• Eric Lau

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Early Signs, Treatments, and Exercises  

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most common conditions affecting the wrist and hand. In most patients, carpal tunnel syndrome gets worse over time, so early detection and treatment are very important. If caught early on, symptoms can be alleviated with treatment, exercise, and avoiding certain provocative activities. However, if left untreated, carpal tunnel syndrome is quite serious and could lead to overall weakness in the hand, lack of coordination, and even permanent nerve damage. Let’s take a look at what exactly is carpal tunnel syndrome, some early signs and symptoms, as well as some exercises that can help.


Man holding sore right wrist

What is it?


Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common condition of the hand that causes pain, tingling, and even numbness in the hand and arm. The onset occurs when the median nerve is squeezed and compressed as it travels through the forearm and wrist. Tension in the forearm muscle can compress the median nerve. The carpal tunnel at the wrist is a narrow passageway made of wrist bones and ligaments which can also compress the median nerve.

What are the signs and symptoms?


Even through carpal tunnel syndrome requires a medical diagnosis, here are some early warning signs:

  • Pain in the arm, wrist, and hand

  • Pins and needles, burning, or numbness and tingling in the thumb, index finger, and middle finger

  • Hand or wrist weakness and clumsiness

How is it treated?


Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by the compression of the median nerve as it comes down the front of your forearm or in the narrow carpal tunnel around the wrist. Massage treatments along the muscles in the front of the forearm will release the tension in those muscles thereby releasing its compression on the median nerve. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage way of bones and ligaments where the median nerve passes through. Your physiotherapist will used a skillful technique called “joint mobilization” to stretch the small bones and ligaments in this area.


Commonly symptoms similar to carpal tunnel syndrome can be caused from nerve compression in the neck. It is important not to be overwhelmed in this case. Nerve compression in the neck is easy to treat as long as it is correctly diagnosed. Stretching, massaging, and joint mobilizations are very effective at releasing the nerve compression in your neck thereby fixing your wrist and hand issue.


Common home exercises:

Prayer stretch:


Place your palms together in a prayer position. Lift up your elbows gently and you should feel a stretch along the front of your forearm. Hold this stretch for 30 second and repeat for 3 sets.

Man sitting on a couch performing the prayer stretch to stretch his forearms.

Median nerve floss:

Start with your arm straight resting by your side and bend the wrist back so your palm is facing the floor. Bend your head to the opposite arm you would like to stretch. To perform the exercise lift your arm up and side bend your head toward your arm.

Man standing and performing the median nerve floss exercise.

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