Hand Exercises for Multiple Sclerosis – As per NMSS – National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, and legs are the earliest symptoms of MS – multiple sclerosis. These symptoms affecting the hands can also include pain, tremors, muscle weakness, and problems with hand-eye coordination.
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The leading cause behind all these symptoms is the disruption in the communication between the central nervous system i.e., the brain, and the spinal cord, with the sensory nerves in the hands. Hands play a vital role in our daily life, and if there is a disturbance with the hands, it can affect our day-to-day tasks such as getting dressed, writing, typing, grasping, or picking up objects, thus making our life very disturbing.
That’s why we have come up with some best hand exercises for multiple sclerosis, strengthening your hand muscles and increasing their flexibility. These exercises will also help stimulate the nerves to help with sensation, focusing on maximizing the range of motion to maintain the best functioning of your hands and enjoy your day-to-day activities.
Finger Flexion and Extension
The main focus of this Finger Flexion and Extension exercise is to increase the range of motion and strength of the muscles of the hands. To perform these hand exercises, you have to
- Start with bending the fingers of one hand toward the palm to make a fist,
- Now straighten your fingers and stretch your hands,
- You can start with one set of 10 reps initially,
- And the increase to two reps a day.
Finger Abduction and Adduction
Finger Abduction and Adduction hand exercises can help increase the range and the motion of the hand’s muscles. To perform this exercise, you can start by,
- Straight the fingers and thumb of your one hand,
- Now spread all the fingers apart and then squeeze them,
- After that, do the same with your second hand.
- You can start it by performing 3-5 reps a day,
- And then increase to 10-15 a day gradually.
Finger Pinch hand exercises are efficient as it helps us to pick and hold small objects like coins and buttons effectively. To perform this exercise,
- Start by rolling a washcloth or putty into a tube shape,
- Now use your index finger or thumb and pinch along the tube from one to another end,
- You can also do this exercise from the thumb to each finger to improve your range of motion and coordination,
- You should perform this exercise 3-5 times a day with each hand and,
- Then increase for 10-15 reps a day.
As the name indicates, you need rice in these types of hand exercises, and this is not a joke. Rice exercise is a well-known exercise in baseball. The main goal of these hand exercises is to strengthen and stimulate the senses of the hands.
- To perform this exercise, you need a bucket full of rice,
- Now place your hand in that bucket and start the exercise by opening and closing your hands in various directions as
- Firstly, Plam facing each other,
- Then facing away from each other,
- Now palm facing your body,
- And lastly, palm facing away from your body.
You can also rotate your hands in clockwise and anticlockwise directions to perform these hand exercises.
Movement Therapy, or ‘Piano Hands’
This Movement Therapy, or ‘Piano Hands’ exercise, focuses on building coordination and strengthening muscles. To perform these hand exercises,
- Start by sitting up tall on a chair with the face to a desk or table,
- Now place your palms and hands down on the edge of that desk while your forearms should be hanging,
- Start the exercise by lifting your finger up and down, but one finger at a time,
- You can even do this to real music by playing piano for 20-30 seconds.
- This exercise will be similar to typing on a keyboard.
There are various hand exercises, including physical or occupational therapy, which you try, such as playing cards, doing crafts that require dexterity, playing video games, typing at your computer keyboard, and organizing your kitchen drawers or desk. Performing this exercise for a certain amount of time will help you build coordination and strengthen the muscles of your hands.
The simplest way to engage your hands is to perform as many tasks as you can using your hands, such as picking up coins from the table, writing a note, dressing, bathing, using lotion, and preparing a meal or you can also play board games, building models, or functional activities like sorting nuts and bolts and organizing “junk drawers” in your home.
These exercises will not remove the pains of your hands, but stretching your hands will help increase the blood flow of your hands and help in increasing the movements and tightness of your hands. So start following these hand exercises today to increase the flexibility and strength of your hands.