National Public Radio focused a report on how using an iPad and touch screens can lead to pain from repetitive strain injuries. In truth whenever your wrists are bent to type, carpal tunnel and other sensitivities can develop. Long term repetitive motion pain and inflammation can distract from your work or worse, sore wrists can lead to permanent injuries.
One cause is that touch screen keyboards don’t respond or give like traditional keyboards. Also the default wrist position for touch screen typing keeps wrists bent.
Solution for sore wrists from cell and laptop use:
Modify how you position your hands to avoid bending your wrists and use an external keyboard. There are new models coming out all the time. One great option is a fold-able, roll-able keyboard that is lightweight and easy to pack. Using a wireless mouse or keyboard will also allow for maximum flexibility. Keep the keyboard centered to put less strain on elbow and shoulder joints.
Driving tip to avoid sore wrists (Ulnar Deviation & Carpal Tunnel aggrevation)
The goal is to hold your hands so the middle finger lines up with the forearm and the hand doesn’t bend toward the little finger (like the picture).
- Avoid holding the steering wheel toward the top
- Pay attention! Shift your wrist to keep it in straight alignment
When you hold your hands long at an angle it can increase pressure on the Carpal Tunnel (where the Median Nerve resides) and affects the nerve running from the middle finger to thumb. Also the Ulnar Nerve (affecting the middle to little finger) passes through the outer side of the wrist. The same nerve causes Funny Bone pain when you hit your elbow.
(Info suggested by Julie Garner, Ergonomic Consultant and Physical Therapist and contributor to Drivetime Yoga and Flytime Yoga)
Avoiding ‘tech neck’
Check in often and notice how you hold your hands, neck and head when typing or writing. My chiropractor suggests standing every half hour and opening up your chest as you pull your arms wide and raise your chin. It feels wonderful and helps to counteract the crunching forward from working at your computer (or driving long!).
Pay attention to ergonomics:
When sitting to use your laptop, put a backpack, purse or pillow under it to raise the screen. Take care to float your elbows slightly above your hands. If typing at a desk, make sure your seat is adjusted correctly for the best alignment and if possible install an extendable keyboard tray.
Elaine J. Masters, helping commuters, business and recreational travelers stay happy, pain free and productive. www.DrivetimeYoga.com
Thanks for the tips. I have the worst posture when working. I tend to lay down on the couch or a bed and type while laying down. Writing from the road had caused some pretty bad habits. And yes, my back and arms are always aching.
Thanks for the comment. Becoming aware of habits is the first step to changing them. One easy thing to do is think of countering the habitual pose. For example if you’re hunched over the computer, then taking a few breaths while arching your back, neck and arms in the opposite direction may help to keep you flexible. Crunched down? Then open up! See you on the road!