3 Stretches to Improve Hand Mobility While Driving
Pain can halt any job dead in its tracks. But when you are a truck driver the last thing you need is to come to a dead stop. Having a good grip is one of the number one things a truck driver needs. Why? Because controlling that 18 wheeler while out on the open road requires several things, one is gripping the steering wheel. Having good hand mobility includes your fingers, wrists and arms.
Sure it may seem insignificant, but not being able to grip the steering wheel, ratchet down your load, or open your truck door all require your hands to work properly.
If you find daily tasks difficult to do because you suffer from stiffness, swelling, or pain in your hands, the right exercises can help get you back in motion.
Repetitive strain injuries are not just for those who type on a computer or hold a hammer. Continuously holding your steering wheel in a particular way can also cause pain and discomfort. And the lack of having full range of motion regularly is a big part of the problem with anyone with hand and wrist issues.
Taking a time out and stretching your fingers, hands, and wrists is one of the best ways to keep pain and discomfort at bay and increase hand mobility and function.
Below you will find five commonly recommended exercises for hand and wrist problems. However, if your hand condition is painful or debilitating, it’s best to get exercise advice from a physical therapist. All exercises should be done slowly and deliberately, to avoid pain and injury. If you feel numbness or pain during or after exercising, stop and contact your doctor.
FINGER AND HAND STRETCHES:
Most of the time the only way we are moving our fingers is into flexion. AKA curling them into the grip. When you repeatedly do something over and over you create a pattern. Like driving a dirt bike on the grass over and over, you eventually create a dirt path within the grassy ground.
TRY THIS: Open and outstretch your hand as wide as you can. Look at it from the side and see if all of your fingers straighten up. Is it hard to do? When is the last time you stretched (extended) those joints? Did something that didn’t require you to “grip”?
PRO TIP: Twice a day stretch your fingers, you can pull back on each finger one at a time. Or you can also use the steering wheel and stretch each finger again the wheel. Try to hold the stretch for at least 10-20 seconds each.
WRIST AND HAND STRETCHES:
Most of us have jobs where we use our body by folding inward. Bending forward. Rounding forward. Gripping. Internally rotating. Not only does this create patterns in our body to where we start to stand, sit, move and exercise with those patterns, it also plays a negative role in how we feel. Closing off the chest, can increase anxiety, depression and decrease breathing.
When it comes to the wrists we need to reverse it. if you want to increase hand mobility and if you suffer from tennis elbow, wrist strain, or even shoulder strain, a little extension in the wrists could bring relief.
TRY THIS: Next time you are standing next to your truck, a wall, or even use the steering wheel, turn your forearm up and stretch your palm/wrist out. Try to keep the fold of the elbow facing upward and if you are using your truck, lean your elbow into your body to brace the stretch. If you are in your truck create a full extension on your elbow and keep the eye (the fold) of the elbow facing upward.
PRO TIP: Do this at least twice a day and try to hold this for 30 seconds to one minute. You may notice a ripping like feeling. Don’t be alarmed, that is the fascia of the body stretching and releasing. Think of it like fuzz melting off. If you haven’t melted the fuzz in a while, it’s going to be sticky!
SHOULDER & UPPER ARM STRETCH:
When there is physical pain, oftentimes those in pain only look to where they “feel” pain as the culprit of the pain. But when it comes to the shoulder, elbow, and wrist, any one of the three just listed can cause another pain. So next time your wrist or hand is giving you grief, look up a little higher to the shoulder. Tennis elbow? Could be the shoulder to blame. Hand mobility doesn’t just mean you have a hand issue, neighboring body parts can be to blame.
TRY THIS: Next time you are waiting to load or unload, have a little downtime or are on break, try this quick and easy shoulder and upper arm stretch. Simple cross one arm in front of your chest and latch it in with the other, hugging it tightly. Try to straighten the arm that is laying across your chest to increase the stretch. Hold it for at least 30 seconds. And then repeat the opposite side.
PRO TIP: While stretching, it is important to try to relax your shoulders and breathe deeply. Hold the stretch until the initial pain drops at least in half. Look towards the stretching arms side to get the neck involved as well.
Don’t let pain be the reason you stop doing what you love. Or keep you from your job. Taking preventative measures is one of the best ways to keep your body working with you and not against you. Regular stretching not only is good for the body, but it releases endorphins to the brain and leaves you happier and healthier.
The next time your wrists and hands start calling a TIME OUT, remember these simple easy stretches you can do no matter where the open road takes you.
And don’t forget about our Stiff Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream, perfect to use after you stretch your hands, wrists, and arms. Stiff Mother Trucker Pain Relief Cream was specifically formulated for professional truck drivers to meet their body’s pain in contact. We believe that every driver can feel better wherever they are with simple easy stretches and practices, one of them being pain relief cream.
No matter where you are, on the road or at home, remember there are simple and easy things you can do today to start to feel your best.
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