Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common entrapment neuropathy, with a prevalence in the general adult population ranging from 2.7 to 5.8 percent, according to American Family Physician. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve. In this blog post, I share my favorite exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome pdf.
Anatomically speaking, the carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway surrounded by bones and ligaments on the palm side of your hand. When the median nerve is compressed, symptoms can arise including numbness, tingling, weakness and pain in the hand and arm.
Overuse, repetitive motions, and poor ergonomics are all common causes for carpal tunnel syndrome. In a recent blog post, I shared helpful tips for ergonomics and proper posture to help reduce symptoms, pain and correct alignment. In this blog post, I’ll share five simple stretches to help alleviate pain and reduce the pressure put on the median nerve.
I personally navigated really bad carpal tunnel syndrome five years ago. I had numbness, tingling, pain, weakness, and a lack of range of motion in both hands, but my right side was worse. Surgery was recommended for me on both hands. I never got surgery and healed the CTS pain on it’s own. I healed carpal tunnel syndrome on both hands with these exercises below. Now I use them regularly to prevent future pain and help my body stay in alignment.
Exercise 1: Prayer Hands for carpal tunnel syndrome
The first exercise for carpal tunnel syndrome is quite simple. You can do this one throughout the workday to help alleviate or prevent symptoms from occurring. To practice this first exercise, you can start in a seated position or standing.
Begin by finding a long spine with your shoulders rolled down away from your ears. Bring your palms together in front of your chest with your fingers spread wide. Press the pads of your fingers and pads of your palms together. Breathe steadily here. Lower your hands as much as you can while maintaining connection at the base of the palm and keeping your fingers up.
To expand this exercise, you can slowly move your hands towards the left for a few breaths then back to center before repeating on the other side. You may notice an increased stretch on the opposite side when you do this.
This exercise helps to stretch and create more space in the hand, while opening the wrist and forearm. You can try this once a day or multiple times a day.
Exercise 2: interlaced fingers
The next exercise in this series is similar to the previous one, however, you may notice you favor one versus the other, or you may find value in both. Here we are looking to create space and stretch the fingers, hands, wrists and forearm.
Begin from prayer hands (previous exercise), then interlace your fingers and press your palms away from you. Spread the fingers as best you can to create a more even stretch throughout the hand and wrist. Stay for multiple breaths, breathing slowly and steadily.
Exercise 3: wrist rolls
Wrist rolls can be done anywhere, anytime. By incorporating this movement into your daily routine, you’re helping to increase circulation to the hand and wrist, in hopes to decrease tension and tightness, and promote healing.
This ones easy: simply start with fingers spread wide as you begin to roll the wrists in one direction. I recommend moving slowly and utilizing your breath. You may notice one area or portion of the movement more than others here: pay attention! The more aware we are of our body and the sensations in our body, the more we can understand what our body needs.
You can do this at the beginning or end of the day, throughout the day, or even as a microstretch break from the desk. At the end, take a few deep breaths with the hands and fingers relaxed and notice how you feel.
Exercise 4: door stretch for carpal tunnel syndrome
Alright, this one is one for the books! Most people don’t realize that tightness and tension in the neck, upper back, and shoulder area can cause tightness, tension and restriction throughout the hand and wrist as well. This itself can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms.
Find a wall or door jam and begin in a standing position. Bring your right palm onto the wall or the door jam. Extend your arm and spread your fingers. While keeping the hand in the same position, begin to slowly move your body in the opposite direction (towards the left in this case). Ensure your right shoulder stays down and back as you breathe steadily here.
Move in the opposite direction of your hand until you feel a stretch through the hand, forearm, upper arm or chest. Take several deep breaths here. If you are looking for a deeper stretch, gently bring your left ear towards your left shoulder or slowly move your head towards the left. Be sure to listen to cues in the body as you practice this stretch.
I recommend exploring this exercise for 5-10 breaths or until you no longer feel a stretch until you switch sides. This one can be done every day or even multiple times per day depending on your needs. For more stretches to help alleviate tight shoulders and neck, check out my recent blog post.
Exercise 5: eagle arms
Eagle arms can be practices sitting down or standing up. With a long spine and shoulders down and back, bring extended arms out in front. Cross your right arm over your left arm then bend your arms. There are two options here–you can slowly wrap your hands around to your opposite shoulder (shown below) or twist the arms, bringing palms or backs of the hands together.
Align your head over the spine and take a few deep breaths. For some people, this will be enough. If you want to explore this deeper, slowly start to lift your elbows slightly up as you inhale, and lower them as you exhale.
