Learn how self-massage and stretching can stop repetitive motions from becoming repetitive stress injuries!
Repetitive stress (or strain) injuries are among the most common causes of workers compensation claims. Computer workers are especially prone to overuse of specific body parts, most commonly wrists, and hands, but also, elbows, shoulders and necks.
Here are a few simple ideas anyone can use to help stop repetitive stress and strain before it stops them! (If you already have a problem, check with your doctor first!)
Take a break from your chair at least every hour. Stand up, and with your fingers interlaced, put your hands above your head, palms facing upward, and reach for the sky. Hold the stretch for five seconds and then release it. Shake out your arms and wrists. Do a couple of wrists circles. Repeat twice.
Shoulder shrugs relieve tightness in the shoulders and neck. Stand up, arms hanging loosely at your sides. Bring your shoulders up towards your ears until you feel tension. Hold for three to five seconds. Relax and let your shoulders go. Repeat two or three times.
Stretch out both hands. Spread your fingers wide. Hold for five seconds. Relax. Repeat three to five times.
Do Thumb Thing!
Stretch out one hand. Using your opposite hand, pull back on your thumb, gently, until you feel tension and hold for three seconds. Relax. Repeat three to five times with each hand.
Use your opposite hand to very gently pull back the fingers on one hand, stretching the soft tissue muscles and ligaments in your wrist. Hold the stretch for three seconds. Switch to the other hand. Repeat three to five times.
It’s always a good idea to make sure your keyboard and monitor are positioned for ergonomic excellence. There are plenty of resources on the Internet that can help.
If you are already experiencing numbness, tingling, intermittent pain in the hands, wrists, forearms, neck or back, or other symptoms of repetitive motion disorder, a regular massage regimen may keep it from getting worse.