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Workplace Wellness: Gentle stretches for the hands, wrists and forearms to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome

It’s not uncommon to experience tension or discomfort in the fingers, hands and wrists from overuse, small injuries or aging.

This is one part of the body, just like the feet and ankles, that often gets neglected. And if you spend a lot of time at a computer, just think about how much work your fingers and hands are required to do every day. Estimates suggest that if you type 40 words a minute, you press 12,000 keys per hour, or 96,000 keys in an 8-hour day.

There are many possible reasons you may be experiencing discomfort in this area, so it’s best to talk to your doctor to get a diagnosis before beginning any new exercise program and to stop if you are feeling any pain.

One of the most common overuse issues is carpal tunnel syndrome, which is caused by pressure on the median nerve in the wrist, resulting in tingling, numbness, weakness or pain in the fingers and hand.

According to the American College of Rheumatology, carpal tunnel affects between 4 and 10 million Americans. There are different ways to treat carpal tunnel, such as with rest and splinting, medication, activity changes, a therapeutic and rehabilitative exercise program, or sometimes surgery.

In this video, Lead Instructor Trainer Saulo Ouverney, who also teaches the STOTT PILATES® Injuries and Special Populations course, demonstrates some stretches that you can incorporate into your day to give your hands and wrists a break from texting, typing and planking.

Start these stretches slowly and ease up if you feel any discomfort or pain.

Remember, health experts suggest you talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

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