5 Best Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo

hey everybody its doctor Jo and the pups,
and today we’re gonna show you the top five stretches and exercises for carpal
tunnel syndrome. so let’s get started. The first stretches are just more of a warm-up. so just make a fist with both
hands. most the time it’s usually in both hands. if it’s not it’s still pretty good
to do both. and once you make a fist you can keep your elbows bent. if you want to
put them straight out you can, but this is more of a warm-up, so I usually keep
them bent. and just bend them down as far as you comfortably can and then up as
far as you comfortably can. so almost like you’re revving a motorcycle up, but
just to kind of a continuing to stretch back and forth. so this is a little bit
more just getting it as a warm-up instead of a full stretch, but you’ll
feel that stretch in there, so I would say maybe ten each way. but just going up
and down just kind of getting those wrist moving a little bit. especially if
you’ve got that carpal tunnel syndrome in there where that that numbness is
coming down into your hands and you feel it and your fingers and in your hands,
that’s a good way to kind of warm it up. then you’re going to turn your hands up
this way where your thumbs are on top, and then you’re going to go into radial
and ulnar deviation. so just up and down. so same thing, this is really just to
kind of get that wrist loosened up. it’s kind of a continuous motion going up and
down. you don’t have to go super fast. you don’t have to go super slow. just kind of
a continuous motion just to get everything nice and loosened up in there.
and again that you know that carpal tunnel is right here, so that median
nerve that comes down through there is the one that usually gets compressed and
giving that nerve pain. so if you’re having nerve pain up here and even up
into your neck, that’s not carpal tunnel syndrome, that’s something coming from
your neck or your shoulder. if it’s higher up sometimes it radiates a little
bit this way, but it’s not going to radiate all the way up into your
shoulder if it’s just carpal tunnel syndrome. so then the next ones are going
into a full stretch. so this is going to be for your wrist flexors and your wrist
extensors. so the first one, this time you’re going to put your arms
straight out. you can do kind of a modified version and then you can do it
a little bit more. so you’re going to kind of come up into a stop sign
position like this. this is the bigger stretch here. if you don’t want quite as
much of a stretch you can start off with your fist straight out, but if you want a
little bit more of a stretch under here for those wrist flexors then put your
hands up into that stop sign position. if you need even more of a stretch you can
put a little bit of over pressure with the other hand. and alternate back and
forth, or you can go up against a wall and put a stretch in there, but this
one’s a full stretch. so you want to hold that stretch for thirty Seconds, and you
want to do that three times. what I like to do is alternate back and forth
between your wrist flexors and your wrist extensors, so instead of doing all
three at one time, now you’re going to come down, but it’s gonna change. so if
your fingers are straight out you’re just gonna have a little bit of a
stretch on those extensors up there, but if you want more of a stretch curl them
in and you’ll really feel that stretch through there. and then if you still need
more of a stretch you can either push on each side, or take your hands and kind of
push them up against the wall and just get some more pressure in there.
so again thirty Seconds, three this way. so if you just alternate back and forth
there’d be a total of six times, three each way for that thirty seconds. so that
really gets it nice and loosened up. then the next one is going to be a prayer
stretch. that really stretches into that carpal tunnel area, so what I like to do
is put my palms together. to start off with with my elbows kind of close
together and then keeping your palms together, bring your elbows out and your
hands down. so it kind of looks like you’re going into a prayer. but you
really want to push those elbows out and you’re going to get a really really good
stretch in there. now this going all the way down. if you have carpal tunnel
syndrome this might be just a little bit too much. so bring it up a little bit if you
need to. thats stretching, you want it to be tension. you want to be that good hurt,
hurt so good feeling, but you don’t want to just be pain pain. you might get some
of that numbness tingling feeling in your fingers when you’re doing this.
you’re putting that compression on that nerve, so as long as if you let it up it
goes away that’s fine, but if you’re stretching and you feel it and you let
it up and it’s still getting that numbness, some tingling, you might be to doing a
little bit too much. but this is another one where you’re holding it for that 30
seconds and then you’re doing that three times. so really just getting that good
stretch. if you need to take a break in between and shake them out and again, if
it’s a little numb, but then it kind of goes away if you move it a little bit
that’s fine, but if it stays numb that’s when you probably really need to check
in with a doctor or physical therapist because it might be something else. it might
be coming from your neck, your shoulder, your elbow, or your wrist. so that’s why
it’s really important to find out exactly what’s causing it first. so the
next one is going to be for your pecs to stretch out those because even though
this is the carpal tunnel syndrome, that whole chain goes all the way down. so
sometimes those tight PEC muscles in there do cause that numbness and
tingling. so if you’re not quite 100% sure, doing a PEC stretch is really good
stretching out that chest area. and an easy one to do while you’re sitting down
is just take your hands and clasp them behind you. and so basically what you’re
gonna do is you’re gonna push down and out and then just push your chest
forward as you stretch. and you should really feel that stretch right through
there. so again if you feel a little bit of numbness and tingling while you’re
doing it, it’s okay as long as once you let go that numbness and tingling goes
away, but if it continues after you hold that stretch, don’t keep doing it because
that might be something else going on that you really need to get checked out.
so pushing down and out and then pushing your chest out and for it and again
holding that for 30 seconds doing that three times. so then another good one to
stretch is your anterior scalene muscles in the front and again if these are
tight a lot of times it will pull up in this area
and put pressure on the nerves going out this way. so sometimes it’s like a
thoracic outlet syndrome pushing on the brachial plexus something like that
where you’re having that numbness and tingling in your hands that you might
think it’s carpal tunnel syndrome, but it might not be. so another great stretch to
do is to stretch out those anterior scalene muscles. so what I like to do is just kind of
place my hand on my collarbone here, that just helps kind of hold it down to get a
little stretch, and turn your head the opposite way. so if I’m stretching this
side and then bring that ear up towards the ceiling. so I’m stretching right
through that area right there, and I get a nice good stretch. I feel it again it
should be super comfortable, not painful. holding that for 30 seconds. and then I
would actually do each side even if again you’re only really feeling it on
one side, I’d stretch out both sides just to get everything nice and loosen up. so
again 30 seconds, three times on each side. holding the collarbone or that
clavicle turning away and then looking up pointing that ear towards the ceiling.
so there you have it those were your top five stretches and exercises for carpal
tunnel syndrome. if you’d like to help support my channel, find out how by
clicking up here, and don’t forget to subscribe by clicking down here. And
remember, be safe have, fun and I hope you feel better soon.

