Counteracting Wrist/Hand Pain 

Like most folks, I spend plenty of time using a keyboard. From the IBM Selectric typewriter I had in college (oops, did I just date-stamp myself?!), to the iMac I use now, to texting on my iPhone, I use my hands and fingers A LOT. I’ve considered myself extremely lucky to have not experienced any pain in my wrists or hands…until now, that is, when all the keyboarding caught up to me. Suddenly, both thumbs hurt. Phooey. 

Is it carpal tunnel? Arthritis? Repetitive stress injury? All of the above? Don’t know (yet). Beginning with the ergonomics route, a few weeks ago I bought a pad to support my wrists when I’m typing. Jury’s still out on whether it’s helping. I also just started taking glucosamine, so I’ll see if that offers any relief. And maybe ice wouldn’t be a bad idea either so I’ll give that a go. 

I also remembered another thing I could try: exercises from my very own Stretch Deck – 50 cards featuring head-to-foot stretches, 4 of which are for hands and wrists because overuse injuries are so prevalent. (See keyboarding/texting above.) I’m sharing 2 of those exercises in case your hands, like mine, have fallen victim to too much computer and smart phone time. And if you aren’t experiencing any pain (yet), the stretches are an effective way to prevent injury. Will they work? Probably…if you do the stretches regularly, at least 3 times a week. (And, btw, when I say “you” I’m talking to myself!) Both stretches counteract problems caused by repetitive movements, particularly computer work, and increase flexibility in the wrist; they are great for those involved in racquet sports as well. 

Keep in mind that you should feel a stretch but if you have any pain, ease up; in other words, don’t go beyond what is referred to as “the edge of discomfort.” Also use that stretching time to focus on your breath and sensation, making it a mini-mindfulness moment as well. 

I hope you’ll join me in giving the stretches a try…here’s to happy hands! 

…………………… 

Wrist Extension Stretch 

· Sit comfortably in a straight-backed chair. 

· Extend your left arm in front of you with fingers pointed up and palm facing away from you. 

· With your right hand, grasp the fingers of your left hand on the palm side. 

· Using your right hand, gently extend (pull) your left hand back toward your body, keeping your left arm straight. 

· Hold for 20-30 seconds as you slowly inhale and exhale. 

· Repeat on the other side. 

· Do 3-5 repetitions on each side. 

Wrist Flexion Stretch 

· Sit comfortably in a straight-backed chair. 

· Extend your left arm in front of you with fingers pointed down and palm facing your body. 

· With your right hand, grasp the back of the left hand at the knuckles. 

· Use your right hand to gently pull your left hand back toward your body, keeping your left arm straight. 

· Hold for 20-30 seconds as you slowly inhale and exhale. 

· Repeat on the other side. 

· Do 3-5 repetitions on each side.

For these and more stretches check out The Stretch Deck.