All parts of your body are involved in typing – your brain, your eyes, the muscles of your shoulder and back and legs, and even your ears if you’re doing dictation or listening for the ‘ding’ of your computer’s automatic spell-check feature that helps you quickly correct your mistakes. But the parts that do the most work, and suffer the most stress, are your hands and fingers. If you spend long hours each day typing, it’s important to take regular breaks to keep the circulation of air and blood going strongly through your body, and to rest your eyes as well as stretch out your muscles. If you find that your hands are starting to cramp or ache, you can try some quick hand massage techniques to help loosen muscles and tendons.
Start by making small circles with the flat of your thumb around the palm of your other hand. Keep that hand relaxed while you do the massage. Use enough pressure to reach deep muscles, but not so much that you’re causing yourself more pain. Make circles over the base of the thumb on that hand, and be sure to massage the thick pad of muscle between the thumb and forefinger. Turn your hand over and continue to use the thumb of the other hand, massaging these muscles at the base of your thumb and up to the webbing.
Move to the thumb itself, and use the thumb and fingers of your other hand to massage it from the base of the thumb to the thumbnail, on both sides. Do the same for each of your other fingers, then work your way back to the thumb again. As you move back to the thumb, take a minute to massage the webbing between each of your fingers.
Gently pull your thumb from base to tip, helping to elongate the muscles and stretch the tendons. Do this for each of the fingers. Some people may find that this causes their joints to “pop” as the fingers are stretched; in general, this is just a sound that is made by a bubble of gas escaping from the synovial fluid around the joint (a natural process) or of a ligament snapping back into place. However, if there is pain when your joints “pop” then don’t do this part of the exercise, and check with your doctor, as this often indicates arthritis.
Switch hands and repeat the massage. When you get used to the process, you’ll find it’s something that you can do even while standing or walking, so you could combine a quick hand massage with a break from sitting at your desk, which will be good for you all over.
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