Store shelves and wallets are emptying as everyone makes a mad dash for some last-minute gift-giving. With boxes coming in one after another you may find yourself in an endless cycle of lifting, cutting, folding, and taping. As you are working away like the elves at the North Pole, you may find yourself experiencing some wrist or elbow pain. Pain on the lateral, or outside of your elbow, commonly known as tennis elbow, can occur with overuse. Repetitive elbow and wrist use can result in tissue irritation to the tendons and muscles. Symptoms of tennis elbow, formally known as lateral epicondylitis, include pain to the outside of the elbow or into the forearm, tenderness to touch, or swelling into the elbow. Check out these top 5 exercises guaranteed to up your gift wrapping game
Wrap Presents Like a Pro With These Top 5 Holiday Exercises
1. Wrist Extensor Stretch: Start by sitting up tall, or standing and hold your arm straight out in front of you. (If holding your arm is uncomfortable, rest your arm on the table for support.) Bend your wrist, pointing your fingers towards the floor. Using your other hand gently apply pressure on your hand to increase the bending of your wrist. The stretch should be felt in your forearm but should not be painful. Hold this stretch for 10 seconds and perform 10 times.
2. Wrist Flexor Stretch: Start by sitting up tall, or standing. Hold your arm straight out in front of you. (If holding your arm is uncomfortable, rest your arm on the table for support.) Bend your wrist, pointing your fingers towards the ceiling. Using your other hand, apply gentle pressure to your hand to increase the stretch. You should be feeling it in your forearm. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and do 10 times.
3. Ball Squeeze: Start by sitting up tall, or standing. Hold your arm straight out in front of you. (If holding your arm is uncomfortable, rest your arm on the table for support.) Take a tennis or foam ball in your hand. With each finger, squeeze down on the ball feeling each finger working. Hold the squeeze for 10 seconds feeling it in your forearm and do 10 times.
4: Shoulder Squeeze: Sitt up tall in a chair keeping your back nice and straight. Bend your elbows to your side. Squeeze your shoulders back and down away from your ears. (Thinking of pulling them to wrap around your spine). This should be felt at the muscles in between your shoulder blades. Hold the squeeze for 5 seconds and do 15 repetitions.
5. Bicep Curls: Stand up tall with your shoulders down away from your ears. Let your arms rest at your side with your palms facing out. Bend your elbows, bringing your wrist towards your shoulder, feeling the work in your bicep. Slowly lower your arms down at a controlled speed. Repeat this for 15 repetitions. To increase the intensity of the exercises, add light weights or soup cans. Make sure to not let your trunk rock back as you are bringing your arms back.
If you find that you are continuing to have pain in your elbow after trying these exercises, consider seeking professional help from a physical therapist or doctor. A physical therapist can work with you to figure out the cause of your pain and develop a program to make sure you succeed. Physical therapy is a great resource in managing multiple conditions throughout the body, including lateral epicondylitis. For more information on how Action Potential can help you, request an appointment today.