more info on Carpal Tunnel and for computer exercises:
here for a downloadable .pdf file showing pictures of upper body stretches
Stretching is a good way to help increase
your flexibility and reduce some of the physical effects of stress.
Never bounce while stretching. Move into and
out of each stretch slowly and fluidly, and hold each stretch steadily
for at least ten seconds.
You might feel some slight discomfort in the
area being stretched, but if it is painful stop immediately. Each person
is built differently and has different flexibility levels. Never push
your body further than it can comfortably and safely go.
- NECK STRETCH - This is a four count stretch. Lift your head to a neutral position
between each count; do not roll your neck.
- Put your chin to your chest, and let gravity
pull the weight of your head forward. You should feel the stretch
in the back of your neck.
- Let your head drop to the right toward
your shoulder. Again, let gravity pull the weight of your head down.
You will feel the stretch in the left side of your neck.
- Drop your head to the back, so that you
are looking up. You should feel the stretch in the front of your neck.
- Finally, let your head fall toward the
left shoulder, so that you feel the stretch on the right side of your
- SHOULDER STRETCH
Take your right hand and, going over your shoulder, place it as far
down your back as possible.
Place your left hand on your right elbow and push backward.
(You should feel the stretch in your right shoulder area. )
Switch arms and repeat.
- UPPER ARM STRETCH
Cross your right arm across your chest toward your left side, keeping
your elbow straight.
With the inside of your left elbow or your left hand, push your right
arm back toward your body.
(You should feel the stretch in your right upper arm and shoulder.
Switch arms and repeat.
- UPPER BACK STRETCH
Clasp your hands together in front of your body.
Straighten your elbows, keeping your hands clasped and your palms
Let your shoulders shift forward, and push your hands out away from
(You should feel a stretch in your upper back area.)
- CHEST STRETCH
Clasp your hands together behind your back, with your palms together.
Keeping your elbows straight, lift your hands out and up behind you
as far as possible. (You should be able to feel the stretch in your
shoulders and chest. )
For a deeper stretch, bend over at the waist, with your arms above
you and elbows still straight.
Let gravity pull your arms as far as possible.
Slowly stand up and release your hands.
- ABDOMEN STRETCH
Clasp your hands together above your head.
Straighten your arms up as much as possible, and pull your hands away
from your body.
You may bend back slightly to deepen the stretch.
(You should feel the stretch in your abdomen area.)
- SIDE STRETCH
Clasp your hands together over your head with your arms slightly bent.
Facing forward, bend to the right at the waist.
(You should feel the stretch on the right side of your torso.)
Return to the standing position with your hands above your head, and
do the same to the left.
- LOWER BACK STRETCH
Start in a seated position, with your legs out in front of you.
Bend your right knee to a 90 degree angle, and place your right foot
on the outer side of your left leg so that your right leg is crossed
over your left. Your left leg should remain straight.
Twist your torso to the right, placing your left elbow on the outside
of your right knee.
Push your elbow against your knee as leverage to deepen the stretch
(You should feel the stretch in your lower back.)
Release and switch sides.
--Written by Blythe Leszkay, J.D.
here for more stretches from:
Working Safely: Tips For The Office - The
following tips can help you avoid CTS:
- Make sure you are positioned properly at your computer. The computer
screen should be about two feet away from you and the top of your
document should be equal to or just below your line of sight.
- Set up your keyboard so it is flat rather than slanted down.
You can use a three-quarter inch support under the keyboard to accomplish
- Keep your wrists straight, your forearms parallel to the floor
and your elbows bent at right angles while typing.
- Movable forearm rests that attach to the chair or a wrist rest
to put in front of the keyboard can help keep your wrists straight
and in place. However, you should never place your wrists on the pad
while you work. Always let them hover about a half-inch above it.
- You know your chair is the perfect height if you can sit at
your computer with your knees bent at right angles and your feet flat
on the floor.
- Rest your wrists when you are not typing.
- Take frequent short breaks. Several brief respites do your wrists
a lot more good than a single long one.
- Stretch your wrists before you start to work and during breaks,
and strengthen your wrists with exercise.
- Exercise regularly. Overall body conditioning seems to help guard
against repetitive motion injuries.
REPETITIVE MOTION INJURY - WHERE
TO LEARN MORE
What is a repetitive motion injury?
Injuries from such activities as word processing, scanning groceries
and grasping tools are called repetitive motion injuries, and they are
the leading cause of absence from work in the United States. The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that repetitive motion
injuries are caused by excessive and repeated physical stress on the
musculoskeletal system - the hands, wrists, elbow, shoulders, neck and back (http://www.cdc.gov/od/ohs/Ergonomics/ergodef.htm).
These injuries often affect people who do work such as sewing, typing
or playing an instrument, using computers and interpreting.
What types of injuries are considered repetitive motion
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
lists a variety of repetitive motion disorders, including carpal tunnel
syndrome, bursitis, tendonitis, epicondylitis, ganglion cyst, tenosynovitis
and trigger finger
What is carpal tunnel syndrome?
As the familydoctor.org article "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Preventing
the Pain in Your Hands and Wrists" (http://familydoctor.org/023.xml)
explains, carpal tunnel syndrome is a common type of repetitive motion
injury. The symptoms are pain of the wrist and hand. The carpal tunnel
is a narrow tunnel formed by the bones and other tissues in the wrist.
When the tunnel tissues are swollen and inflamed, it can cause pain
and numbness. If you have wrist pain, check out the flowchart at http://familydoctor.org/526.xml.
This flowchart will help you determine the likely cause of the pain,
which will help you determine whether or not you need to seek medical
How can I prevent this type of injury?
The CDC discusses a discipline called ergonomics, which is designed
to remove these stresses from an employee's workspace. Ergonomics is
used to fit the person into his or her environment in order to prevent
repetitive motion injuries
The CDC also provides a checklist so that you can evaluate your work
area (http://www.cdc.gov/od/ohs/PDFFILES/evalcheck.pdf ; More information
What changes should I make in my work space?
The CDC offers advice such as leaving yourself enough room for a full
range of motion, properly adjusting your chair, positioning your monitor
so the top of your screen is at eye level, properly adjusting the keyboard
to prevent soft tissue injuries, using the correct pointing device (whether
a mouse or a trackball), and reducing the stress and strain inherent
in laptop computers
The CDC also recommends taking a break every 20 to 40 minutes to rest
your upper body and eyes.
Are there any exercises I can do to help prevent an injury?
The CDC lists exercises, such as the hand shake and wrist shake, to
help prevent problems and keep you limber at your keyboard
(http://www.cdc.gov/od/ohs/PDFFILES/exercises.pdf ; More information
Can these injuries be treated?
NINDS reports that most people with repetitive motion disorders have
a complete recovery and can avoid future injuries by changing the way
and frequency with which they perform repetitive movements, and the
amount of time they rest between movements. However, NINDS cautions
that, left untreated, repetitive motion injuries can result in permanent
injury and complete loss of function