The wrist is one of the most mobile joints of our body but it lacks stability. We overuse this joint in all our daily activities. A lot of us struggle with the throbbing wrist pain from typing while we work on our computers all day long.
Dr. Rupa Mehta, Co-Founder, Head of Physiotherapy Department, Healthspace Clinic told HerZindagi how bad our constant typing can be combined with tips on dealing with it.
The wrist is a complex joint that connects our hand to the forearm. There are 8 carpal bones connected by ligaments of the wrist.
How Does The Wrist Joint Function?
All the movements of the wrist joint are performed by the muscles of the forearm. Despite the high physical demand for our wrist, we often end up taking it for granted. If our wrists are not flexible/hyper-flexible and are weak we make them prone to injuries. Typing and texting for long hours can cause tension or pain in the wrists. Typical wrist tension can be due to limited movements, weak muscles, and lack of blood flow. Whereas, wrist pain can be caused by strain and sprain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), De Quervain's Tendinosis, Triangular fibrocartilage complex injury (TFCC injury), overuse, misuse, trauma or faulty position.
What Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
This is a common condition that leads to pain, numbness, and weakness, tingling, in the palm and fingers. It happens when swollen tendons compress a nerve in the wrist. The symptoms affect worse in the night. This is a very common condition among typists due to the constant typing. Pregnant women, diabetic, obese, rheumatoid arthritis, or conditions causing water retention and gout patients are more prone to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
How Can One Prevent It?
Prevention is better than cure. The goal is to strengthen your muscles, pay attention to ergonomics as well. Whenever you are typing, make sure that you take regular breaks. Keep your wrists in relaxed, supported and neutral positions. Purchasing an ergonomic keyboard, foam, or wrist support tools may help to prevent this.
CTS needs to be managed not only with mediations but also with physiotherapy. Rest with splinting is advised initially followed by Ultrasound to reduce inflammation. Later once the pain is reduced, specific exercises are commenced for strengthening the muscles. Mulligan's technique has shown extravagant results.
De Quervain’s Tendonitis
One possible problem that can occur due to constant typing is De Quervain’s tendonitis where the pain is up to the length of your thumb and can go up to your forearm as well. This causes pain while moving the thumb and trying to do even the most simple day-to-day tasks.
Physiotherapy consists of ultrasonic treatment, use of the brace to avoid thumb movement followed by mulligan stretch, and strengthening protocol. The guidance of a physiotherapist in order to avoid further damage to your wrists.
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Another injury that can occur due to excessive typing is known as the trigger finger. This causes the fingers or thumb to lock in a bent position. Initially, it begins with having difficulty in straightening your fingers, this later progresses towards severe pain. You can hear a clicking sound when you try to open your fingers. This is caused by the swelling in the tendon of the finger. It can also tend to get stuck in the aforementioned bent position if the condition worsens.
The treatment for Trigger finger is Physiotherapy in addition to medication. Physiotherapy treatment consists of laser therapy, myofascial release, stretching fingers + releasing the fascia, muscles and ligaments of the palm. If none of this helps, one may have to opt for steroid injection or surgery.
How Can You Fix Your Wrist Pain?
First and foremost, the diagnosis of the injury is absolutely crucial. Once diagnosed, the physiotherapist will provide you with certain protocols to follow depending on the problem. Every injury has a specific type of physiotherapy procedure that needs to be followed in order to curb and heal the damage done. One must rest the strained wrists in order to avoid further damage. You must also keep applying an ice pack in order to reduce any internal inflammation. If the pain gets severe you can also consult your doctor. In order to avoid any sudden excessive movement, you can use a cast or a splint and do physiotherapy.
Exercises To Avoid Wrist Pain
Exercise helps in strengthening the muscles that may have gotten weak over time while also increasing their flexibility and preventing any injury.
- Make a fist with your palm facing down. Keep your elbow at 90 degrees at the waistline. Push your wrist in the upwards direction 10 times. You can later use a Theraband to strengthen your muscles further.
- Similarly, make a fist with your palm facing up. Keep your elbow at 90 degrees at the waistline. Push your wrist in the upwards direction 10 times. Again, you can use the Theraband to strengthen your muscles further.
- Next, you turn your fists with your thumb facing upwards and then move your wrists up and down 10 times each.
- Another exercise could be done using a stress ball. Squeeze the ball with all your fingers 10 times. You can also use a rubber band to stretch your fingers and strengthen your muscles.
- Stretching: After exercising with theraband, one must stretch the hand in all directions, stretch the fingers also.
- There are many Yoga poses and exercises as well that you can try at home, once you are relieved of your pain and want to strengthen your muscles.
Try these techniques and don’t let any pain dampen your work.