Updated: Oct 13, 2019
On devices all day long? This wrist exercise is for you.
During the day, the base of my thumbs ached and creaked. I’d wake up in the middle of the night with no feeling in 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 day. This went on for many months.
I was only 22, and it definitely wasn’t normal to feel this rickety. 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 all 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 (this was a decade ago, guys!) and I was lunging toward my computer screen with rounded shoulders.
These symptoms, I learned, were caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, and for me, it was just the beginning.
You guys, I was considering wrist surgery. That’s how much this 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, 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 would return.
Today, thanks to the wrist stretches and rolls below, as well as some 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.
Try the wrist stretches and rolls below, which 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 and roll your shoulders down your back, stacking knees above ankles.
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 cycles of breath.
Turn your right hand so your fingertips face toward the ground this time, 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, Books-A-Million and the MSI Press website.