With technology being as all-pervasive as it is today, it not surprising that people are complaining of painful musculoskeletal complaints associated with spending a lot of time slouched over on their computers or rapidly texting with their thumbs on mobile phones. Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, Smartphone thumb, or tech neck are far more common today than in the past. Let’s look at these conditions in more detail and possible methods of prevention.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a trapped nerve in your wrist. Patients may experience tingling and numbness in the thumb, forefinger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger as well as weakness in the hand. Common causes include incorrect typing technique or improper use of the computer mouse. Many patients complain of the pain waking them up at night. Conservative treatments include simple stretches and range of motion exercises for the hand and wrist, anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling, learning correct typing techniques, and proper office ergonomics to improve your posture.
If these methods don’t help, surgical decompression may be necessary which can be performed as a simple outpatient procedure.
This condition is also known as texting thumb or gamer’s thumb. Repetitive thumb movements on smartphones and handheld devices can result in swelling and inflammation of the thumb tendon. Taking regular breaks from playing computer games or texting can reverse symptoms. Persistence with these activities despite initial symptoms can result in chronic pain and even nerve damage. Treatments may include oral pain medication, injections, occupational therapy, or even surgery depending on severity of symptoms.
It occurs as a result of bending your neck to look down at your computer screen or mobile device. This head-forward posture over a long period of time can result in muscle strain or repetitive stress injury. Simple tips to prevent this problem would include raising your computer screen or mobile device to eye level so you don’t have to bend your neck, taking regular breaks, and using a chair with a headrest to help maintain proper posture. You should also do neck exercises to strengthen the muscles around your cervical spine. Oral medications, injections, or surgery may be required if conservative treatments fail to relieve symptoms.
NewportCare Medical Group is a comprehensive specialty group located in Newport Beach, California specializing in advanced non-surgical and surgical treatments for a wide range of orthopedic conditions.