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Tip: Use two hands for your smartphone to avoid injury

The allure of the smartphone is the ability to use it with one hand (typing with your thumb) while out and about, multitasking, holding a shopping bag, a work bag, a baby, etc. However, this also creates unnecessary stress and strain on your tendons, ligaments, and joints—contributing to pain, numbness and tingling. Putting your thumb in such an awkward position repetitively over time can eventually lead to tendonitis and arthritis.

The convenience of one hand use is simply not worth it in the end! Forget about convenience and think of your health instead. So start holding the smartphone in one hand and with the other hand alternate between thumb and index finger when typing responses to texts, creating messages, or browsing the web.

I recently upgraded my smartphone to one of the larger industry sizes (iPhone 6 Plus). At first I wasn’t happy with the large size, but I realized later that the size of the device was forcing me to use two hands to operate it. This was an unintended benefit and has eliminated any pain I was experiencing!

Yours in health,

Take Ergonomic “Microbreaks”

Working often places people in awkward postures throughout the day. Maintaining these postures and compressions can impede flow of blood, impinge nerves, and injure your soft tissue.

When typing or operating machinery it is critical to take “microbreaks”. For every 30 minutes of work, try to rest for approximately 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Don’t work through the pain even if it’s only for a little bit. Anytime you start to feel pain, your body is trying to tell you something, so listen to it! ! Taking a short break for even a few seconds here and there can benefit you greatly in the long run, and help you to avoid getting carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or even arthritis.

Yours in health,

Musical Instruments, Electronics, Video Games, and the Prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury

The American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT) offers the following tips to prevent hand injuries while using electronics, video games and musical instruments.

Download: ASHT Repetitive Strain Injury Tips

Tip: Laptop positioning–How to help prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis

To reduce muscular tension and pain, position your computer’s monitor so that the top of the screen is at eye level, the distance is at arm’s length, and it’s perpendicular to your window to reduce glare. This recommendation is all in good, but you may be telling yourself, “I have a laptop and the monitor can’t be raised!” Don’t let this hurdle stop you from proper ergonomics regarding your neck, shoulders, forearms and hands!

The easiest solution is to get a separate keyboard and mouse and use an adjustable laptop stand. Here is a link to give you some ideas:

One word of caution in adjustable laptop stands: they correct the height of your monitor, but you need to ensure your newly separated keyboard allows you to bend your elbows to 90 degrees. If your desk is too high this is impossible. Another easy solution for this: get yourself a sliding keyboard tray that installs underneath your desk. Again, make sure your elbows are bent to 90 degrees and your wrists are in a neutral position when the keyboard is in the tray. This neutral position helps prevent carpal tunnel symptoms and tendinitis. And then place your mouse in the tray, as it should be at the same level as the keyboard immediately beside it.

I can already feel your pain and tension disappearing!

Yours in health,

Tip: Using your computer’s mouse sparingly

A quick tip for today while working on your computer to prevent carpal tunnel and tendinitis: Instead of keeping your hand raised over the mouse while you read webpages or documents, simply take it down and place it in your lap until you have to click on to something else. A simple way you reduce overall strain on your hands and wrists throughout the day!

Yours in health,