Photo: woods wheatcroft photography

Are our children at greater risk for Repetitive Strain Injuries?

How many of us had game boys, X boxes, computers, cells phones with texting, or laptops when we were kids?  Remember when people started getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrone?  How many of you have heard of Repetitive Strain Injuries?  Did you ever wonder how big the muscles of your thumb are?   I was thinking the other day of all the tiny muscle movements our children are now exposed to vs. when we were kids.  Texting and game boys, computers and laptops give our fingers more stress and activity than what they were designed for.   I wonder, with all this use our children’s fingers and thumbs are getting, what their hands will be like when they are 30 or 40?

Not only are our muscles getting over worked, but the other problem with sitting at the computer, laptop, or game boy is the posture that our spine assumes.  When we sit in a slumped position with our arms together in front of our bodies, this produces a compression or closing of the front of our body.  Our ribs move closer together, our lungs become compressed, and even the large arteries and veins entering and leaving our heart become shorter instead of longer.  If we sustain these positions for long periods over time muscles, nerves, and connective tissues shorten, and this can have negative affects on the workings of our organ systems.  Did you ever think you could sustain an injury from just sitting all day??   I have treated many people with numbness and tingling in their arms and hands, not from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but from Repetitive Strain Injuries.  These develop when people spend too much time sitting in front of the computer without taking breaks and this can cause their nerves to actually become shortened or tight, just like muscles do.

So, how do we manage all this new technology with our kids?  We teach them at an early age about taking breaks and stretching.  Remember that old saying about too much of a good thing is never good?  That applies here as well.  We should help our kids find the balance.  Go ahead, sit with the game boy or at the computer, but stand up every 30-60 minutes and stretch.  Bend backwards 10x, reach with your arms overhead and out to the side.  Think about opening up your chest and move your arms out and behind your body.  Bend backwards.  For the hands, we can stretch them by GENTLY bending the fingers and thumb backwards, again, opening up the hand in the opposite position from that of typing or texting.  For the forearms, after long periods of typing, it feels good and is so important to stretch the palm side of your forearm.  Do this by holding your arm straight out in front of your body, turn your palm up then bend your wrist back so that your fingers are pointing down to the floor.  Again GENTLY push against your palm so you feel a pulling in the forearm.  The opposite stretch of this one is with your arm out in front, palm facing down, again bending at the wrist with fingers pointing to the floor, this time pushing against the back of your hand to feel the stretch on the top of your forearm.  Hold each stretch 30-60 seconds, repeat 5 times.

Our bodies are really designed for movement.  Try to remember how active and physical our ancestors were.  If we remember to stretch and move hopefully we can avoid injury! Mary Boyd, PT is the owner of Mountain View Physical Therapy and can be reached at 290-5575.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

copyright 2008 - 2017