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5 Pain Relief Yoga Exercises For The Hands

Written by Dr. Jatin Bhide on Tue, 27 December 2022 — Fact checked by Blessing Ifunanya Maduelosi

Key Highlights

  • Deteriorating joint health is often a result of an underlying condition or some sort of injury.
  • Studies have shown that regularly doing stretching exercises improves the strength in your tendons and muscles.
  • While doing these exercises, it is important to keep in mind that all these are designed to lower pain in your hands and strengthen your joints.
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Ever woken up in the morning feeling a tingling sensation in your hands? Or heard your joints creak or felt a pricking pain on your palms as you clenched your fists? You choose to ignore it and head out for a busy day of work and meetings.

However, as you go through the day, the pain seems to worsen. Every handshake, every word typed, causes excruciating pain in your hands. Are you someone who relates to this scenario? If so, then we have some bad news for you.

The signs mentioned above could be an indication of worsening bone and joint health. Deteriorating joint health is often a result of an underlying condition or some sort of injury.

If not managed properly and promptly, it could severely affect the quality of your life. Before you know it, you'll have trouble performing simple tasks like getting a glass of water or brushing your teeth.

Bone and joint disorders usually worsen as you age. Hence, it is important that you need to bring healthy changes to your lifestyle with proper medical treatment. Including some light exercise and stretching go a long way in maintaining joint health.

Studies have shown that regularly doing stretching exercises improves the strength in your tendons and muscles, which helps stabilize the joint and improve its range of motion, and pain relief to a certain extent.

In this article below, we will look at 5 yoga exercises to make that joint pain go away.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

A for Arthritis

For those who do not know, arthritis is a painful condition that is characterized by swelling of the joints. When a person suffers from arthritis, their cartilage gets worn over time. Also, the soft lining of the bones that is responsible for the smooth movement of the joint also gets eroded. This causes the bones of the joint to rub against each other, which leads to pain, swelling, tenderness, and limited range of motion.

Arthritis can affect any part of the body; however, when it comes to the hands, the most common joints that are affected are the knuckles, the base of the thumb, and the first and second joints of the fingers. This makes hand exercises even more important.

Tendonitis

Tendonitis or swelling of the tendons or swelling of the tendon sheath, called tenosynovitis, is also some of the most common causes that can lead to pain and stiffness in the joints. Although these conditions can occur in any joint of the body, it is most commonly seen in the wrist and the fingers.

Although the exact reason behind the pain and swelling is unknown, experts believe it is because of overexertion and excessive exercise. People who play racket sports like tennis, squash, or badminton are more likely to suffer from this ailment.

Apart from the conditions mentioned above, several other ailments may also produce the same signs and symptoms. Some are more serious than others and would require prompt medical attention.

Nothing is a substitute for a competent professional diagnosis. So, if you ever feel any pain or discomfort in your hands for a prolonged period of time, visit your doctor immediately.

Exercise for your hands

1. Clench Those Fists!

  • This is a great way of improving your range of motion and strengthening your joints.
  • A low-intensity exercise that you can do anywhere and also helps you rectify any posture issues that you may be facing.

Here’s how to get the most out of this exercise:

  • Start by sitting cross-legged on a yoga mat, preferably. If one is not available, you can sit on the floor.
  • Remember that you keep your back straight and do not hunch forward.
  • If maintaining this posture is too difficult, then take the support of a wall.
  • After getting into this position, breathe in and raise both your arms up with your palms open till they are perpendicular to your torso.
  • Now, exhale and maintain this position for 2-3 seconds.
  • Maintain constant breathing.
  • Now, fold your thumb inwards and try to touch the tip of your thumb to the base knuckle of your pinky.
  • Having done this, fold all the remaining fingers inward like you are making a fist.
  • Hold this pose for 3-4 seconds before relaxing your fingers and opening your palms.
  • Repeat steps 7-9 at least 5 times before bringing down your arms.

Since this exercise involves maintaining good posture, it is also extremely beneficial in strengthening your muscles and reducing any pain in your back.

