Updated: Oct 1, 2022
On devices all day long? This wrist exercise can help.
The base of my thumbs used to ache and creak during the day. I’d wake up in the middle of the night with no feeling in some of my fingers and when I repositioned my hands, I’d feel the rush of pins and needles. Then my hands and forearms would feel as heavy as lead.
These sensations were sometimes too much to bear and they were extremely disruptive to my quality of life. This went on for many months.
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I was only 22, and it definitely wasn’t normal to feel like this. I listened to the alarms that were bouncing all around in my body and thought back to all the things that had led me to this pain, tingling and numbness. I was new to the workforce and I was typing, typing, typing away the day. My right hand was on a mouse for nine hours a day; I was just getting accustomed to using a cell phone more frequently; and my shoulders were perpetually rounded from working on a computer.
These symptoms, I learned, were caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, and for me, it was just the beginning.
At one point, I considered wrist surgery. That’s how much the pain and numbness impacted my everyday life.
I researched ways to help relieve my symptoms, and yoga (not surprising) was one of them. I wore wrist braces at night (still do) because the angles my wrists would get into under my pillow were contributing to the tingling. I became super mindful of the position of my wrists when I was writing, texting, holding a glass of water and exercising. Basically, I was becoming more aware of how I was using my wrists throughout the day.
I managed my symptoms really well for a while. But they returned full-force during my pregnancies and every time I gave birth. All of those familiar sensations I had thought were a thing of the past returned.
Today, thanks to the wrist stretches and rolls below, as well as other lifestyle habits I’ve acquired over the last several years (see two paragraphs above this one!), I've been able to live mostly wrist-pain free.
The wrist stretches and rolls below are much-needed if you work at a computer all day and are constantly connected to a device (which is all of us!).
Practice It: Wrist Stretches and Rolls
Sit or stand tall, stacking knees above ankles. Roll your shoulders down your back.
With your right arm extended forward and your fingertips facing toward the sky, push your left hand into your right hand until you feel a stretch along the front of your right wrist. See if you can get your thumb in this stretch, too.
Relax your shoulders and your face muscles as you take a few breaths.
Turn your right hand so your fingertips face toward the ground, and push your left hand into your right hand. Notice how the sensations from the stretch feel different depending on the directions the fingertips face.
Stay here for a few breaths. Then release.
Circle your wrists in both directions, and repeat the stretch and wrists rolls on your left side.
As always, speak with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.
Learn other yoga poses you can do at work or at home in my book 108 Yoga and Self-Care Practices for Busy Mamas (MSI Press), which is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the MSI Press website.
Note that this website and the Stand Up for Your Self-Care YouTube Channel are for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Speak with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine or wellness plan.