition. In the workplace your employer should have a suitable plan to help you which includes; regular breaks from using your hands and wrists and wrist supports. You can also perform regular carpal tunnel exercises to help alleviate pain.
Exercise One Stand next to your desk or a table and place your arms straight down onto the table surface, palms flat with your fingers facing you. If you don't feel an immediate stretch try lowering your chest a little until you can feel the exercise working. You can do this exercise as many times as necessary throughout the day.
Exercise Two Stand up and put both of your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height, then put both hands into a 'stop' position for around 10 seconds. Then straighten out your wrists and let your fingers relax. Whilst in this position squeeze your fingers into a fist and hold for 10 seconds then bend your fists down and hold for 10 seconds. After this is complete, relax your wrists and fingers for a few seconds then repeat the process a few times.
Exercise Three Make a tight fist, hold for ten seconds then slowly extend your fingers until your hand is flat. Repeat several times.
Exercise Four Make a tight fist, hold for ten seconds and then slowly extend your fingers spreading them out, spreading them as far apart as possible, hold for ten seconds then relax. Repeat several times.
Exercise Five Standing up, raise your arm up so your hand is at shoulder height, palm facing forward (arm will be bent). Then push your four fingers together and stretch your thumb away from the fingers. Hold for 10 seconds then relax and let your arm hang by your side. Repeat several times.
Exercise Six Sitting down or standing up, curl the parts of your fingers (from your middle knuckles down) towards your palm. You should end up holding your hand in a position that looks a bit like a thumbs up but without the tips of the fingers tucked in. Hold for ten seconds then relax. Repeat several times.
Exercise Seven Put your entire hand into a fist, leaving out your thumb, and clench tightly for ten seconds. Relax and repeat several times.
Exercise Eight Place your arm out in front of you with your elbow facing down, palm facing up. Use your other hand to bend your fingers and wrist down towards the floor until you can feel a good stretch. Hold for 10 seconds then let your wrist and fingers relax. Repeat several times. These carpal tunnel exercises should not cause you any pain. If you are in pain from CTS or these exercises cause you pain, seek medical advice as soon as possible.