The following information has been gathered and compiled through personal experience, while traveling, teaching classes that include T’ai Chi, Qi Gong, herbal information, martial arts and other health related subjects. The article also contains feedback from students and anecdotal information from readers of my columns. The following are my opinions and deductions from those sources.
Prevention is always better that intervention and treatment after the problem has arisen. The best exercises I’ve found for CTS are simple and can be done at home with minimum equipment. If you’ve had, are experiencing or recovering from CTS, wait until you’ve healed before beginning an exercise program to strengthen the wrist(s). Training through will not work and can cause the problem to be a long or lifetime thing, when resting and waiting for the injury to heal, may help prevent the problem in the future.
Squeezing a small diameter ball can help strengthen the muscles in the hands, wrists and lower forearms. You can also use a tube that has sufficient, but not too much, resistance. The type of ball used in racquet ball or hand ball may work for you but if the resistance is too much, look for a ball that is small enough to allow you to close the hand enough so that the thumb can be bent and those muscles strengthen also. A ball that’s too big doesn’t allow the thumb to get into the act and you won’t be involving all the muscles that are affected by CTS.
an exercise I read about in a book, but have never used, involves a weight., one pound was what was recommended, an old broomstick about eighteen inches long, or dowel of that size, and about four feet of strong cord or rope. Secure the rope to the broomstick so it won’t be able to slip around when the broomstick is turned. If you know any sailors or know sailing knots, you won’t find it hard to tie the correct knot. You could drill a hole through the broomstick, thread the cord through and secure it with a knot, but that might weaken it and cause splintering. You don’t need a splinter to aggravate an already existing problem.
Next, with your elbows bent 90 degrees and your arms directly out in front of your stomach, begin twisting the stick and rolling the weight up until it reaches the stick. You can also do this while seated by placing the forearms on the upper legs and the hands beyond the knees. Do the exercise without bending your wrists backwards and use as little wrist movement as possible. Once the weight is rolled up, begin to slowly roll it back down. Do this five to ten times daily, depending on the strength of your wrists. As you gain strength you can increase the weight. If you find it too difficult, decrease the weight or lower the repetitions. Do what works for you, start slow and work up, going too far to fast will only prolong the problem.
A vitamin B complex and vitamin B6 are specifics for CTS. Vitamin C, adrenal supplements and panothenic acid all help the body’s anti-inflammatory response.