Why do my wrists and forearms hurt after computer work? What stretches can I do to get rid of the pain?
You might think of an office job as not physically strenuous. What injury could you possibly get from sitting at a desk?
Actually, people who rely on electronics at work often complain about tension in the wrists and forearms. Some computer and office work activities that contribute to compression and inflammation in this area include:
- Using a mouse or touchpad
- Typing with the wrists at an unnatural angle (i.e. with wrists dropped)
- Working for long periods without breaks or stretching
- Carrying items or keeping the elbow bent at a 90 degree angle.
These activities cause inflammation in the tendons (attach muscle to bone), ligaments (attach bone to bone), and muscles. Stretching can sometimes help to alleviate pain by increasing flexibility and reducing tension in the muscles, both of which will decrease strain on the tendons.
Try the following stretches a few times a day to 1) relieve pain and 2) prevent minor injuries from becoming chronic.
- Start standing with your hands in a prayer position in front of the chest
- While keeping your palms pressed together, begin to lower your hands
- Once your hands have reached waist-level, you should feel a stretch in your wrists
- Hold for 3-5 breaths, or as long as feels nice
- Start kneeling on the floor
- Make fists of your hands, put your knuckles together, and place the backs of the hands on the floor (the elbows will be bent)
- While keeping the knuckles together and the backs of the hands pressing down, slowly start to straighten the arms
- You should feel a stretch in the tops of the forearms (the part of the arm with hair)
- Hold for 3 to 5 breaths, or rock slowly from side-to-side if it feels nice
- An effective stretch that also challenges your body-awareness!
- Stretch your arms in front of you. If you find yourself mixed up between left and right, try putting an elastic around your right wrist.
- Cross the right arm (blue elastic) over the left and turn the palms to face each other; interlace the fingers
- Relax the right hand (blue elastic) and keep the right arm straight. Bending the left elbow, use the left hand to pull the right palm (blue elastic) downwards
- You should feel a gentle stretch in the top, upper forearm (the arm with the elastic).
If you found these stretches useful or fun, please like or leave a comment below! I’d love to hear what you thought and if they worked for you – I’m happy to answer any questions you have!