Sunday, 13 December 2015

Hand Exercises That I Use To Prevent Strain From Repetitive Computer Usage

ALT=""I wanted to share this post on hand exercises to prevent computer strain with you because I want you to add one more milestone on the road to health and fitness in all areas of your life. Several  years ago, I began to increase usage of  the computer, and noted to my horror that I began to experience various degrees of hand strain and pain.
hand exercise equipment

Why I use hand exercises to prevent strain from repetitive computer usage

I then learnt about hand exercises online and began to use them successfully to prevent injuries. Most times I try to do them daily or at least three times a week 

In this post I will discuss briefly:

  • structures and movements of the hand
  • injuries that can result from repetitive hand movements
  • exercises and tips to reduce hand injury and strain 
  • including self accu-pressure to prevent and manage carpal tunnel syndrome

Structures and movements of the hand

The hand is complex structure which is comprised of muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, nerves and blood vessels.

Ligaments holds joints together
while tendons  connect muscles to bones
The thirty or more hand muscles are of key interest today since injury can result from repetitive movements which are required by computer users. The scrolling, typing and other movements required for computer use involve gripping, stretching, rotation and flexing movements of  hand structures.

Watch this video which illustrates various hand movements

Injury to the muscles and nerves of the hand from repetitive hand or wrist movements 

People who use the computer for long periods of time can experience a variety of injuries which are manifested by pain, soreness/discomfort, numbness and swelling.  Some of the common causes of these injuries include:

  • overwork of muscles due to  clicking, scrolling and other movements
  • poor placement of the mouse toward the back of the computer desk or station

Tips for preventing  hand injuries 

a. Perform daily hand exercises which take the user's muscles through a variety of stretching, flexing, rotation exercises that maintain hand health

Although this video relates to gamers, the exercises are the same for anyone who uses computer for long periods of time. They have kept my hands relatively healthy and free from injury.

b. Apply the principles of ergonomics to keep the hand in a neutral position

Ergonomics (also called biotechnology, human engineering and human factors), is a field of science which deals with the efficient and safe design and arrangement of things used by people. 

The pictures show that when ergonomics are applied, the hand is supported horizontally and therefore held in a neutral position which minimizes strain on its structures.


c. Position the mouse for prevention of injury if a desktop is used 
  • place the mouse to the right of  the keyboard or laptop, so that it is within reach
  • use a mouse platform  to reduce sideways and forward reaching as well and the overall area in which the mouse is used


d. Implement these 7 guidelines to prevent injury to the hands

Image result for ergonomic laptops on How To Blog On Google Blogspot
e. implement specific activities to protect the hands from carpal tunnel syndrome 

The carpal tunnel is a passageway on the palmar side of the wrist. It is important because the median nerve passes through it. The median nerve causes supplies the muscles that flex the forearm. Injury would therefore result in loss of function of varying degrees. 


Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful condition caused by compression of a major nerve as it passes over the carpal bones or wrist of the hand. Poor posture and over use of the wrist are common triggers. Application of the principles of ergonomics can prevent the condition.

Common symptoms include

  • pain 
  • numbness
  • tingling
  • weakness

The following are non - medical treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Vitamins B6 and 12  which support and heal the injured nerves
  • Magnesium which relaxes the blood tissue and vessels in that area (250mg 2x daily)
  • Use natural anti-inflammatory supplements like bromelain, turmeric, boswellia, and ginger. 
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods such as organic fruits, vegetables, and omega 3 fatty acids. The latter is found in flax seed and avocado
  • Apply Wintergreen and Cyprus essential oils to cool the area and increase circulation
  • massage with coconut oil, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory and therefore reduces pain and swelling

Watch this video by  Dr. Mark Wiley for self accupressure to prevent and manage carpal tunnel syndrome


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