Repeat for a few deep breaths or until you find a spot that you want to stay and stretch more deeply into. For more variations on eagle arms, join Aligned Online membership. Aligned Online is a monthly membership program that teaches you stretches and tools to reduce or overcome pain and navigate your healing journey.
Exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome PDF
Although symptoms brought on by carpal tunnel syndrome can be quite alarming, there are many easy ways to stretch, release tension and promote blood flow, circulation and proper healing to this area. I recommend trying these exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome pdf regularly, if not daily, for best results. If you have any questions for me, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I’d love to see how I can support you through answering your questions or providing yoga therapy coaching for you.
In addition to stretching regularly, there are other tips I recommend my clients to help alleviate or prevent symptoms. One of the most important things is adjusting your posture and ergonomics to support proper alignment through the neck, shoulder, arm and hand. If you want to learn more about creating better posture, I created a post on this here.
If you’re looking for more support with exercises, yoga therapy classes, and trainings specifically on carpal tunnel syndrome, and so much more, I invite you to join Aligned Online membership where you’ll find a vault of over 160 yoga classes to practice on demand with new classes to your inbox every week. Click here to learn more and join Aligned if it feels right for you!
Ready to learn yoga poses for back pain, heal chronic pain & feel your best?
Aligned Online is a monthly membership program for people that want to lead a pain free life and ditch chronic pain aches, & injuries by improving posture, building strength & mobility & managing stress through guided yoga therapy classes.
Free Healthy Posture Masterclass
Register to join me for a free Healthy Posture Masterclass! I’ll teach you tools to help improve your posture and feel better throughout your daily life!
About the Author
My name is Caitlin, I’m a chronic pain survivor, Certified Yoga Therapist, Registered Dental Hygienist, and founder and CEO of Caitlin Parsons Yoga Therapy, a yoga therapy and wellness company. I recently made my dreams a reality by quitting my full-time job as a dental hygienist to pursue my passion and purpose helping others get back into alignment.
Now I use my personal and professional experiences with chronic pain, stress and anxiety, and injury recovery to help women step back into their own alignment – in their bodies, minds and throughout their lives. I help empower women to create balance in their bodies and minds so they can access greater levels of freedom in their lives inside my monthly membership program (Aligned), group coaching program for hygienists (The Aligned Hygienist), a Yoga + Coaching Program for Dental Teams, and private yoga therapy coaching.
I love to share my knowledge and expertise on mindfulness and therapeutic yoga for back pain through my blog and social media platforms as well as guest appearances on other inspiring and like-minded podcasts.
Client Success Stories
“I started working with Caitlin because I had recently gotten surgery from a brain tumor. I had very little mobility in my shoulder and arm. I was concerned that the lack of mobility, discomfort and reduced strength would increase chances for more pain and injury. Working with Caitlin was amazing, I would recommend her personal approach to anyone. She is dedicated to her work, has great knowledge and communication. Caitlin does a wonderful job guiding you back to your body and yourself.” – Ania
“I started working with Caitlin because I had chronic low back pain and regular flare-ups. I was told by multiple doctors that I would always be in pain and my posture would never improve unless I had surgery. The pain got so bad that I couldn’t play volleyball anymore, which created a negative spiral in my mood, energy and throughout my life. The results I got with Caitlin was amazing. I no longer have chronic pain or chronic acid reflux which I was on medication for. I’m much healthier and happier now than I ever have been!” – Russ M.
“I started working with Caitlin because I had neck pain, shoulder pain, neck congestion and ringing in my ears. I was working a lot, taking care of my family, and I was beginning to spiral downwards in a state of stress and pain. With all of that, life became a chore. I wanted to learn how to take care of myself so I could live a happy life and take care of my responsibilities from a place of joy, not dread. I wanted to get my neck to a place where it wasn’t painful and tightening every time I was stressed.
Now I no longer have neck pain or tightness, I’m stressed and ear ringing has greatly reduced. My body feels so much better as a whole. Caitlin helped me find peace. Caitlin has an innate sense of knowing how to tailor each session to fit how I’m feeling in my body and what I need. Caitlin helped me change the way I react to stress; now I’m more mindful of my reactions and the way I take care of my body. I’m stronger in my body and mind now which has positively affected my entire life.” – Donna M.
