Gardening, golfing, bike riding, home renovations and repairs.....these summer activities all have one thing in common: they require healthy functioning hands with good grip and a full range of motion. Carpal tunnel syndrome, Dupuytren’s contracture, arthritis, and various repetitive stress injuries not to mention general pain, numbness and tingling of the hands, can inhibit our daily activities and put a damper on doing those things we love to do.
Fortunately, there are some simple exercises that can help mitigate pain and return our hands to healthy functioning (see figures 1-3).
Figure 1: Open your hand as much as possible. Hold open for 6 breaths. Rest. Repeat twice on each hand.
Figure 2: On a low table, or on the floor (you’ll have to kneel if you do it on the floor) position your hand with the fingertips facing towards your body and your palm facing up. Lean far forward and keep your elbow straight. With your wrist planted firmly on the table (or floor), begin to move your body back, keeping your elbow straight. You will feel a stretch in your elbow, forearm, wrist and/or hand.
Figure 3: Same as Figure 2 but this time the palm is facing down. Repeat as with Figure 2.
Hands contain many small bones that are activated by an equal number of muscles. If the bones become compressed, the nerves between them will be compromised, and pain ensues. Our goal with these stretches is to keep the muscles resilient, the bones separated from one another, and the pathways of the nerves, blood and lymph open and free.