Hand Pain? Find Relief With Four Easy Exercises
Hand pain can be exacerbated while isolated at home, but these four easy exercises can help relieve tension, prevent injury and alleviate stress. Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/DigitalVision via Getty Images
Everyone’s trying to keep busy while isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic, whether that means using tech to keep in touch with loved ones, taking up a new hobby or getting to work in the garden. But whatever you choose to do, chances are your hands are working overtime. And that can lead to hand pain.
“With more time at home and trying to stay connected, we may be spending more time keeping our hands occupied,” says Liza Egbogah, aka Dr. Liza, the Calgary-raised, Toronto-based manual osteopathic and myofascial release expert. “This can mean texting on our phones, spending time on laptops or computers, writing, knitting, baking, cooking and gardening.”
Dr. Liza notes that you need your hands for pretty much any activities you choose to do at home. “This,” she adds, “can lead to hand pain from overused muscles, joint inflammation and even numbness and tingling from irritated nerves.”
And it’s not just the physical use of our hands that can wear them down.
“Stress can also make us more susceptible to nerve irritation. So not only do we want to take care of the muscles and joints that affect our hands — we want to address the stress component.”
Egbogah has both a doctorate of chiropractic and a diploma in manual osteopathic practice, so who better to give us a hand workout routine to help relieve tension in your hands, prevent injury and alleviate stress?
Outstretch your left arm in front of you with your palm facing up. Place your right thumb on the back of the wrist and place your other four fingers on the left palm. Use those four fingers to pull your left hand back while your right thumb supports the wrist. You should feel a stretch at the front of your forearm. Hold for 10 seconds.
Repeat for the other side of your forearm by outstretching your left arm in front of you with your palm facing down this time. Place your right thumb on the front of your wrist and place your other four fingers on the back of the left hand. Use those four fingers to pull your left hand down while your right thumb supports the wrist. You should feel a stretch at the back of the forearm. Hold for 10 seconds.
Repeat on the opposite arm.
Hand spread stretch
Start by forming a tight fist with your hand and holding for 2 seconds. Then slowly open up your hand as much as you can. You should feel your fingers lengthening and a stretch in the palm of your hands. Hold that stretch for 2 seconds and then repeat this movement 5 times for each hand.
We don’t want to tire out our already weary hands by using them to massage each other, so we are going to use our elbows. Grab your left elbow with your right hand so that the meaty part of your hand right under your thumb is in contact with the pointiest part of your elbow. Use your elbow to provide comfortable pressure to the meaty part of your hand and use circular motions to massage. Go clockwise and counterclockwise. From there you can use the elbow to massage the rest of your hand using the same circular motions.
Repeat on the other hand.
These two acupressure points are great because they alleviate tension in your hands and they also help to ease anxiety and stress:
Union valley point: You find this pressure point in the webbing between your thumb and index finger. Stimulating this point is said to reduce stress.
To use this point: With your index finger and thumb, apply firm pressure to the webbing between the thumb and index finger of your other hand. Massage the pressure point for four to five seconds, taking slow, deep breaths.
Inner frontier gate point: You can find the inner frontier gate point on your arm, about three finger widths below your wrist. Stimulating this point may help to reduce anxiety.
To use this point: Turn one hand so your palm faces up. With your other hand, measure three fingers below your wrist. The point lies here, in the hollow between the tendons. Apply pressure to the point and massage for four to five seconds.