Today, we’re going to look at a new set of exercises for the relief of carpal tunnel issues.
One of our most popular blogs thus far has dealt with carpal tunnel issues, carpal tunnel syndrome, carpal tunnel pain. In that blog, we talked about what we call neuromechanics drills or nerve flossing. It’s a pretty simple idea. If you haven’t seen that blog, you need to go back and watch that video first, otherwise, these are not going to make sense.
The reason I want to follow up with this, however, is we get a lot of people contacting us still about that particular blog because the exercises have been so useful. What I want to do is show you some more advanced versions of these neuromechanics drills for carpal tunnel utilizing bands. I’m going to go through the exercises first, then we’ll talk about why.
To remind you of a couple of things about neuromechanics drills, these drills are potentially problematic if you overdo them or over stress them.
The basic exercise for the median nerve, which causes the issue in most carpal tunnel syndromes, the basic exercise works like this. You stand nice and tall, you lengthen up to the top of your head, the arm that you’re going to work on, you spread your fingers, you pull your risk back, you do what’s called risk extension, you lock your elbow, rotate your arm out to the side from the shoulder, you then lift it a little bit, you pull your shoulder blade down, you tilt your head away.
Now, as you do that, progressively what you’re doing is you’re stretching the nerve a little bit more, a little bit more, and a little bit more and at the end, you’ll start to get a weird little tingling sensation, almost like your hands going asleep.
Now, the most essential thing is this, you need to keep the intensity, so that weird tingling nervy sensation at a level 3 out of 10. If you go above that, the likelihood of you hurting yourself goes up and we don’t want that to happen. You’re already having an issue here, so I don’t want you to make it worse. As we go through any of these exercises, make sure that you’re aiming for an intensity of 3 out of 10.
Now, what I want to do though is I want to add a band to this. If you’ve seen our strength gym product, we talked a lot about this idea that the greater the load, the greater the learning, which means whenever we add loads to mobility or other things, it strengthens some of the neuro responses to the exercise. You can use bands to actually improve your results with some of these neuromechanics drills, but you have to do it carefully.
The first one we’re going to look at looks like this. You’re going to take the band, put your palms in it with your palms facing out, and then put the band around your back. Now, I’m going to work on my right side. What I’m going to do is I’m going to leave my left hand close to my chest, and wrap the band around a little bit. Now, I’m going to push the band out like this, so it’s almost like a one arm push up. Notice that I’m trying to keep my fingers spread. My wrist is bent backward just like it is in the drill. My elbow is locked. Now, what I’m going to do here is I’m going to, as I hold that resistance, I’m going to just focus on pulling my shoulder blade down, tilting my head away.
All right. I’m going to do that several times.
I’m going to bring the shoulder blade up, pull the shoulder blade down, tilt my head away. Up, down, tilt my head away. Now, to intensify it, I’m going to do 3 more reps, but I’m going to turn my arm out like this, my fingers are pointed to the side. Once again, I’m going to shoulder blade up, shoulder blade down, tilt away, up, down, tilt away. As I’m doing that, the band is actually helping me hold the position, so I’m getting a different level of load in the stretch. Plus, I’m starting to work on some of the strength mechanics that are required to keep my shoulder blade in the correct position.
Once again, we start off simply fingers facing up, elbow locked, shoulder in a neutral position, I just lift up against the resistance of the band, pull down against the resistance, tilt my head away. That’s version 1, do that 3 or 4 times, then fingers out to the side, repeat that, shoulder blade up, shoulder blade down, head tilt away.
All right. Those are going to be the basics.
Now, once you’ve started to master that, you can start to play around with some other ideas with this particular setup, where I may come here, I get everything set, tilt my head away, and then I actually push my hand forward, and pull it back. If my fingers are out to the side, lift the shoulder blade up, pull the shoulder blade down, tilt the head away, I actually get that nervy feeling. Now, push the band forward and pull it back. Usually, when you push the band forward, it’s going to increase the stretch around the median nerve, it’ll intensify the feeling that you’re getting in your hand.
The great part in all of this is you’re starting to … You’re getting some support from the band helping you hold the position, plus you’re starting to build some very specific strength to improve the effectiveness of the nerve glide. That’s version 1, using bands to improve the median nerve glide for carpal tunnel issues.
If you have any questions about that, let us know.