100 Replies to “5 Best Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Stretches & Exercises – Ask Doctor Jo”

  1. Hi doc, I’ve been suffering with tingling pain in my hands for about 2 years, been checked. I was just wondering are these stretches daily or like 3 days a week or something, I started doing stretches daily ( not your routine) before an found that overall my symptoms seemed to increase not decrease so I was curious, thanks doc

  2. What if you dont have the money to see a doctor about it because you have more conditions that cost a whole lot more but you know that arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome run in the family.

  3. You're a life saver…I hate taking medication and dont even want to think about surgery…this has been so helpful just after the first time…thank you thank you thank you!!!

  4. Hello. Dr Jo.
    I have one question.
    Last week I was carrying heavy bags for about 20 minutes. And the next day I woke up with no sensation in my fingers. Just Like when you don’t have cirkulation.
    And every morning is the same thing.
    Sometimes i feel in my right hand just belove my fingers some nerve sensation. But i don’t feel any pain for know.
    It is possible that i Could get carpal sydrome Because of carrying heavy bags?! Thank you

  5. Well, I didn't knew it would "hurt" so mutch to bend my fingers 😛
    Great video and thx for the great tips! 😁

  6. Do you recommend doing these stretches while you still have pain? I went in today and was told not to do so until I feel nothing at all because it might make it worse. No idea about that one. Would love your advice!

  7. Thank you for all those wonderful and educative videos, a great help for many patients
    I hope you will make videos for people with chronical the gout in the future
    Greetings from Holland.

