Exercises and Stretches to Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that results from pressure on the median nerve as it passes from the forearm to the wrist. The first signs of carpal tunnel syndrome includes tingling, numbness, or weakness of the hands or fingers.

Genetics, repetitive motions, workplace-related stresses, wrist fractures or dislocation, changes in hormones, and genetics are thought to contribute to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. However, the exact cause isn’t known. 

Since the fingers, hands, and wrists are vital for writers, here are a few exercises and stretches you should try to keep your most valuable asset in good working order.

Keep Your Hands and Fingers Loose

Whether you write professionally or as a hobby and have a day job, make sure you aren’t gripping things in your hands too tightly, or hitting your fingers against anything.

This includes when you use a keyboard or when writing with a pen. 

If using a keyboard, especially one on a laptop or one that came with your desktop, consider swapping it out for a keyboard with mechanical switches, such as a keyboard with Cherry MX Red switches. 

Mechanical keyboards offer a greater range of motion for the keys, so instead of hitting keys that barely move, your fingers can sink into the keys and pull away before hitting the end of travel.

You can find keyboards with Cherry MX switches online. If you don’t like Cherry MX Red switches, there are many other options so you get the resistance and feel your want.

If you are writing with a pen, use a grip that lets your fingers rest more naturally on the pen without needing to apply as much force to release the ink.

Take Breaks and Stretch

Periodically step away from your work and gently stretch and bend the hands in different motions. You might consider trying wrist flexions, spider pushups, and prayer stretches.

Even shaking your hands may be effective at loosening the wrists and helping to keep pressure off the median nerve.

You can also add a supportive aid to your diet that focuses on your joints and muscles. Irwin Naturals and Designs for Health are two options you can try.

Use Good Posture

A lot of users are guilty of slouching with writing.

Put a sticky note on the side of your monitor reminding you to check your posture. Other than supporting your back and keeping your shoulders from drooping forward, keep your wrist and arm level. 

To do this, you may need a wrist rest. You can use one in almost any office supply store, and it will keep your wrist supported and level while typing at the keyboard.

If you need more help keeping your wrist level, head over to your pharmacy and look for a wrist brace. You can use a hard plastic brace or a fabric one. In either case, the brace will help to keep the wrist in a healthy position.

Keep Your Hands Warm

Do your best to keep your hands warm. 

Two of the best options are to buy a small desk heater that you position to blow across your hands, or use gloves – fingerless or with fingers.

If you let your hands get cold, the joints and muscles will tighten, potentially causing additional strain on your hands or fingers or exacerbating existing problems.

Try Other Interests

Giving your hands something else to do is one way of keeping your hands and fingers in good shape. Playing an instrument and crafting are two great ideas because they will work your hands and fingers differently.

Nightly Hand Massages Are a Must

You can easily massage your own hands and fingers while reading in bed at night. 

Simply apply a gentle, rolling pressure all over the fingers, hand, and arm. 

If you have someone who can do this for you, just ask. Even if you don’t have carpal tunnel syndrome, it can feel great to get a massage.

Conclusion

Don’t take your hands for granted. Make sure to treat them right so you can keep on writing for years to come.

But if you start to notice changes in the comfort in any part of your hands, make sure to speak with a doctor to see if there are more preventative measures you can take each day.