Monday, December 24, 2007

Wii-itis & Other New Repetitive Injuries

CTS injuries change with technology ...

"In the 1990’s, carpal tunnel syndrome was occurring in epidemic numbers. As a result, it is now fairly easy to find a book or magazine, or visit a website, that provides information on preventing repetitive computer-related injuries.

However, as technology is rapidly changing, so too is the type of injuries that people experience. Larger computers are being replaced with hand-held gadgets, and these gadgets have their own set of injuries associated with them. In addition, children and adults alike are spending large amounts of time playing simulated sports and musical (for example, Guitar Hero) activities requiring movements that their bodies are not accustomed to. Because of the enjoyment of these activities, the body’s warning signals may be ignored. The December issue of Women’s Health Magazine listed some of the newer injuries and provided a few prevention tips. Here is a summary.

* Wii-itis – Simulating sports or leisure activities, such as bowling, tennis, or playing the guitar, can result in actual injuries if performed for excessive amounts of time. Prevention Tips - Moderate the time you play. If you must play for longer periods of time, take a 10 minute break for every hour of play. Stretch the muscles that are being used often.

* BlackBerry Thumb – Holding a stylus for long periods of time or repetitively reaching for those small PDA keys can cause thumb cramping and pain. Prevention Tips - Limit your text messaging, take frequent breaks stretching all the fingers as widely as you can, and use an ice pack for 15-20 minutes once a day if you begin to have thumb pain.

* Cell Phone Elbow – Keeping the elbow bent for long periods of time while holding the phone to the ear can reduce blood and oxygen supply to the ulnar nerve at the elbow causing pain, weakness and numbness in the small finger."    (Continued via Bella Online, Marji Hajic)    [Ergonomics Resources]

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