  8. So I've been doing all sorts of stretches and stuff and I have two questions:
    Whenever I do any excersise where you have to rotate the wrist, they crack a lot. Is that okay/normal?

    And is it possible to do Too many of these wrist videos? Could that worsen it? If so, how long is too much?

    Sorry for bambarding with questions, I'm just very new to all this and want to be good ASAP.

    Please and thank you

  9. WOW! My pain in my wrist only started a few days ago and after 1 set of exercises, I have relief already! I will be continuing the exercises daily and thanks so much for the help 🙂

  10. Can I intermingle some of the "3 for 30 seconds" among the others or should they be dedicated breaks? I'm just thinking of my knowledge that I probably won't do a 9-10 minute exercise everyday. Closer to a 5 minute one would be what I would actually adhere to.

  11. Thank you!!! These helped! I’ve been a little achey. I think too much copying and pasting is what did it for me. I was clicking and dragging. I will now be taking my time and typing these things manually, or instead of highlighting and dragging I will use the keyboard. Not copying and pasting should also keep me a bit sharper and awake! Haha ❤️

  12. Dr. Joe this is the first time I've seen your videos and I appreciate your help, but I heard you say carpal tunnel syndrome pain does not go all the way up your arm and into your shoulder, but what is happening to me. I have just purchased carpal RX from the company in Florida been using it daily for 12 days – the Instructions say I need to use it at least 30 days. Sure hope it's not a scam because I paid $280 for it. I did that because I did not want surgery and I'm close to 80 years old. Could not find any good reviews on the product except a few videos. I hope I will hear from somebody who is also using carpal RX. Thanks very much.

  13. Hey DoctorJo! Thank you so much for these exercised. Did them right now. And already feeling a little relief. Set a reminder to do them every 3 hours.

  14. I had carpal tunnel syndrome and assumed front squat and crossfit clean was the reason. Now i started thinking front squat does not cause this syndrome because it is stretching wrist. Am i correct?

  15. I am using wheel chair ..For past several months my hand joints had pain and was taking pain killers ..Four days back I saw this video …regularly doing ..Great relief ..Thank you so much

  16. I know this vid is a little old, so I don't know if you'll see the question, but anyways: Hello! I've been having the standard pain in my wrist / along my thumb area situation, but I'm having some other pain and I was wondering if it's all carpal tunnel as well?
    I've been having pain in my sort of elbow pit in my right arm, radiating through that area, and going all the way down my forearm to the hand. Is this a totally different thing, or will these stretches help that too?

    Also thank you for the vid! I'm going to try and put these stretches into my daily routine.

  17. I suffer again 3 years after carpal operation. Your wonderful video is a beacon of hope. I will apply it because it feels very good. May you be blessed for helping some souls to breath easier

  18. I am 32 and think I have it as I have pain in my middle fingers when I grab a bag or door handle or write/use a mouse. I am really really worried but ran into your video, just did all the exercises and felt the stretch. I will do this in the morning and night plus put hand in ice cold water every night. Hopefully this disappeared as I want to start weight lifting 🙁

  19. Thank you so much for this video! I just started working an office just with a one hour commute so my wrists have already been feeling painful after just a month. Terrified of getting carpal tunnel syndrome.

  20. Hi.
    I've been having problems with my hands/wrists/upper arms.
    I tried seeing a doctor but got turned away so I've been searching non-stop for answers to what's wrong with me.
    Someone suggested carpal tunnel.
    But basically, my wrists get stiff and hurt a bit, and so do my fingers. My fingers are very weak and I have problems straightening one finger fully and bending it fully. The rest of my fingers – when the pain dies down – don't have that problem.
    My upper arms seems to also be in pain. Like, it feels like a pulled a muscle or something.
    Wrist exercises do make them feel better but nothing seems to cure them permanently.
    It's hard for me to rest my hands because I do take care of children 5 times a week but I try my hardest to left them rest whenever I get the chance.
    Do you think that this could be carpal tunnel?

