We live in an age where a huge percent of the population works long hours performing repetitive tasks with their hands. Those who work in occupations such as manufacturing, computers/typing, music, carpentry, and other jobs that require extensive use of the hands, they are the ones who hold the highest risk of developing a musculoskeletal condition in their hands (or another form of painful hand disorder). 25% of all computer operators have Carpal Tunnel Syndrom. In fact, carpal tunnel syndrome is the #1 reported medical complaint and accounts for almost 50% of all work-related injuries.
Even those who have not had long careers working with their hands may develop some form of arthritis in their hands, and the risk grows higher as we age. Of those who experience symptoms of arthritis, hand pain is a common issue for many. At least 3 million arthritis patients report that they have difficulty grasping objects with their hands.
Since pain in the hand can come from many sources, many people are keeping their hands fit and healthy by performing small hand exercises throughout the day. These exercises include finger bends, thumb and hand presses, stretching, flexing. Basically, there are many ways to strengthen the hands.
These exercises also help regulate and improve blood circulation in the hands. Healthy blood circulation not only prevents swelling but also eases joint pain and reduces the risk of skin irritation or infection. There is also equipment you can use such as a stress ball, hand press (grippers), rubber finger bands, and low-weight dumbbells/kettlebells to help improve strength, dexterity, gripping ability, and reduce stiffness or soreness.
Hand exercises are definitely not the only approach you should consider; there are a variety of ways to make your hands healthy. They also may not be ideal for those who are currently experiencing hand pain so severe that it is hard to perform exercises with them. If this is the case, it is recommended to do exactly as your doctor instructs. These exercises are, however, great for keeping the hands limber and in shape, preventing a whole world of painful disorders that may arise later in life.
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*(Statistics from Bureau of Labor and Statistics and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
*Hootman JM, Helmick CG, Barbour KE, Theis KA, Boring MA. Updated projected prevalence of self-reported doctor-diagnosed arthritis and arthritis-attributable activity limitation among US adults, 2015-2040. Arthritis & Rheumatology. 2016 Mar 25