Exercises for Hand Pain


You never realize how important your hands are until you lose the ability to use them fully. Several conditions, including arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, can cause hand pain that makes it difficult to hold onto objects. If you experience chronic pain in your hand, see your doctor. She may suggest a series of exercises for your hands that will potentially reduce your hand pain.


Exercising your hands if you suffer from a condition that causes joint pain such as rheumatoid arthritis can help calm your symptoms by strengthening your hands and improving flexibility and your ability to move your joints. Specific hand exercises can also help to alleviate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Exercises alone will generally not improve a person’s carpal tunnel syndrome, according to the Mayo Clinic. A person may work with a physical therapist after undergoing surgery or other treatment for the condition to improve wrist and hand strength.

Exercises for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Arthritis

At first look, the hand exercises for someone with arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis appear very simple. They may be difficult for someone suffering from one of those conditions to perform, though. Exercises vary from person to person depending on how severe the condition is, according to WedMD. Basic exercises generally start with the patient holding the hand up, with the palm facing out and the fingers pointed upward. One exercise, known as the table top, involves bending the fingers from the bottom joint so that they are flat.

Exercises for Carpal Tunnel

After a person has undergone surgical or other treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, he may use nerve-gliding exercises to help strengthen the wrist and improve his flexibility. A person can also do nerve-glide exercises in an attempt to prevent the condition. There are five exercises, all done in sequence. In the first sequence, the patient holds his hand up with the fingers pointing upward. He then bends his fingers at the middle joint and makes a fist. For the fourth exercise, he bends his fingers at the bottom joint, and, for the fifth exercise, he makes another fist, this time with the thumb pointing out.

Other Options

In addition to exercises that specifically target the hand, a person suffering from arthritis or recovering from carpal tunnel may benefit from general aerobic exercise, which will improve range of motion throughout the body and increase their strength. Additionally, researchers at Johns Hopkins found that doing yoga can help lessen joint pain and tenderness in people who have rheumatoid arthritis. The namaste pose, where a person presses her palms together in front of her chest, can alleviate pain from carpal tunnel syndrome, according to Yoga Journal.


Doing exercises for hand pain can actually hurt a person if she does not have a physical therapist’s or doctor’s supervision. In some cases, nerve-glide exercises can make carpal tunnel worse, according to the Mayo Clinic. Other exercises that a person might think would help, such as gripping a stress ball, can cause muscle and joint strain if the person has arthritis, according to WebMD. If any exercises cause more pain in the hands, stop doing them and talk to a doctor.

Photo Credit

  • weathered hands image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com



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