  21. I work in a call center and I’m on a computer 90% of my day 10 hours a day..4 days a week sometime wkds and I’ve been having excruciating hand & wrist pain..I have an appt to see a orthopedic doctor to verify if it is carpal tunnel or not but until then I have been watching many different YouTube videos to find exercises to help cope with this pain..ive been frustrated because the ones I’ve watched are not helping. I finally came across this video and finally relief!!!..these exercises really have helped me. Thank you 😊

  22. You're such a big help Dr.Jo. I've seen the wrist stretches be performed with the elbows bent, under what circumstances would that be required?

  23. Hey! Thank you so much for your video. I’m just wondering if it would be carpal tunnel syndrome if the back of my wrist hurts. It’s the nerve that’s directly opposite from the area that you point out as carpal tunnel.

  24. Hi Doctor Jo, thank you so much for the video. I have carpal tunnel syndromes and also arthritis fingers too. I wonder can I do both exercises at the same time (doing CTS exercises first then hand arthritis exercises) please let me know thank you :))))

  25. Thank you so much for this. I dunno whether I am having Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or not. But yesterday I was getting cramps in my middle finger & ring finger. But thankfully it didn't happen today. I dunno whether it's happening cause of cold or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. But I tried these stretches.. I am feeling great.

  26. Hi Dr I have a question .. CTS can make fingures twitch both hands …BTW i had several anxiety and panic attacks since last 4 years ..I m having number for medical issues like chronic vitamin deficiencies and I m quite havey drinker too….do u think twitches r due to this as well

  27. Since this week it occured to me I could search youtube for some exercises to ward off the strain i am feeling in my wrist. Watched quite a few. This is my favourite thus far. Thanks in bunches!!

  28. Omg ty DJo, this is by far my favorite exercise I found, and love the end stretches too, wow – great understanding of the issues I’ve been having from demo work and hand tool carpal tunnel…

  29. Ok when I do these exercises it’s radiates from my shoulders and neck so what problem do I have? because my doctor told me I had carpal tunnel though I believed it was something deeper being that carpal tunnel doesn’t travel to shoulders or neck

    – exercises helping me though

  30. Hi, I am 37 weeks pregnant and it is one week that I got cts. It is so painful, thanks for your video, I will try them daily and hope it gets better 😘

  31. Thanks Dr Joe. I have a touch of copper tunnel in my middle and index fingers on my right hand. I've had a nerve conduction test done on them almost a year ago. Those two fingers are still numb at the end and they tingle from time to time. They were also in a bit of pain when i woke up this morning. Guess it's time to get them looked at again..

  32. thank you the prayer exercise made me feel so much better. Carpal tunnel is one annoying thing to have. Glad i can get some relief through exercise

  33. I had my nerve test done. Dr. Ngo said I have carpal tunnel. No nerve damage in my neck. Both of my arms go to sleep if my elbows are bent as well as my hands. I get fitted for wrist and elbow braces today. I'm hoping your video helps. Thank you for making it.

  34. Hi Doc right now im 4 weeks post carpel tunnel surgery, before surgery i had no pain in my right hand it was my fingers particularly the thumb, pointer, middle, and half my ring finger were extremely numb i had an EMG test BINGO ive got real bad carpel tunnel as i said 4 weeks post surgery and im just as numb as i was before surgery i hear it may take this or that 3-4-5-6 months to go away whats your thoughts??????? Signed really bummed out !!!!!😟

  35. Dr. Jo, if I have thenar atrophy but no nerve damage (no carpal tunnel or other nerve impingement) can physical therapy help rebuild those muscles?

  36. I feel numbness in my both hands while sleeping and wake up. I am 32 yrs old.
    It starts from last 2 weeks. Can you please advice me a better treatment? Waiting for your reply

  37. Wow I was discouraged in the beginning because I didn't notice the stretches helping… Then I felt immediate relief with the neck stretch. Thank you!

