If you work in eCommerce, it is almost guaranteed you work on a computer all day. If you are like me, you are at the computer all day at work and then maybe a few hours at home in addition to work. All this repetitive movement that your hands and wrists do can be really wearing and painful. Even more so if you have experienced an injury to your hand (I've personally had over 50 stitches between both my hands). Experiencing pain while trying to work can affect your performance and ultimately lead to long term injury, neither of which is good for you or the company.
Through my therapy sessions and experience I have various exercises that can be done to help cope with the repetitive strain that comes with using computers at work and home. These exercises focus on flexion, extension and stretching.
Flexion is when you curl your fingers or make a fist. When typing at a computer one is naturally flexing their fingers when pushing down on the keys. To work on flexion the following are available:
- Hand Grips: A hand grip is a spring with two handles that you squeeze together. They come in many different resistance levels. I like doing a set of 20 in each hand once a day.
- Squeeze Toys: These are easy to get at conferences, they make great swag and companies will gladly hand out a squeeze balls with their logo on it.
Extension is when you straighten your hand and fingers, it is the opposite of flexion. Since typing uses flexion more than extension it is important to work on extending your fingers to keep a healthy balance. To work on extending your fingers:
- Rubber Bands: One wouldn't really think about it but rubber bands are great for providing resistance. Just put the rubber band around the tips of your fingers and straighten them out. Double up or add more rubber bands to provide increased resistance.
- Therapy Putty: Also called “Thinking Putty” is good for extension and flexion. For flexion as you can squeeze it and for extension you put your fingers in the putty and press them forward.
Stretching increases flexibility and range of motion for your fingers and wrist. It also helps to prevent stiffness in your joints.
Of course, it’s important to meet with your doctor before starting any exercise program or if you are feeling pain. I have also found the following resources useful.