Stretch Your Technology Hands

Vol. 16 No. 4

PSN eletter vol15 no4 lobsterhands

If you use a smart phone, a trackpad on a laptop, or a computer mouse—(and, let’s be honest, of course you use at least one of those things, if not all of them, daily)—you could be developing Technology Hand.

Technology Hand is caused by the constant “pinching” position the hands are held in while using a mouse, a trackpad, or from holding a smart device. Our bodies respond to repetitive use, conforming to make the tasks we do most often that much easier. It’s pretty remarkable if you think about it. However, Technology Hand can make life away from the office and unplugged difficult.

Technology Hand changes how the hand aligns with the forearm and wrist, essentially altering how the hand performs. If you practice yoga, you might start to notice how difficult it is to rest your palms flat against the ground during downward dog, for instance. Instead, you have to turn your hands outward or balance yourself on your thumb joint and finger tips. This is a clear sign that your body is misaligned. For those not interested in yoga, you might notice your biceps and triceps becoming fatigued during regular tasks, or increased shoulder and pectoral strain.

These misalignments of the hand, wrist, and forearm will eventually also affect the shoulder joint, increasing tension in the shoulders, neck, and upper back. Turns out there are some serious down sides to technology! Good news is, there are some simple hand stretches that can help reverse the damage from our smart phones, laptops, and computer mice.

Here are some exercises you can do right at your desk.

  • Cut a slit into a tennis ball to make it easier to squeeze and alternate hands, squeezing 10 times in each.
  • Using one hand, roll clay or dough into a medium-sized ball between your straightened palm and your desk. Then, keeping your hand straight, flatten the ball. Alternate hands.
  • Use your hand to slowly pull back each finger and thumb, holding for five seconds. After each has been stretched, make a tight fist, holding for five seconds.
  • With hand open and facing down, move wrist from side to side, holding each rotation for 10 seconds.
  • Holding upper part of hand with your other hand, slowly bend the wrist down and upward until the stretch is felt at each extreme.

For you multi-media loving readers, WebMD has a slideshow with ten exercises for hands and fingers.

Additional resources:
RobbWolf.com; “Technology Hand” Is Destroying Your Upper Body Strength, written by Kate Galliett

Additional ISM articles of interest
The Source for Business and Operations Vol. 12 No. 4 Whose Responsibility is Health Care?
The Source for Private School News Vol. 12 No. 3 De-Stressing in the Office

Additional articles of interest for Gold members
I&P Vol. 27 No. 6 Keep Ergonomics in Mind When Integrating ClassroomTechnology

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