Try doing 2-3 sets of these daily to get your joints and life moving!

Pain Relief Exercises For The Hands

2. Go, Wrist Power!

Compromised wrist motion can really hinder your daily activities. Fortunately for you, there are several low-intensity exercises out there that you can try. The wrist rotation exercise mentioned below is one of our favorites! Be sure to give it a try.

  • Start by sitting cross-legged on a flat surface with your back straight.
  • If you find that difficult, you can take the support of a wall.
  • Clasp both your hands together and make sure they are in front of your chest.
  • Once done, rotate both your wrists clockwise 5-10 times and repeat the same in the anticlockwise direction.
  • Try and keep a steady pace for your rotations. Doing these too fast can cause your wrist more harm than good.

The following exercise works and strengthens the muscles and tendons around the wrist joint, thereby reinforcing the whole joint. Try doing 2-3 sets of clockwise and anticlockwise rotations to get that wrist power back!

3. Thumb Taps For The Win

A low-intensity, easy, and convenient exercise that flexes all the knuckles in your hand. For those who don’t know, arthritis usually occurs in the base of the thumb and the first two knuckles of the fingers. The following exercise helps reduce the pain. 

Here’s how to do it!

  • Start by stretching out your arm on a table or flat surface and keep your palm open and relaxed.
  • Try and touch the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb.
  • Hold for 2-3 seconds before returning to the original position.
  • Now, repeat the same process for all the remaining fingers.
  • You can do both hands at the same time or one after the other, depending on your comfort.

Repeat the entire process 3 times for both hands. A great exercise for hand arthritis, don’t you think so!

4. Rock Those Wrists

This is a more intensive type of exercise. So, ask for advice from your healthcare practitioner before you start doing this exercise.

Here’s how you do the exercise correctly.

  • Start by sitting upright on a chair or on the floor.
  • Place your palms face down on the ground and make sure not to put too much pressure on your wrists.
  • Sit upright, breathe in and tilt your body forward slightly so your forearms are ahead of your wrists.
  • Hold this position for 2-3 seconds, exhale, and return to the original position.
  • Now, inhale and lean back slightly so your forearms are behind your wrists.
  • Hold this position for 2-3 seconds, exhale, and return to the original position.
  • Repeat these steps 5-7 times.

This exercise puts your wrists in a back-and-forth motion thus strengthening the forearm muscles and reinforcing the wrist joint. Try doing 2 sets of this exercise daily.

5. Wrist Curls With A Twist

The traditional wrist curl is essentially an exercise that is used to work the forearm. However, with a simple addition, it can be used to help alleviate some of the pain in your hands.

Here’s how to do it with the correct form!

  • Start by stretching out your arm on a table or flat surface and keep your palm open and relaxed.
  • Now, gently fold your fingers and form a fist and curl your wrists towards yourself.
  • Hold this position for 3-4 seconds and relax back to the original position.
  • Repeat these steps 4-5 times at least.

While doing this you will feel your forearm muscles tightening and will in turn strengthen your wrists and fingers. Try doing 3 sets of this exercise daily.

Conclusion

While doing these yoga exercises for hands, it is important to keep in mind that all these are designed to effectively help manage pain in your hands and strengthen your joints.

If you feel more than tolerable pain in your hands, please do not continue doing them. Talk to your doctors before incorporating these exercises into your day-to-day life.

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Dr. Jatin Bhide

Dr Jatin Bhide is an Ayurvedic doctor with over 16 years of enriching experience in Marketing and Strategy across OTC/FMHG, herbal medicine and Nutraceuticals (Europe) industries. He did his Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (BAMS) from Mumbai University, before moving on to do a Post Graduate Diploma in Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Management.

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  1. Hand Pain and Problems. 
  2. Exercises for wrist, hand, and finger problems
  3. Williams MA et al. Strengthening And stretching for Rheumatoid Arthritis of the Hand (SARAH). A randomised controlled trial and economic evaluation. Health Technology Assessment (Winchester, England). 2015 Mar 1;19(19):1-222. 
  4. Yoga for Arthritis