Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a painful compression of the median nerve, identified by numbness and tingling at the hand - specifically, down to your fingers. Now that you've got it.. how do you get rid of it?
First, you should understand that the same nerve being irritated (the median nerve) travels through that carpal tunnel as well as several other sites, like the pronator teres muscle in your forearm and the pec minor muscle at your chest. Actually, many people who suffer from the symptoms of CTS may just have what's known as "Pec Minor Syndrome". It may, also, be compressed in 2 individual sites ("double crush") or more, which would require a more comprehensive approach.
Fortunately, there are a few simple approaches to treating that pain yourself or with the help of a therapist. No need to resort to surgery just yet!
Treatment for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
A) At the pec minor: A simple doorway stretch may do the trick... With your arm out to the side and elbow bent to a 90º angle, step through a doorway but allow the working arm to make contact with the side of the door. This resistance will stretch the pec muscles, lengthening them and taking pressure off of the median nerve.
B) At the pronator teres: Using a double lacross ball... Begin with the wrist in an flexed and pronated position (fingers reaching towards the front of the forearm and palm facing down). Pin the forearm down on the targeted muscle and add bodyweight with your opposite arm. Lastly, extend the wrist to bring the fingertips towards the back of the forearm and turn the palm to face up. Notes: Targeting the pronator teres will feel more like “picking tape”. This may be done with a single ball but is much less effective.
C) At the carpal tunnel: Passively flexing and extending the wrist.... Extend the affected arm and use the opposite hand to pull the fingers back (passive extension) and forwards (passive flexion). Simple as that.
One of my favorite self-care tools is called the Roleo. With this gadget, you can wring out your arms like water from a towel. Best. Investment. Ever.
However, if you've struggled with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome for a while and treated it with no avail, your next step may be to consult a soft-tissue therapist for immediate relief.