Personal: Cure Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Without Surgery

This body hack is not FREEDAmerica-related. But it really works and is worth sharing if it could help you.

Carpal tunnel syndrome causes numbness, tingling and other symptoms in the hand and arm.  The symptoms are due to a compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist.  A common cause is many years of repetitive typing when the hands aren’t in a neutral (flat) position.

Carpal tunnel affects up to 10% of the population.  The typical cure is wrist surgery that costs $3,000 on average per wrist.  Recovery can take several weeks to several months, including physical therapy. 

I had carpal tunnel syndrome develop in both hands.  The numbness and tingling were getting worse.  My story follows. Your mileage will vary.

Surgery seemed extreme, an easy out for doctors.  I refused to accept it was the only option.  I refused to have my hand out of commission for a few days and to stop boxing and weightlifting for several weeks.

Surely if this was a matter of physical alignment there was a less-invasive solution.  Without getting too scientific, if the wrists can unintentionally be trained to cause the carpal bones and the flexor to compress the nerve permanently, they could also be trained for normal use to reduce the compression.

I ran an Internet search that came up with various video and written suggestions.  As a longtime weightlifter I selected a simple activity with normal equipment that I could easily fit into my workouts.

I started positive (palm up) and negative (palm down) wrist curls (or extensions).  While bicep curls are a mainstay of my workouts, I’d never done wrist curls.  2-3x per week I do 2 sets with a target of 25 repetitions for positive curls and then two more sets for negatives.  It adds a mere 5-7 minutes to my time at the gym.  I started with fixed weight curl bars.  I didn’t like their feel as I graduated to heavier bars.  So I switched to dumbbells, which also enabled me to increase the weight even more. Use gloves with strong wrist support if this puts too much pressure on your wrists.

I also use a rubber ball (actually a ring).  Squeeze, hold for a few seconds, and release over two minutes or 50 repetitions for each affected wrist.

The result – SUCCESS.  After two weeks the carpal tunnel symptoms stopped getting worse.  After a month the symptoms reduced.  After two months they essentially disappeared.

WebMD includes a wrist curl as an exercise for carpal tunnel using a 1 pound weight or a can of beans.  I don’t think that’s heavy enough to force lasting anatomical changes.  For both the weight curls and ball there must be a high level of resistance for realignment. I use 75 pound dumbbells for my positive sets.  Less poundage should be fine as long as that’s the most weight you can handle for the exercise.

Marc Freedman


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