  38. 7:02 looks like renaissance painting poses hahaha
    thankyou so much for the video! it helps so much to strecth before work

  39. Dr. Jo, I fell asleep on my arm, last Thursday, and compressed a nerve. My thumb is now completely numb, and my wrist has become limp. I went to a doctor, and he prescribed therapy for my ulnar nerve. Therapy starts Tuesday, but I don't think it's the ulnar nerve, because that controls the pinky. Technically he is a doctor, but is actually a resident doctor, at a city clinic, as that is all my insurance will cover. Could he have made a mistake, as the ulnar nerve primarily controls the pinky finger, and that part of my hand is fine? I was thinking it might be the radial nerve , but now think it is probably the median nerve, since the wrist is involved. I was only able to partially do about 3 reps of each nerve glide in this video, but they helped relieve a lot of my discomfort. What are you thoughts about this?

  40. I have carpell tunnel syndrome just got dioniognsed now it's in both hand I hand mild one hand severe I cannot do them exercise in the right hand chronic pain most importantly I cannot I cannot shut my hand or lift anything in that hand is that how it is that's how bad it is pls answer

  41. Thank you so much for this. Because of your advice, I'm confident that I will be able to continue my drumming career. Cheers!

  42. Dr. Jo, I had guyon canal release surgery for clawing fingers. My scar burns and hurts like crazy a month out from my surgery. Do you have any desensitizing techniques for my scar and exercises to help fully release my effected finger that still is slightly clawed. Thank you so much! Vicki

  43. Thank you so much Doctor Jo! I've been doing some wrist stretches with only minor improvements. The pec and neck stretches you showed have made a difference! I had no idea carpal tunnel could be improved with those stretches. Thank you thank you thank you!! I can continue my woodworking! yay!

  44. These exercises are brilliant I've spent a life on the tools and never realised how bound my wrist were till I did these exercises and after crunching and cracking for 5 minutes things started to loosen up and move smoothly. Thank you

  45. My wrist just feels weak, nothing major no numbness and tingling. But I'm an artist and want to avoid carpal tunnel. My hand feels different/a little more flexible already. Thank you! I did lift a heavy object but that was almost a year ago smh.

  46. In my wrist demyelinating carpal tunnel sundrome problem my hands ✋ are paining and problem in fingers also i have seen this viedo it's useful too me can i do this one only for my problem I'm waiting for you reply plz reply mama

  47. I have really bad pain on both shoulder blades but mostly the right shoulder blade and the burning sensation runs all the way to my right arm and fingers. My right finger keeps twitching but doesn't lock. I don't know what's wrong but it's really uncomfortable. I am having trouble just using the keyboard with my right and I get a lot of muscle spasms on both shoulder blades, shoulders but mostly right hand and index finger.A chiropractor once said I had upper crossed syndrome. I don't know if it came back due to excessive computer usage.

  48. First of all, THANK YOU for this video. Here is my experience:
    I was doing some heavy work around the house in the spring of 2018, that's where the carpal tunnel occurred, on both wrists. I went to the doctor, was diagnosed and the doctor told me that I could have surgery if I wanted. Due to the fact that I had read that the surgery had mixed results for different people, I was reluctant to have surgery and wanted to wait and monitor the progress.
    In the meanwhile, I did research on ways that I could help myself get rid of it and I had stumbled upon this video. I started stretching my wrists ( against each other , in the "praying" motion, as shown in this video, over the next months. I did this a number of times during the day and I also did variations: against the lower part of the steering wheel, or against the desk in the office. I made sure not to over-stretch my wrists, as I did not want other problems to arise. After a few weeks, I just did it without thinking about it.
    The first few weeks nothing seemed to happen, but then I noticed a gradual decrease in the numbness, it was working! Mind you, this took months. Fast forward to the spring of 2019, carpal tunnel was gone. I really recommend people try out the stretching before they do surgery. You have nothing to lose and much to gain.
    Thank you again DoctorJo!

  49. Buy a printable worksheet with the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Stretches & Exercises in this video here: https://www.askdoctorjo.com/purchase-carpal-tunnel-syndrome-worksheet

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