Thursday, August 18, 2011
Techno-Safety Tips from the American Chiropractic Association: Elbow Protection
Mobile Technological device such as personal assistants (PDAs) and smartphones have made our lives more convenient. We can now send e-mails, access the Internet, manage our schedules, and use spreadsheets and other office software from our phones. While this makes it easier to accomplish tasks without being tethered to an office, it has also increased the amount of time we spend using these devices, which is not without risks.
Before these advances in technology, our bodies moved as we used the phone and the computer, we walked to the fax machine, and we flipped through our calendars. Now we slump over a small screen with little change in our position. This posture can have great impacts on our health, including contributing to elbow problems.
The ulnar, or “funny bone,” nerve wraps around the inside of your elbow. Keeping your elbows bent can compress the nerve. As the nerve becomes irritated, you can experience pain, numbness, tingling, and even weakness or muscle atrophy. The nerve sits close to the surface and is also damaged by external pressure. To prevent injury:
• Minimize the time you bend the elbows to hold the PDA screen up to see it.
• Instead of returning all your e-mails on the phone, wait until you can use the computer.
• Avoid leaning on the flexed elbow while talking on the phone or in the car.