Stiff Wrists? Take a break from typing and try these stretches
In this age of booming technology, many of us spend the majority of the day trapped behind a computer. That means, on average, we spend 40 hours a week typing on a keyboard or moving a mouse. When you add it all up, that’s a lot of strain on your wrists and the muscles and tendons that help make them work. Let’s take a closer look at what’s really going on and what you can do to fight the pain.
The Causes of Your Stress and Strain
If you’ve recently started experiencing pain in the wrists, you could be feeling the effects of carpal tunnel which is a common and painful condition that affects millions of people each year. If your job requires you to do a repetitive motion, like typing, you’re also at a higher risk for wrist stiffness and pain. But Carpal Tunnel syndrome isn’t the only cause of wrist and hand pain. The source of the pain can range from weak joints to strains to tennis elbow, so it’s important to get diagnosed by a medical professional. But not to worry! Surgery isn’t the first thing your doctor will recommend. You’ll most likely start with some daily exercises to help strengthen and heal your stiff wrists. These exercises will help increase the range-of-motion of your joint, lengthen muscles and tendons, and help to strengthen your overall mobility.
Work It Out
Here are five stretches you can try at home that will help you alleviate wrist pain. You’ll want to do 10 repetitions of the following exercises for 10 seconds each, three times each day.
Exercise 1: The Extender
Place your arm on a table or flat service and place a rolled-up towel under your wrist. Allow your hand to dangle over the table. Turn your palm down. Now, raise your hand straight up so that your palm is facing out. Return to starting position and repeat.
Exercise 2: Meet and Greet
Form your hands into a prayer pose. Spread fingers while keeping your hands together. Separate your hands so that only fingertips are touching. Now, bring palms into almost touch. Repeat.
Exercise 3: Wrist Roll
Sit with your arm at your side at a 90-degree angle. Put your palm facing down. Rotate your arm to make your palm face up. Return to starting position and repeat.
Exercise 4: Howdy Do
Place your arm on a table or flat service and place a rolled-up towel under your wrist. Turn your palm sideways toward your body. Leaving your forearm still, move your thumb to your wrist as if you were waving hello.
Exercise 5: Finger Puppets
Start with your hand and fingers straight up, palm facing out. Bring your thumb across until it touches the skin beneath your pinky finger. Repeat 10 times. Return your hand to starting position, palm facing out. Roll your fingers into a hook fist, then return to straight. Next, roll your fingers into a normal fist, then return to straight. Repeat.
You can do these exercises every day and you can do them anywhere—even sitting at your desk. By sticking to it, you’ll reap the benefits of relaxing, stretching and lengthening the muscles and tendons in your wrist. Over time, you’ll see significant improvement in the pain you’ve been feeling. If for any reason your pain gets worse, stop these exercises immediately and seek help from your medical care provider.