Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Treatment With Squeeze Ball

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel syndrome symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in the fingers or hand can be managed by rolling exercises using StringyBall – Squeeze ball on a string.

Do you know that approximately four out of thousand people living in the US suffer from the dreaded Carpal Tunnel Syndrome or CTS? If you have pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in your thumb and first three fingers you might already be a victim of CTS. Main reason behind CTS is believed to be the compression of median nerve at the carpal tunnel. So it is better to consider urgent medical care to prevent further compression and nerve damage.

The carpal tunnel is a narrow passage made of ligaments and bones located at the base of the hand and transmits a total of nine tendons along with the median nerve. When there is an inflammation in the tunnel, chiefly in the coverings of nine tendons, tissues swell up entrapping the median nerve giving rise to a particular set of symptoms. As the Median nerve innervates first four fingers and half of the ring finger, the nerve defect can be seen in those areas. Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur in one or both hands.

Common symptoms include,

  • Pain, usually at night. This pain at times radiates to the arm or shoulder. The night time pain can be severe often waking up the patient.
  • The weakness of the affected hand.
  • Pins and needles feeling (tingling)
  • Little finger, half of the ring finger and back of the hand is unaffected as those are not supplied by the median nerve.

It's important to know in many cases symptoms start and progress gradually. You may initially have only numbness for days followed by others. However, if the swelling progresses, it can lead to ischemic damage to the nerve (lack of oxygen) and complete loss of its function.

Studies have shown that many characteristics of individuals happen to increase the risk of getting CTS. For example, people aged between 30 to 60 are frequently diagnosed than other ages. Several recent studies have shown it is more common (about three folds) in females than males. Another common risk factor in the modern world is repetitive wrist movement especially during keyboard usage, phone texting, playing video games, construction work, and manufacturing. Several lifestyle factors inclusive of smoking, high BMI, and a sedentary/deskbound lifestyle are associated with high incidence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

The underlying pathology in almost all cases is the swelling of the wrist tissue due to inflammation sometimes obstructing the blood flow. In some cases, the origin for CTS cannot be found. Nevertheless, in most cases, it is one of the following or a combination.

  1. Repetitive maneuvers: Typing, Texting, Video Games, Drilling, etc.
  2. Arthritis: Mainly Rheumatoid Arthritis among others.
  3. Diabetes: Diabetics are 15 times more prone to CTS than others. Studies have shown that 20 percent of people with diabetes will get it at some point in their life.
  4. During pregnancy: The tingling and numbness, when you are expectant are mostly due to CTS. The reason behind this is the fluid retention during pregnancy causing the tunnel to swell. However, the symptoms disappear after the baby is born, probably within few weeks.
  5. Thyroid dysfunction: In hypothyroidism, the resulting myxoedema (associated edema) causes the swelling of perineurium of median nerve and tendons causing CTS.
  6. Congenital factors (from birth): A small percentage of individuals have inherited a small carpal tunnel, causing Congenital CTS.
  7. Following a wrist fracture: A fracture will disrupt the normal wrist architecture and boost inflammation.

Only the most common causes are mentioned above.

How can it be diagnosed?

As a medical condition, diagnosing is done considering your history, clinical examination and tests. History includes your symptoms and duration. The doctor will carefully examine your hand for swelling, tenderness and deformity and check for sensation. The usual test done is ‘Electromyogram’ which calculates the nerve conduction speed which will be reduced in moderate to severe CTS.

Let's have a look at standard management options for Carpal tunnel syndrome.

The treatment is based on the severity. Individuals with mild to moderate symptoms without profound weakness or muscle wasting can be treated conservatively which in other words non-surgically. This can be achieved by lifestyle modification through avoiding the causative factor, e.g., resting the wrist during typing. Few oral medications like corticosteroids have demonstrated some success through short-term symptom relief. Neutral and cock up wrist splints are used for six to eight weeks to manage more severe conditions. In managing acute conditions, corticosteroid injections are also considered and provide relief up to one year.

Those with severe pain, muscle wasting, and abnormal nerve conduction tests (EMG) needs surgical correction.Surgical management yields the best five-year outcome compared to others though it is invasive. The surgeon makes a small incision (<5cm) over the tunnel and cuts the swollen ligament to relieve pressure. After healing the overall pressure will be less thereby alleviating the symptoms.

How does StringyBall help in Carpal tunnel syndrome?

Being a uniquely designed therapeutic stress ball on a string in the market, StringBall can significantly reduce the discomfort associated with mild to moderate CTS. Regular ‘rolling and squeezing exercises’ using it have shown to relax the affected muscle and nerve thus diminishing the symptoms. Squeezing can make the wrist muscle stronger which will, in turn, protect the carpal tunnel whereas the rolling process will relax and relieve the muscle and tendon tension. Unlike the ordinary stress balls the ‘adjustable flexible string’ makes it easier to adjust and carry, making it ideal for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome sufferers. However, for more severe symptoms including muscle wasting and unbearable pain, one should consult a doctor before using stress balls.


1. Carpal tunnel syndrome: the commonest mononeuropathy, Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine 8th edition, page 507
2. 'Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Information Page.' National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. December 28, 2010.
3. Epidemiology, Carpal tunnel syndrome
4. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Diabetes