7 Carpal Tunnel Stretches Experts Recommend

Find relief for that pesky wrist pain.



Carpal tunnel is a pain in the wrists or hands caused by compression of the nerves in the forearm, says physical therapist Dr. Theresa Marko. It can happen if you type a lot or generally overuse the area. For some relief, try these carpal tunnel stretches right at your desk.


Standing Stretch

Marko recommends doing this stretch several times a day.

- Stand, face desk.

- Place your palm down on the desk, fingers facing you.

- Gently lean on desk, hold stretch 1 minute.

- Release slowly. Repeat 3x both hands.

- Relax hands a few minutes before working.


Prayer Stretch

Kathy Dahm of Athletico says this stretch reduces irritation on the median nerve.

- Place palms together at chest.

- Slowly lower hands to stomach, keep palms together.

- Feel a stretch in your forearms.

- Hold 30 seconds, repeat 3x.


Wrist Stretch

Dahm also likes this stretch to reduce irritation.

- Place arm in front of you, palm faces up.

- Bend at wrist to point fingers to floor.

- Place other hand on palm, pull back gently to further stretch forearm.

- Hold 30 seconds.

- Repeat 3x on each arm.

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Stop Sign Stretch

Physical therapist Sandra Gail Frayna says this motion loosens up muscles to relieve pain.

- Make a fist with one hand.

- Open fingers to make a “stop sign” signal.

- Close hand.

- Repeat a few times each hand.

- Take breaks to do this throughout the day.

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Wrist CARs

CARs, which stands for controlled articular rotations, are another way to relieve pressure on the median nerve, says Frayna.

- Make your hands into two fists.

- Move wrists in towards each other, then away.

- Feel a stretch in your wrists and forearms.


Thumb Touches

This stretch helps relieve pain that can be caused by excessive typing, says Frayna.

- Hold up your hand.

- Touch your pointer finger to your thumb.

- Repeat with each finger, touching each one to your thumb.

- Do the same with your other hand.


Grip Strength

Anthony Pavlich, DPT recommends this move to improve grip strength and reduce muscle weakness.

- Hold a scrunched-up cloth or stress ball.

- Squeeze, slowly relax.

- If it hurts, stop.

- Repeat throughout the day.

- Let a doctor know if your pain doesn’t go away.