Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) occurs when the median nerve that controls sensation and movement in the thumb and first three fingers is either compressed or pinched, causing weakness, pain, numbness in the hand. It can develop very slowly, and often you hardly recognize the slight symptoms of tingling or a little discomfort which can be relived by simply shaking your hand. As it progresses, however, you will experience pain in your thrumb and two fingers.
Women are three times more likely than men to develop CTS. Diseases such as diabetes, obesity, arthritis, as well as repetitive stress and injury to the hand increase the risk of developing CTS, and while it's difficult to prevent, studies have shown that both rest and excercises that focus on strengthening posture, hands, wrists, forearms, shoulders and neck can help alleviate symptoms.
Here are some exercises that you can do to help ward off and alleviate CTS symptoms.
- Wrists (wrist circles): Hold the second and third fingers up and close the others. Draw five clockwise circles in the air with the two fingers. Draw five counter-clockwise circles. Repeat with the opposite hand.
- Fingers and Hands (thumbies): Bend the thumb against the palm under the pinkie finger. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat on the opposite hand. Do 10 repetitions.
- Forearms (prayer Stretch): Stretching the forearms reduces tension in the wrist. Place the hands in the prayer position. Palms flat against each other, raise the elbows, stretching the forearm muscles. Hold for 10 seconds. Shake the hands. Repeat whenever your hands and arms are tired.
- Neck and Shoulders: Stand with your arms to your sides. shrug the shoulders up, next squeeze the shoulders back(retracting the scapula), then stretch the shoulders down, then press them down. This exercise should take 7 seconds Repeat 5 times.
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