Preventing Wrist Pain: It’s All in a Day’s Work
Whether you’re that early riser opening the office doors, or the night owl burning the midnight oil – long, grueling days at a desk can cause persistent wrist pain. While sudden injury is sometimes the cause of wrist pain, more often than not, it’s repetitive stress and carpal tunnel syndrome that causes workers to complain. Trust in this: if you take the time to adjust your behaviors, you can reduce your discomfort.
An ergonomic assessment of your workplace environment may be beneficial. Try doing an overhaul of your workspace – for example, adjusting your keyboard height to the optimal level or investing in a proper mousepad. A physical therapist or hand specialist can also recommend several exercises to alleviate wrist pain. If you suffer from extreme inflammation or joint damage, consult your doctor before starting a new regimen. They’ll find out the root of your wrist pain. Some of the following exercises are designed to increase your range of motion, while others are meant to lengthen the tendons.
If you’ve ever gotten home at the end of the day only to realize how sore your wrists and fingers are, try introducing a few of the following exercises. They’re easy enough to do right at your desk (ignore the strange looks from coworkers; you didn’t mind when they microwaved fish in the company kitchen).
The “prayer” position is at it sounds. While standing, place the palms in front of you with the elbows touching, slowly lower them down to your belly button; stop when you feel a resistance. Pressing your hands together firmly will gently stretch your wrists. Start by holding this position for 10 seconds. You can repeat this routine as many times as feels comfortable.
Clenched fists aren’t always synonymous with stress. Try using this simple exercise to feel more at ease. While seated, place your hands-on top of your thighs with your palms facing upward. Slowly form fists with each, and then raise them backward as if you’re lifting imaginary barbells. Lower your hands and then open your fingers wide.
Do you have an extra tennis ball or stress ball lying around? Leave it within reach while at the office. Squeezing it firmly in 5 to 10 second increments is shown to strengthen the wrists and increase mobility. Afterward, switch hands. If a tennis ball is too stiff, try using a specially-made stress ball, which can be found at several online retailers.
Rubber bands aren’t just for keeping office supplies tidy. Use these trusty tools to keep your flexor tendons strong. Place a rubber band over your five fingers, then flex your fingers open into a “fan” motion. Doubling the band will increase the resistance.
Exercises dubbed “office yoga” are also highly efficient for combating the negative effects of your work lifestyle. Inspired by the ancient Indian practice of yoga, “figure eights” require that you interlace your fingers in front of the body. Keeping your elbows tucked in at your sides, rotate your wrists fully so that you trace a figure eight pattern in the air. To finish the pose, lift your arms over your head, while interlacing the fingers with the palms together. Slowly turn the palms up and feel the stretch.
Remember to take time away from typing to practice these simple exercises. A delicate web of bones and muscle, the hands are highly susceptible to injury and deserve careful consideration. The reputable surgeons at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder can diagnose what’s ailing you, as well as suggest a variety of exercises best suited to your condition. For more information, call 410-296-6232.