As computer use at work and home has increased for many people in recent years, so too have repetitive stress disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. If you work at a computer all day, for example as a medical billing and coding specialist or administrative assistant, you may experience symptoms of repetitive stress disorders, including hand pain, wrist pain, and fatigue in the arms and hands. In this video, a certified massage therapist and instructor at Carrington College teaches some techniques to ease tension and improve flexibility and mobility in the arm, wrist, and hand.
Hand Stretches & Wrist Stretches
The most common repetitive workplace injuries occur in the upper extremities. Hand and wrist pain can be relieved with wrist exercises and hand exercises like the one suggested in the video:
Hold your right arm straight out in front of you and bend the hand down, finger pointing to the floor. Use the left hand to gently press on the back of the bent right hand to stretch the forearm muscles. Hold the stretch for 15 to 20 seconds, and turn the palm of the right hand up. Use the left hand to gently guide the fingers back. Repeat on the other side. Stretches like this one help keep the joints and muscles fluid and flexible.
Like many other carpal tunnel exercises and tennis elbow stretches, this type of stretching technique involves the entire forearm, hand and wrist joint, and should help ease pain over time. Take just a few minutes each day to perform these wrist strengthening exercises.
Arm and Hand Massage Techniques
In addition to stretching, massage therapy is an effective way to ease wrist pain, hand pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. Here are some hand massage techniques to ensure maximum pain relief:
- Use an open palm to apply oil to the front and back of the arm to gently warm the muscle tissues and prepare them for deeper massage work.
- Slowly apply deeper pressure to the forearm as you glide your hand from the wrist up to the elbow and back.
- Use the knuckles of a closed hand, instead of an open palm, to provide more pressure without straining your own hands.
- Press both thumbs in the center of the wrist and push into the muscle while gliding up to the elbow at the same time.
- Include both sides of the forearm to loosen all the constrictions.
- Massage the fingers, thumbs, and palm of the hand, giving them light pressure and gentle stretches.
- Finish out the massage with more long, gliding strokes from the wrist to the elbow.
Tips for Hand and Wrist Pain
- Stretches should be done at least once per day for best results.
- Take a 5-minute stretching break every hour for continuous computer work and every few hours for lighter work.
- A massage every 2–4 weeks provides the most benefits for tissues.
- Chronic pain can be addressed with a massage 1–2 times per week.
Spending hours working or playing at the computer may seem like a low-key activity, but maintaining static positions for long periods of time can lead to repetitive stress injuries. Incorporating regular stretching and massage into your routine can reduce hand pain and wrist pain, and keep your forearms, hands and wrists functioning properly.
Massage Therapy Training Program
Massage therapists are health care professionals that help individuals who are injured and in pain or simply seeking some relaxation. Students enrolled in our massage therapy program study a variety of massage techniques and related therapies while preparing for a satisfying career in health care. Learn more about the Carrington College massage therapy program today!