“I started working with Caitlin because I was completely disconnected from my body because of a genetic disease, having constant, chronic pain, extreme trouble sleeping and anxiety living in my own skin. I wanted to feel better- I wanted to have less pain and have a better quality of life–building strength and reconnecting with my body were a bonus. Working with Caitlin exceeded my expectations- I sleep so much better now and my pain has improved significantly. I’m less anxious and have practices to help when my symptoms flare. I’m more grounded and embodied, I have a daily yoga practice that continues to build on the foundation Caitlin helped me create.
Caitlin is incredible, she validated me and helped me work on my whole self. She customized everything to work specifically for me. I 100% recommend working with Caitlin. She believed that healing was possible and she held that vision for me and brought it to each session, and eventually I believed and embodied it too. She helped me find the power in every single baby step towards a more whole and healthy life, and I am completely transformed by it. This work isn’t the quick fix, it’s deep, holistic, soul-led healing.” – Hayley
“Working with Caitlin was the best thing I ever did for myself. I thought that I would always have pain because I’ve done so many things to try and help but they haven’t worked, until yoga therapy with Caitlin. Now I am living with less pain, my posture has improved, I am getting stronger, and my clothes are getting looser.” – Joan
“Before I came to Caitlin, I was taking Motrin and Tylenol on a daily basis like clockwork. I would skip going to the pool or out with my family after work due to the pain in my body. I was very depressed and isolating myself from activities that I really enjoy doing with my family and friends. I had pain on a daily basis in my lower back, shoulder blades, hips and left knee. Some days I had so much pain and inflammation in my body I felt like I couldn’t make it through the day.
Since starting FTF I am slowly starting to get control of my pain and inflammation through the online program one-on-one sessions with Caitlin. Inflammation is decreasing, I’m sitting up taller and I’m more aware of my posture both at work and in my daily routines outside of work. I am no longer having to take Motrin and Tylenol on a daily basis and I am able to walk longe distances without pain in my knees. “
“I never thought I would get out of back, knee, and postural pain. I also have a curvature in my back that I have been told most of my life cannot be changed. When I came to Caitlin, I wasn’t playing my favorite sport and I was miserable at work. Even doing simple things was really painful. Caitlin completely personalizes her services based on your needs. She takes considerable time to answer all of my questions and targets my sessions for exactly what I need that day and what my goals are. Caitlin always asks me what is going on and listens really well. She is a wealth of knowledge about yoga, human anatomy, and how humans should move. No two sessions are the same. We changed the way I move while doing simple things like sitting in a car or at my desk, putting dishes away and bending over to clean dog poop so that my back is protected from re-injury. I am healing my back partly to return to playing volleyball. I now understand how to be in my volleyball stances and movements so that I can avoid injury when I get back to playing. I am already standing up much straighter and feel more confident. I never thought I would feel this good in my body and I am so wow-ed by Caitlins mastery of her craft.” – Russel
“Caitlin really knows how to curate yoga program for sustainable strengthening. My shoulders and core used to be weaknesses but after a few sessions I see my posture has improved and the range of motion in my shoulders. She’s caring, fun, and a pleasure to work with. I’d recommend her to anyone interested in trying yoga therapy.”
“Caitlin is fantastic. I’ve gone to many of her classes, specifically those with a focus on healthy backs. I’ve worked with her as a therapist on issues I have with my neck and shoulders from work. She’s patient, attentive and offers focused one-on-one sessions. The exercises I’ve done really help me combat the negative effects of sitting at a desk all day, highly recommend working with this lovely and professional woman!!”
“Caitlin has helped me grow and learn a lot about myself. She helped me realize the strong power of breath when I was over stressed and unaware of my mental needs. Caitlin helped me focus my energy, both good and bad, on my breath. With every deep inhale and cleansing exhale, I felt my stress and anxiety lessen and lessen. Eight years later, my main mantra is to ‘just breathe.’ It has literally changed my life. Along with the power of breath, Caitlin has helped me keep a constant awareness of how I physically hold myself. Not only has my posture changed, but I have also become stronger and my confidence has increased. I recently began running and was having pain in my hip and side leg. Through working with Caitlin, my pain subsided. She put together an easy to follow yoga sequence that helped my muscles and ligaments heal. I fully trust in Caitlin as a yoga professional, and recommend her gentle way of teaching to anyone.”
“This program has been so amazing for my pain. In just one class, my neck and shoulder tension released more than it has in years. This program has been so instrumental in managing and controlling my stress. It’s so easy to be “on the hamster wheel”. I look forward to my yoga time and meditation and have noticed a huge difference in my pain level. My family has even noticed my calmer demeanor. I couldn’t believe how much my pain was linked to my stress.”