7 Carpal Tunnel Exercises for Pain Relief

hand stretch

People living with carpal tunnel know how painful it can be. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes symptoms of numbness, tingling, weakness and pain in the arm and hand. It occurs when pressure is placed on the median nerve, which runs from your shoulder area throughout your entire arm.

Sometimes people describe the pain like the feeling of electric shock. In addition to following the treatment plan your doctor has developed for you, carpal tunnel exercises may also help. But, finding the right exercises for pain relief isn’t easy. Check out these 7 exercises for pain relief that you can do at home or work.

7. Warm Up Stretches

It’s important to warm up your hands, arms and wrists before you start your exercises for carpal tunnel.

  • Start by gently rotating your wrists up, down and side to side. Repeat 4 times.
  • Stretch your fingers apart, relax them and then stretch them apart again. Repeat 4 times.
  • Gently stretch your thumb by pulling it lightly toward your body, holding it for a second and releasing it. Repeat 4 times.

Now that you’re warmed up, you’re ready to move onto the next few stretches.

6. Wrist Flexor Stretch

The wrist flexor stretch helps to stretch out your wrist and forearm. Remember to go slowly and to take your time with these exercises. To do the wrist flexor stretch, follow the steps below:

  • Extend your arm straight out in front of you with your palm facing up.
  • Bend your wrist so that your fingertips point slightly toward the floor.
  • Using your other hand, very gently bend your wrist a little farther until you feel a mild stretch in your wrist and forearm.
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat 2 to 4 times.

5. Wrist Extensor Stretch

Like the wrist flexor stretch, you will feel a stretch in your wrist and forearm. But, with the wrist extensor stretch, you will face the palm of your hand down. Here’s how to do the wrist extensor stretch:

  • Extend your arm straight out in front of you with your palm facing down.
  • Bend your wrist so your hand is pointing toward the floor.
  • Using your other hand, bend your wrist farther down until you feel a mild stretch in your wrist and forearm.
  • Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat 2 to 4 times.

4. Prayer Stretch

The prayer stretch is another great carpal tunnel exercise. It’s gentle yet effective. Follow these easy steps:

  • Begin with your palms together and your fingers pointing up.
  • Your palms need to be just below your chin.
  • Keeping your palms together, slowly lower your hands toward your waist. Make sure you keep your hands close to your stomach.
  • Now you will feel a mild to moderate stretch in your forearms.
  • Hold that position for 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat 2 to 4 times.

3. The Shake

This exercise is as straightforward as it sounds. All you have to do is gently shake your hands as if you’re trying to air dry them. Do this exercise throughout the day to keep your wrists, forearms and muscles from tightening or cramping up.

2. Spiders Doing Push Ups on a Mirror

This carpal tunnel exercise is especially good at helping relieve the nerve that becomes irritated. It’s simple to do from your desk at work or when you’re at home. Here’s how:

  • Start with your hands in the prayer position, but make sure your fingertips are pointing down.
  • Spread your fingers apart, then make a steeple shape by separating your palms.
  • Bring your thumbs down and back up again.

1. Grip Strengthening

With a soft stress relief ball or hand putty, anyone can do grip strengthening exercises. All you have to do is gently squeeze a stress relief ball, hold it for a few seconds, and release slowly. Repeat the grip strengthening exercise 5 to 10 times.

What Else Can You Do for Carpal Tunnel Pain Relief?

Give these exercises and stretches a try at work or at home. Remember, don’t do any stretch or exercise that is uncomfortable or hurts. Always talk with your doctor before trying exercises or stretches for carpal tunnel. While these stretches and exercises won’t cure carpal tunnel syndrome, they may help you relieve pain, gain better flexibility and feel better.


  1. I have found that sleeping with a wrist brace works well for relieving pain. I have done it for years, based on the recommendation of a fried who is also a physician. You can get them at a medical supple store, or at a Walmart. Give it a try. If you are a weightlifter, surgery will cause you a problem.


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