According to the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association 2016 data, there are over 29 million cell phone and tablet subscribers in Canada. That number represents approximately 82% of the population. While it is clear that the number of people using wireless devices is increasing, the amount of time the average person spends using those devices remains a question????
Given the increase in the number of elbow, forearm, wrist and hand problems we are seeing in the clinic, it does seem safe to say that the average person is spending hours using phones, tablets and laptops each day. This situation suggests that our joints and muscles were not meant to maintain the positions associated with device use for such long periods of time. The awkward hand and wrist positions required for texting and tablet use, cause strain on both the muscles and the ligaments of the hand, wrist and forearm. Once those tissues are fatigued, they are at greater risk for injury and damage to the joints, muscles and ligaments.
The elbow joint is the site where the long bone at the top of your arm (the humerus) meets the two bones of your forearm (the radius and the ulna).
It's a hinge joint, which means that you can bend your arm. The way the bones connect also means that you can twist your forearm in two directions to turn your wrist and hand up and down.
As seen in the picture to the right, the three long bones of the arm connect to the shoulder blade (scapula) and collar bone (clavicle) at one end and to the carpal bones and finger bones at the other end.
Overlying these bones are a layers of overlapping muscles. (Figure 2) All of the muscles connect to at least two bones. Some of the muscles cross one joint (forearm to wrist/hand) and some cross two joints (shoulder to elbow).
Notice, in Figure 2, how the muscles overlap and twist over/under each other. This interconnection between the muscles (soft tissue) of the arm and hand means that when you injure one area, you will very often have issues or compensation with other areas. For example, if you text too much and your thumb seems to be doing all the work, it doesn’t mean the discomfort is confined to the hand. Many times, repetitive hand motions lead to pain in the wrist and forearm because they are all connected.
When we (health care practitioners) think about problems related to cell phone, tablet and laptop use, we consider that your muscles form a long, connection of soft tissue from the shoulder girdle to the fingers that is affected, as a whole, by any problem in the chain.
We look at the big picture to see why you have the problem and what areas might contribute to the issue. We also look more focally to see which joints, muscles and ligaments are inflamed, irritated and/or injured.
We can provide a number of treatment options to help you including:
What can you do?
If you are suffering from pain or dysfunction in your elbow, forearm, wrist or hand, we can help. Please call 905-389-8772/9489 to book an appointment or click on the button below.