In part one of “the desk job”, we discussed the common issue of upper back pain: how to treat it, and how to prevent it. Now let’s talk about your arms, wrists and hands. Repetitive use of a keyboard or a mouse can lead to issues in the hands, including: discomfort, pain, weakness, stiffness, numbness or tingling. One of the main reasons is the constant contraction of the muscles in the forearm as you work at your computer. The same process of fascia build-up that happens in your back also occurs in the forearms. Your body’s natural response to muscles in constant contraction is to wrap them in connective tissue (fascia) to hold them in place. Unfortunately, as the muscles of the forearm are wrapped up in this way, blood flow to the hands is significantly reduced and many of the issues listed above ensue. There are many ways you can counter the effects of long hours at a keyboard thus preventing dysfunction.
The Desk Job: Part 2
First: Forearm stretches. Before you begin your day at the computer and throughout the day, extend your right arm forward with palm facing down. Pull your right hand down and back toward your body using the left hand and hold for 15-30 seconds. Then, keeping the right arm extended, flip the palm face up. With the left hand, pull the fingers and hand down and toward your body, holding for 15 to 30 seconds. Then use the other hand to repeat with the other arm. You can also use the opposite hand to assist in rolling the hand slowly around the wrist.
Second: The cold to hot forearm plunge. This home treatment is designed to drastically increase blood circulation in the forearms. It is especially effective after the myofascia has been released with an ashiatsu forearm treatment. Using a double sink, fill the first sink with cold water and the second with hot water from the faucet. The water is a safe temperature if it is no warmer than 112 degrees F. You can do one forearm at a time, or both at the same time if your sinks are large enough. Begin by submerging your right forearm into the cold water and holding it there for 15 to 20 seconds. When your forearm begins to ache a little bit from the cold then it is time to switch and submerge in the hot water sink and leave submerged for 30-45 seconds. When your forearm begins to heat up and feel the slightest bit uncomfortable you will know that it is time to pull out. Repeat with the other forearm if you were doing one arm at a time. Repeat the process for 3 rounds making sure to start with cold and end the treatment with heat. The reason for this order is the cold dip is forcing the blood to evacuate the area and the hot water is forcing fresh blood back into the area. The result is healthy blood-flow through the forearms and hands.
Third: The Ashiatsu Forearm Flush. If you are already experiencing any of the symptoms of fascia build up listed above or if you feel like you spend long hours at the computer, request this special forearm treatment at your next session!