In the current day and age, using modern devices such as Smartphones, Tablets, iPods, etc have become part and parcel of everyone’s life. But along with it comes the unwanted side effects. Thanks to our constant typing and crunching up our fingers to e-mail, text, play games, etc, general digit discomfort is on the rise. Since we do this activity on a very regular basis, chances of Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) is very high. It could range from mild tendonitis to chronic issues like Trigger Finger or the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Trigger finger is a swelling of the tendon or tendon sheath in the palm of the hand of the tendons that bend the fingers. This swelling prevents the tendon from gliding smoothly through the sheath and the “pulley” (ligament) which holds the tendon to the bone.
Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve, which runs from the forearm into the palm of the hand, becomes pressed or squeezed at the wrist. The median nerve controls sensations to the palm side of the thumb and fingers (although not the little finger), as well as impulses to some small muscles in the hand that allow the fingers and thumb to move. The carpal tunnel – a narrow, rigid passageway of ligament and bones at the base of the hand – houses the median nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the median nerve to be compressed. The result may be pain, weakness, or numbness in the hand and wrist, radiating up the arm.
The above issues start to exacerbate with age and hence you have to be extra cautious with such pains if you are above 40.
Some of the ways, you can avoid this is mentioned below:
– Try and avoid using the device for long hours, take regular breaks
– Relax yourself by freeing your hands and arms in a free swing position
– If you feel any numbness or swelling in your hands, you should stop using the phone and relax your hands in warm water for five to 10 minutes.
– Try not to bend their wrists backward for long periods and make conscious efforts to use different fingers, not only the index finger, and put the phone on the desk while texting
– You can wear splints to keep wrists straight and some anti-inflammation medicines are also helpful
– The following exercises will also help in alleviating some of the pain:
o Place your right hand in front of you, like you are giving someone a hi-fi. Then rotate your hand clockwise so that the fingers are pointing down and the wrist is up. Hold on to your fingers with your left hand and pull fingers away from your wrist. Hold on for about 10 seconds. Repeat the same process on left side by rotating your hand counterclockwise instead.
o Bring your hands together in a prayer position in front of your chest, simply lower the hands down through the center of your chest and stomach, keeping hands pressed together. Repeat a few times.