Muscle Strain & Fatigue from Computer Use: Arms, Hands and Wrists


So far, we’ve talked about good posture and stretching of the neck and shoulders. We trust that you’re all doing that faithfully, now – taking breaks and being good to yourselves, right? (smile) But we have not yet touched upon your hands, wrist and arms (bet they’re tight too, huh?).

How do you keep them relaxed and free of impingement?

Even if we get the neck and shoulders loose, we can really be crippled by the tension in our hands and forearms, making them feel as if they’re just not working any more. Massage therapists can even suffer from this same type of muscle fatigue and injury. Because of the damage that can be caused by repetitive motions, it’s critically important for bodyworkers to continuously stretch and massage our hands and forearms to keep them supple and free of injury.

The same is true for consistent computer work, which also requires continual, repetitive use of hands and wrist muscles, while rarely taking breaks to bring back circulation to the hands and forearms. Although the tips given in Post #1 in this series (regarding rest periods) are good, more is required to keep you arms, hands and wrists in good working condition and pain-free.

This wonderful exercise was taught to us, years ago, as a solution for our own tendinitis (not bodywork related!) and it too, can be done while on the way to the water cooler or the bathroom or the break room. This simple exercise can be done bilaterally (or each arm at a time).

  • Start with your arms at your side, relaxed, with palms facing forward
  • Rotate your hand inward (moving your thumb in towards your body and around until it is facing backwards) and all the way until your hand faces away from your body
  • While keeping your elbow straight, make a fist and flex your wrist upward. Be sure to keep your shoulders relaxed.
  • Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and release
  • Massage your forearm with opposite hand, then shake it out

You will feel this stretch, mostly, in your forearm, around the elbow, where the problems begin. If you need help visualizing this stretch, please ask us to demonstrate it, on your next visit.

Sometimes you need more than just a good stretch, if you’d like to start with a clean slate, working out those muscle knots, kinks and quirks — give us a call to make an appointment. We’re always happy to get you feeling good again. You can then apply these stretches —  to keep you in optimum condition and enjoying life.

Here are few more stretches to get and keep things stretched and moving:

Yoga Desk Stretches for Carpal Tunnel: Yoga Therapist, Sherry Smith shows you how to complete some simple stretches.

In this video, Yoga Therapist, Sherry Smith demonstrates more stretches to relieve carpal tunnel syndrome and proper workstation posture.

Happy stretching!