Hand and finger exercises will relieve tightness and stimulate healthy blood circulation to the extremities. You are always looking to stretch just until you feel tightness in your muscles.
There must never be any pain felt. All of these exercises are designed to help you reach the maximum range of motion in your hands, fingers and wrists.
They can be practiced for immediate symptomatic relief from peripheral neuropathy, and low impact daily exercise will lessen the long-term effects of nerve damage as well.
While diabetic nerve damage can't be reversed, other types of neuropathy do hold the potential for nerve regeneration if the patient exercises diligently in combination with using other methods of treatment including the right diet and healthy supplements.
Even if your nervous tissue is damaged beyond repair, regular exercises will restore sensitivity in your hands and help you reach a better quality of life.
1. Finger Touching
A foundational finger exercise for mitigating the symptoms of neuropathy is circular finger touching.
If you're suffering from weakness, tingling, numbness or continual pain in your arms and hands, then this exercise should be performed infrequently through the course of each day.
- Form a circle by touching the tip of each of your fingers to your thumb one by one.
- After a full rotation of touching each of your fingers, open your hand and stretch your palm and fingers before repeating the exercise.
- For the best effects, repeat ten times a session.
For even greater relief from the symptoms of neuropathy, combine multiple finger exercises. For example, follow up a round of finger touching with finger lift exercises.
- Place your palm flat against a table or other hard surface.
- Slowly but precisely lift and fully extend each finger off the surface while keeping the rest held down.
- Go through all of your fingers and repeat the process ten times.
Another easy finger exercise is a thumb flex. It’ll give you a better range of motion for your thumbs and its fantastic for promoting stimulation in a hurry.
- Just hold your hand out before you and bend your thumb across your palm so that it touches the base of your little finger.
- Hold your thumb in position making sure to keep a straight, steady hand for 20-30 seconds and then switch hands and repeat.
2. Thumb Circles
Thumb circles relieve tension in the hands and arms, lowering sensitivity and pain while relaxing the muscles in your arm. There are few exercises which get rid of stiffness in your hands and fingers as quickly and effectively.
Over time you can increase the duration of exercise to three-minutes as you grow more accustomed to the action of rolling your thumbs for an extended period.
For the best results, repeat this exercise three to five times a day every day. Here’s how to start practicing thumb circles:
- Start by bringing your palms together in a conventional prayer position. You can either touch the pads of your fingers together or intertwine them. It’s up to you.
- Hold this position in whichever manner you find comfortable which gives your thumbs freedom of movement. From this position, start sliding your top thumb over the other, and then slide it under. This is a similar motion to twiddling your thumbs.
- Repeat the exercise switching to having the other thumb on top.
- Keep your fingers still and continue this motion for one minute.
If you feel any pain while performing thumb circles, then you’ll need to work on your wrist flexion and range of motion first. A great way to work your wrist and the flexibility of your fingers is to form a strong fist while gently rotating your wrist in a circle.
As you make a full rotation, release your fist stretching your hand before reforming your first on the next turn. This is also a handy warmup to use just before you perform a session of thumb circles.
3. Wrist Flexor Stretch Followed by Flexion and Extension
A wrist flexor is an exercise which gets rid of stiffness, restoring feeling to your hands in no time.
Followed by a flexion and extension, you’ve got an exercise that keeps your joints flexible while promoting muscle strength at the same time.
Both techniques minimize the symptoms of nerve damage and come highly recommended for sufferers of peripheral neuropathy.
- Start off by sitting in an upright posture
- Extend your right arm before you
- Point your wrist upward (fingers toward the ceiling) gently bending it back
- Use your left hand to gently pull on your wrist stretching it slightly
- Hold this position for between 20 and 30 seconds
- Rotate your wrist pointing your fingers toward the ground
- Pull on your wrist gently with your other hand holding the position for between 20 and 30 seconds
- Switch to your left arm and repeat the sequence
Follow this with a wrist flexion and extension:
- Place your forearm across a table with your wrist and a small section of your arm hanging off the edge (palm facing down).
