You never realize how much you do with your wrist until it starts to hurt. At that point, every email you type, every text you send and every turn of your car wheel will give you grief and you’ll know it’s time for a change. Unfortunately, much of what we need to do each day for work or for personal matters requires a flick of the wrist, which means the pain might be hard to pare down without a conscious effort.
In order to avoid carpal tunnel surgery or prevent it from reoccurring after going under the knife, it’s imperative that everyone with sensitive wrists makes a point to strengthen them. It’s simple enough, too: The following three exercises can be done anywhere and at any time to help calm the aches that plague you. So get to stretching, strengthening and flexing your wrists in the right way so you can keep using them as-is, for years to come.
Shake It Out
It doesn’t get much simpler than this: You can diffuse the tension and pain of carpal tunnel by shaking out your wrists. Imagine you’re drying off wet hands, for example, and wiggle your wrists. Voila. That’s all you have to do, although it’s best to do it every hour for one to two minutes in order to prevent nerve cramps throughout the day.
Reach for Your Toes
Its important to incorporate stretches into your anti-carpal tunnel routine because, simply put, they’re effective. In fact, experts say that carpal tunnel syndrome can often be prevented by regularly stretching, especially before and during a repetitive activity. This stretch is a double-whammy, because it allows you to increase flexibility body-wide, not just in the wrists.
First, get in the proper stance in order to do a toe-touch stretch, with your feet hip-width apart. You can bend your knees as you start to fold your upper body, reaching all the way to the floor so your hands are firmly planted. Then, lift your feet and slide your hands underneath them with your palms facing upward and fingers toward your heels. Your toes should end up on top of your wrists, and you can use them to massage your wrist, if you think it feels soothing. Massage or not, hold the position for 20 calming breaths.
Stand up and Bend
The last stretch had you reaching for the floor, but this one is a bit simpler to perform. Stand with your feet hip-width apart for stability as you extend one arm out in front of you. Turn your hand so your palm is facing outward. Use your other hand to gently pull your fingers down so they face the floor. You can hold this stretch as-is, or take it one step further by gently pulling back on each finger for a few seconds as you take a deep breath. Repeat on your other hand when you’ve finished.
These aren’t the only stretches or exercises out there to strengthen or soothe your wrists, but one thing is for sure: It’s not hard to incorporate these simple moves into any daily routine. Your joints will thank you.