I was asked by my chiropractor, Dr. Mary Reimer, to share a few hand exercises to compliment an article she was writing on hand pain, specifically for office workers & computer users.
If you have hand pain, consider if you are doing something that is contributing to it. It might be at the hands, but likely even at the neck and shoulders. However, these hand stretches will still help, but for good measure - we will do at least one neck/shoulder stretch too. Often the tension in your neck and shoulders has gone on for so long that it travels to your hands. Plus there is the whole repetitive motion issue. Check your jaw right now.... is it clenched at all? If you can relax your jaw then you were clenching it, a habit that will create lots of unnecessary tension! Check your shoulders to see if you can relax them down. If you were unknowingly holding them up, something is definitely UP.
For the stretches; all you need to do is: (1) Walk like an Egyptian, (2) extend your digits, (3) hitchhike, (4) scratch your back and (5) nod off. And all of these can be done in the comfort at your very own desk.
The goal of these hand stretches is to restore alignment back to the joints in your elbows, wrists and fingers, which will increase circulation and neurology to hands.
(1) Walk like an Egyptian: Forearm Stretch.
(2) Extend your digits: Regain length in hand muscles and increase neurology to hands.
(3) Hitchhiking, The thumb is the most common joint for osteoarthritis in the hand.
(4) Scratch your back. Mobilize your shoulders and forearm.
(5) Nod off (head hang)- The hands' circulation starts up between the shoulder blades, so keeping that neurological pathway open is very important for the neck, spine, elbows, wrists, and fingers. More on why circulation is so critical (click).
For good measure "nod off" and do your stretches for up to one minute each every few hours or more often if you are in pain.
These are a few great starter moves to keep you healthy and pain free in the hands while doing computer work or any other repetitive hand motion. If you are in pain and you don't try these exercises, then your hands are tied....
If you read this and want specifics on anything for anyone, let me know. Also, check out Katy Bowman's blog, Katy Says.com or her alignment snacks, and/or come see us for a session.