Since COVID-19, there has been an increase in computer use…
De Quervain’s tenosynovitis, also known as radial styloid tenosynovitis is pretty common in those working in front of the computer
The common Misconception with Computer Use and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Studies have found that computer use is not linked with CTS. However, it doesn’t mean that it does not cause disorders of the arm. Most likely you would have developed De Quervain’s tenosynovitis OR you would already have CTS but have been exacerbated recently in addition to the computer user.
What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve at the base of the palm.
The carpal tunnel is a channel on the palm side of the wrist that protects the nerve and the tendons that bend your fingers. Added pressure to the nerve can cause pain and weakness in your wrist and hand.
Inflammation and swelling of the surrounding wrist’s tendons can contribute to the pressure on the median nerve which can lead to CTS.
Extreme wrist positions, as well as a lot of finger use, especially with a lot of force or vibration, can all contribute to CTS.
Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
It usually starts with burning, tingling, or numbness in the palm and fingers which are often noticeable at night. As it progresses, the symptoms are noticeable in the day and often worse when holding items.
The weakness of the hand and more constant numbness if the pressure on the nerve continues. You may see that you lose something unexpectedly or have a weakness in your grip.
What is De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis?
It’s a condition affecting the tendons on the thumb side of your wrist. It hurts to lift any pots of pan, doing any heavy household chores. Any exercise that relies on constant hand or wrist movement can make it more immoral.
Pain and swelling near the base of the thumb. Difficulty moving the thumb or wrist while making grasping or pinching motion
What can I do When Using the Computer?
Keep your wrist in on neutral position when working with a keyboard or mouse.
Setting up your keyboard so that your elbows are bent at 90 degrees and forearms parallel to the floor will be the ideal position. That goes the same with the mouse as well.
You can also try using ice packs to reduce the swelling/inflammation in the area as well as trying to give your hand a rest when you don’t need to use the computer.
Visit Physical Therapy New York, NY and a physical therapist will evaluate you and will determine if you have De Quervain’s tenosynovitis. Your treatment will involve various stretches and exercises you can do at the clinic as well as at home.
It’s important to move your body if you are sitting all day long. Set an alarm for every 50 ~ 60 min to get those stiff joints moving. Sitting for too long can make you susceptible to cardiovascular diseases. Go and get some cup of water, go to the bathroom, and do some stretches.
Wrist flexion/extension Stretch:
Hold your hand out as if to say “stop.” With the other hand, pull the 1st hand toward you and hold the stretch for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times With the 1st hand bring in down and pull on the back of the hand and hold the stretch for 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times
Seated Double-Knee to Chest:
While seated, spread your legs apart and reach down to the floor. Hold the position for roughly 20 – 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times
Seated Upper Back Stretch:
Reach down to the floor with both hands. With the left hand lift it to the side all the way up. Do the same with the right side. Hold the stretch for 20 – 30 sec, 3 times.
As the name implies, sit and stand from your chair 10 – 20 times. If it is too easy for you, perform a squat instead by not completely sitting but remaining in the air and coming back up.
Behind the chair, grab the headrest and lift your heels up and down. If there is no issue with your balance, perform without grabbing onto anything
It’s important to keep your heart pumping throughout the day. It’s tough when you are sitting all day long. Start by standing with arms to your side and feet nice and square. Then jump and spread your legs wide while at the same time reach your arms up on the side.
Your hands do not necessarily need to touch but close enough. Then quickly jump back to starting position. Begin with 10 – 20 at a time.
Please note that not everyone will be able to perform this exercise. It depends on your current ability and any concurrent joint disorders you may be.
Since you are constantly looking at the computer, your shoulders can protract and make the chest tight as well. Go by the doorway and put one arm on the wall while you step one foot (the same side forward and slightly turning towards the opposite direction.
You will feel a stretch on your pectoralis muscle. Depending on the angle of your elbow, it’ll stretch different aspect of your chest. Your can start with 90 degrees and work your way up.
If your doorway is small enough, you can perform with both arms at the same time.
Hold the stretch for 20 – 30 seconds, 3 times.
You may also be prone to have a forward head posture. Stand with your back against the wall. Tuck your chin back as if pulling your whole head towards the wall. Remember not to force it too much. It should not hurt. Start by holding for 2 seconds, 10 times. You can work your way up by holding 5 seconds, then to 10 seconds.
Press your head gently into your left hand and vice versa and hold for 5 seconds (without letting the head be pushed over). Do the same on the right side. Then use both hands into the back of your head. Repeat the cycle 10 times.
It’s okay not to be able to do the exercises perfectly in the beginning. Remember to listen to your body when doing certain exercises. If you have certain pain or discomfort while doing an exercise, speak to your doctor Physical Therapy Queens, NY before proceeding.
Movement is important in our daily life. Don’t give into a sedentary lifestyle. It’s up to you to let your body function as optimally as you can as long as you can.