If you spend most of your day in front of a computer, you may experience hand and wrist pain due to repetitive hand and wrist movements from typing and using the mouse. You are not alone, others whose jobs include using computers such as secretaries, assistants, writers, transcribers, and encoders are also greatly affected.
To prevent or correct wrist pain, try these range-of-motion exercises:
1. Wrist extension and flexion
Hold the fingers of your right hand together with a firm grip from your left hand. Slowly extend your hand up toward the direction of the right forearm as far as you can. Hold for a few seconds and repeat at least 5 times. Do the same to your left hand. When you are done, repeat the same procedures to both hands but this time, flex your hands downward.
2. Wrist pronation and supination
Hold out your hands with the palms up. Turn them over so that your palms are now facing down. Bring them back to the starting position and repeat at least 10 times.
3. Spiders on a mirror
Start with your hands together in prayer position then spread your fingers apart as far you can. While keeping your fingers together, perform a movement that simulates a spider doing push-ups on a mirror. This movement stretches the palmar fascia, carpal tunnel structures, and median nerve, the nerve that gets irritated in a carpal tunnel syndrome.
Followed by these strengthening exercises:
4. Grip strength
Hold a hand exercise ball just big enough for your hand. Try to crush it in your hand using only your grip strength. Repeat at least 10 times. You can also have it ready in your pocket so that you can get your hands busy every now and then.
5. Dumbbell Exercises
This exercise combines range-of-motion and strengthening exercises. In a sitting position, hold a dumbbell with your hand and rest your forearm on your knee. Do wrist flexion and extension while holding the dumbbell. This adds more tension to your forearm muscles. Remember to do the exercise slowly to avoid muscle strain and pain.
Aside from exercise, proper ergonomics is very important. Awkward positions when using the computer can affect not just your hands and wrists but also the other parts of your body such as your back, neck and shoulders. Remember also to take a rest now and then especially when your wrists, hands and fingers feel tired and/or painful.
If the pain does not go away, or if you experience pain at night or when resting, or if you experience difficulty in moving your wrist joints, see your doctor. The doctor can then recommend the exercises that are right for you or additional treatment if necessary.