We use our hands for a multitude of tasks, including playing our instruments. Often we take our hands for granted. Here are some ways to take better care of them.
We put so much pressure on our hands and our wrists and often don’t think about the gauntlet of the work that we put our hands through. Our hands often come in direct contact with our instruments! From picking up heavy instruments and bags, our hands can suffer damage, strains, sprains, and overuse.
Recently, I’ve dealt with a bout of carpal tunnel. One of the ways to prevent carpal tunnel and other symptoms of overuse is to minimize repetitive movements. Do you change up how you hold a heavy bag? Do you stretch your hands after playing the drums? Do you sit at your computer correctly and type with your wrists raised or use a wrist rest? If not, then it’s time to invest in a bit of self-maintenance.
Use light weights of five to eight pounds for bicep curls. Keep the feet hip distance apart, knees slightly bent, elbows tucked in at the hips. Do slow reps for 30 seconds—two counts up to the shoulders and two counts down to the thighs. Speed up the reps to one count up and one count down. Alternate curls for 10 more seconds. Take the hands down to the thighs for two counts and bring up halfway to hip level for two counts and repeat for 30 seconds. Take the hands up to the shoulders for two counts and down to the hips for two counts and repeat for 30 seconds. Throughout this bicep set, make sure not to break at the wrist. Your arm should be long and straight from the elbow to the fingertips to strengthen the tiny muscles in the wrists.
Put the weights down and stand up straight with your arms down by your sides and your feet hip distance apart, keeping the knees slightly bent. Make your hands into fists and roll the wrists out for 30 seconds. Repeat going the other direction.
Wraps and Guards
If you suffer a strain or sprain or are dealing with carpal tunnel, you can use a wrap or various types of hand guards. If it’s mild, try sleeping with your wrist wrapped. If it’s a more severe injury, you should seek medical attention.
Manicures and Massages
When I was dancing more frequently, I would get at least one pedicure a month. I considered it maintenance. Not only was it relaxing, but also my feet would be massaged, calluses removed, and nails trimmed up, and I would feel good about my “instrument.”
Manicures can do the same thing for your hands, especially if you’re dealing with calluses or dry skin. I love a good paraffin treatment. Add in a nice hand massage, and you’re golden.
Getting your hands massaged should absolutely be considered injury prevention. There are so many tiny muscles and bones in your wrists and your hands, so it’s very important to give your hands a bit more attention.