What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), is a condition of the median nerve in the wrist being compressed as entering the inflamed carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel is most common in heavy computer users, and seems to be most common at approximately age 50, although, can be acquired at any age. According to Wikipedia approximately 10% of the population will get CTS, however, risk can be reduced through proper exercise.
Carpal Tunnel Exercises:
Known very simply as the Warm-Up Exercises, these exercises and stretches will help warm up the muscles and nerves and prepare the tunnel for heavy work. Start simply by stretching your fingers as far apart as you can and holding your wrists in a as-close-to-90-degrees position as you can, without forcing them out of place: hold this position for about 10 seconds.
This will elongate the tendons and surrounding area without doing damage, allowing further movement, etc. while working. Once this has been held for 10 seconds, move on to a tight squeeze: squeeze your hands in to the tightest fist you can, and hold for 10 seconds; then, bend your wrists in a downward position, while retaining the squeeze. This has the same effect as the previous exercise, but in the opposite directions.
The rest of these exercises can be dangerous if you already show signs of CTS, and damage can occur. These are meant for preventative measure, not as a recovery method.
Any of the following CTS exercises which rely on weights should not be done with weights heavier than 2lbs. One pound dumbbells are ideal for these exercises.
Before any use of the wrists, one should perform these, or similar exercises for optimal effect. Begin by loosening up the hand: massage your hand, bend it in all expected directions (with your other hand), stretch as best you can. Bend back all your fingers, putting pressure in both directions.
To continue the warm up process, rotate your wrists in full circles. Do 10-15 of these in either direction, with both wrists. Ensure your arms are at an approximately 90 degree angle while doing these.
Do "wrist twists," with or without dumbbells. Rotate your wrists as far as they will go in either direction, slowly.
Perform a similar motion in a "locked" position, bending your arms toward the sky, perform "window wiper"-like motions with the dumbbell in your hand.
Holding your dumbbell in your hand in a tight fist like shape, bend your wrists toward the floor, then slowly back up 90 degrees. Hold for 10 seconds, and repeat 10-15 times in either wrist.
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