Today we’re going to be looking at some new solutions for carpal tunnel pain.
One of the common questions that we get is about carpal tunnel issues.
We’ve done previous blogs on this where we worked on showing you what’s called a median nerve tensioning exercise, or median nerve flossing. So hopefully you’ve watched that one. If that has not helped alleviate all of your issues, I’m going to show you a couple other things that you can work on.
Use this stuff carefully, if it increases pain stop doing it. You should always run all of this by your health care professional, just to make sure that they’re okay with it.
But we want to think about carpal tunnel as not just a problem here, which is where the carpal tunnel is, but as more of an overall problem of the median nerve. Meaning the median nerve comes from the neck, goes through the shoulder, arm, forearm, wrist, and all the way down into the hand. So it’s possible sometimes that you get tingling and pain and other issues or weakness not because of a problem here, but because of an attachment area somewhere else.
There are some very easy things that you can begin to work on. The first thing I’m going to recommend, if you actually start doing a little bit of light massage and traction on the skin web between the index finger and middle finger, and the middle finger and ring finger. This skin web may be very tender for you, if you start doing a little bit of massage in there you might find that it’s quite tender. Some of the distal or distant nerve endings, the median nerve, actually supply this area. And if you do a lot of work with your hands or you’ve had a lot of injuries it’s possible that you can have some very mild entrapments here that actually increase some of the issues that you’re feeling with the median nerve.
So start off with a little massage, and then what we’re going to do is we’re going to combine some work in these skin areas with what we should already know how to do, in terms of the median nerve glide. I’m going to have my hand in front of me, my palm’s facing my stomach. I’m going to grab in between my thumb, or sorry, in between my index finger, middle finger, with my thumb. Right, so I’ve got it pinched there.
Now, I’m going to actually extend my wrist, lock my elbow, stand up nice and tall, and then I’m going to pull my shoulder blade down a little bit. Now, this is a very, very mild version of that median nerve floss that we talk about, but because I’m tractioning on this area a lot of times it will be a little bit more specific.
Once I’ve done five or six reps here I’m now going to go to the skin web between middle finger and ring finger, and I’m going to repeat that same process. So I’m going to give a little traction, pulling the skin toward my fingertips, getting my wrist into extension, lock my elbow, and then pull my shoulder blade down.
Now, I can tilt my head away to make it a little bit more intense. I can do a lot of different things, but right now we’re just trying to create a mild little stretching sensation here. And if it’s really affecting the median nerve you’ll typically also feel it in the palm, maybe going all the way up to the wrist.
If that is too difficult for you, just to get everything set in place, you can obviously use a chair or some kind of other tool. For instance, if I was working in this area I can actually grab it, put my fingertips on the chair, and now all that I have to do is use a little bit of body motion to get into that extended position. You have, again, a lot of different options just in order to create a little bit of this little median nerve stretch. All right? So, index finger, middle finger, middle finger, ring finger.
Now, the other spot that we want to do the same tool, or apply the same tool to, is the actual carpal tunnel itself. So if you think about these two bumps on your hand, basically the carpal tunnel is in between those, just a little bit more toward the wrist. If you put your thumb there lightly and just go into a little flexion and extension of the wrist, we’re going to be pulling the skin typically up toward the elbow as we do a little bit of this same median nerve glide.
If I’m standing, I’m going to put my two fingers here, I’m going to spread my fingers, pull my wrist up like this, lock my elbow, and then just simply depress my scapula. Now, I’m using quite a bit of force with these fingers to pull that skin up toward my elbow. And again, you just have to test this. You can move your fingers around a little bit to different spots, to see if there’s one area that gives you more relief. If so, that’s the one that you want to focus on.
Again, if that’s too difficult to manage all this, you can just simply turn toward a chair, put your fingers where you want them, get that stretch of the skin and then you’re just dropping your hand forward and, again, getting a little bit of a stretch on that median nerve as you’re working through the wrist.
Now, if your issues are up in the elbow and the shoulder these exercises may not have an effect, but one of the things that we often find, particularly for people who develop this after spending lots and lots of hours on a keyboard at work, is that this work in the finger web and around the wrist can be very, very effective.
So give this a try, I hope it works very well for you.
If you have any questions let us know, and otherwise good luck.