- Begin to bend your wrist upward closing it in a fist
- Hold this position for roughly 8 seconds.
- Drop your hand slowly.
- Lower your fingers stretching toward the ground slightly.
- Repeat 10 to 15 times before switching to your other arm.
Wrist flexor stretches flowed by a flexion and extension workout will release tension in your arms which makes using your hands and fingers far less painful. You can look forward to a better range of motion of your wrist, and a good grip if you practice daily.
4. Grip Strength Training
Hand exercises for grip strength are an excellent form of physiotherapy for neuropathy. Like all hand exercises for nerve pain, it's best to work your grip on a daily basis.
One of the easiest ways is to hold a rubber stress ball in the palm of one of your hands. Squeeze and release, repeating ten times. Alternate to the other hand and your session is complete.
Follow this exercise with pinch grip training. Pinch and hold the stress ball with your thumb and each of your fingers one by one, running through three repetitions of each hand. For the best results, do these hand exercises two to three times a day.
Other great forms of grip strength training include exercise with the aid of resistance equipment like grippers, finger stretching bands, and grip strength rings. Try to combine a few different types of grip exercises until you find a routine which you're most comfortable with.
Within two to three months of daily practice, these hand exercises reduce numbness, tingling and the intensity of pain. You can look forward to increased feelings in your hands as long as you stick to a healthy routine. The great thing is that these exercises alleviate acute pain quite quickly, making them excellent for both symptomatic relief and long-term results.
5. Nerve and Tendon Gliding
This is a nerve and tendon gliding exercise which is designed to help your tendons glide smoothly allowing you to do daily activities like gripping or typing without any pain.
Regular practice promotes optimal mobility of the hand and wrist. Repeat this series of exercises five times for each hand during each session and exercise three times a day. Diligence will keep your tendons gliding in a healthy manner which gives you the best range of motion and flexibility.
- Hold your hand up before you bending your fingers down until your knuckles are totally bent making your fingers touch the pads at their base.
- Despite any tension, hold this position for three to five seconds.
- Return to an open-handed position.
- Form a fist and squeeze gently holding the fist in place for three to five seconds.
- Return to an open-handed position.
- Bend your fingers forward slowly into an "L" position making sure that the only bend is where your fingers and hand meet.
- Keep this position for three to five seconds before returning to an open-handed position.
- Bend your fingers downward bending at the first and middle joint only.
- Hold this position for three to five seconds with your fingertips resting against your palm.
There are quite a number of nerve and tendon gliding exercises like this. Our exercise is ideal for the pain and sensitivity of neuropathy, alleviating tension while promoting the full extension of your arm, wrist, and fingers.
Orthopedic professionals view nerve and tendon gliding with equal importance to aerobic exercise. Make sure to do this at least three to four times a day.
Exercise When Warm
There are lots of ways to make the most of your hand exercises for peripheral neuropathy. Those interested in even greater relief should try performing these routines in heated therapy sand.
Alternatively, let your hands soak for a few minutes in a bowl of warm water. Heated therapy improves the efficacy of all treatments. The stimulation and light exercise will return feeling to numb areas while pain levels steadily drop for as long as you are exercising.
Many of these techniques can be used throughout the day whenever you find yourself with some free time. The more you put your nervous system to work the better your rate of recovery and the less pain you’ll experience.
Additional Tips For Nerve Pain Relief
While hand and foot exercises can greatly help reduce nerve pain through improving blood circulation and flexibility, it should not be your only treatment method.
It's critical to include a diet full of healthy fruits and vegetables in order to supply your nerves with proper nutrition for optimal functioning. These includes foods high in natural B-vitamins and antioxidants, like Coq10.
If you cannot get all the proper vitamins and minerals through diet alone, you may want to consider taking supplements with vitamins and herbs for nerve pain and regeneration.