Carpal tunnel problems are caused by repetitive motion, and strain. Typing, or mousing for long periods can cause strains to the tendons and nerves that travel along a narrow pathway (tunnel) in the wrist. As they swell within the tunnel, they soon run out of room and start compressing. This leads to pain, tingling, numbness, and sometimes the inability to perform hand manipulations. The typical medical fix for this problem is to cut the bands traveling across the pathway. This allows the nerves some additional space, and relieves the compression. However, this does not take care of the root cause of the problem. Indeed, some that have had this type of medical procedure still experience tingling and numbness. The root problem is the event and/or task that is making the nerves swell, not the amount of room the nerves have around them.
Eventhough it may not seem like it, your wrist has muscles running along the front and backside of it. When you type, or use the mouse, you are holding your hand in a very specific way, and are over using a particular set of muscles. The body was designed so that all movement is accomplished by opposing muscle groups. As one group is contracting (pull), the other is extending (push). However, if you perform movements that concentrate on one group, you put undue stress and strain on the tendons and nerves.
Exercises to Help with Carpal Tunnel Pain
• Using a fairly strong rubber band, wrap it around your fingers in such a way as to force your fingers to be drawn to each other. The exercise is to try to straighten your fingers by opening your hand. Do not over extend and open your hand completely as this will cause the rubber band to come off. Open your hand enough so that you feel, and are pulling against the resistance. This is a good exercise to perform while watching TV, or waiting in the car to pick someone up.
• This exercise will help in strengthening not only the wrist muscles, but the muscles in the forearm as well. You will need a section from an old broom handle, or a purchased wooden dowel. It needs to be long enough so that you can hold it in your hands with your arms set slightly wider than shoulder width. Tie a piece of light rope, or heavy twine to the middle of the handle. It should be long enough so it reaches to about 6 inches from the ground, when you have your arms extended outward, and away from your body. Tie a weight on the other end of the rope, but not any heavier than 1.5 lbs. The weight can be anything that can be tied to the end of the rope. Even a plastic bag of rocks. The exercise is to wind the rope onto the handle, and then to unwind it. You should stand with your arms outstretched, hands holding the handle with your palms facing down. Now, using only your hands, perform the winding/unwinding of the rope. It should be performed slowly and deliberately. After performing this exercise several times, you will see why you do not need heavy weight.
Herbal Remedies to Help with Carpal Tunnel Pain
• Stinging Nettle has pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, in addition to a host of nutrients.
• Lecithin is a rich source of Choline and Inositol needed for healthy nerve function.
• St. Johnswort helps stimulate circulation and helps restore local nerve impulses.
• Ginkgo Biloba aids in restoring blood circulation, and aids in nerve function.
• Rubbing liniments, containing oil of wintergreen aids in pain relief and helps stimulate circulation.
Performing these simple exercises on a regular basis can strengthen the muscles in the hand, wrist, and forearms, and can counteract the effects of repetitive motion, and relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel.