Tips shared for healthy handheld device use

Dorchester Banner CAMBRIDGE – Tidewater Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Associates, P.A. announced that June 4-10 was Hand Therapy week; a week established by The American Society of Hand Therapy (ASHT) to raise awareness of the hand therapy specialty among various audiences, including primary care providers, surgeons, referral sources and the public.  Hand therapy involves evaluating and treating injuries and conditions within the shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. Hand therapists are licensed or registered occupational therapists (OT) or physical therapists (PT) who specialize in treating individuals with conditions affecting these areas. Hand therapists carry the title of Certified Hand Therapist or CHT.  In promotion of Hand Therapy week, the Certified Hand Therapists (CHTs) of Tidewater Physical Therapy share ASHT’s guidelines for healthy handheld device usage to prevent upper extremity damage or injury. Hand injures such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and other ailments occur often when there is evidence of heavy handheld device usage. These injuries are due to the physical requirements needed in order to use handheld devices properly i.e. prolonged grips, repetitive motion on small buttons and awkward wrist movements. ASHT states, “Many handheld electronics users spend hours on these small electronics every day, responding to e-mails and spooling through music lists and address books. These devices are immensely popular and they are getting smaller with even more features which encourage heavy, extended use. More of the population could suffer hand ailments unless they learn to take preventive measures.” Tidewater Physical Therapy’s Certified Hand Therapists, Jennifer S. Hamilton, DPT, CHT; William Hamilton Jr., DPT, CHT, and Craig L. Joachimowski, PT, OCS, CHT advise using ASHT’s guidelines for improved use of handheld electronics in order to avoid injury: • If you have pain during the activity, stop. Pain is one of the ways your body is letting you know that you are overextending a particular muscle group. • Use a neutral grip when holding the device. A neutral grip is when the wrist is straight, not bent in either direction (not strong or weak). It will allow for wrist motion in a plane where more motion is available in the wrist. • Take a break every few minutes or switch to another activity. Overuse of repetitive motions, such as pressing buttons, can cause tendonitis of the elbow or lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (tendon or nerve irritation).  • If possible, place pillows in your lap and rest arms on pillows or use the device supported on a desk or tabletop. This will allow you to keep your head in a more upright position and therefore decrease neck strain. The pillows or desk will help support the arms so they do not have to be held up in the air. • Sit in an appropriate chair. This is a chair that allows you to put your feet comfortably on the floor and also provides good back support. • Switch hands frequently and vary the use of fingers/ digits. This will allow the one hand or other fingers/digits to rest and reduce fatigue. • Frequently look away from the screen and focus on a distant object to help reduce eye fatigue. With technology ever-growing, Tidewater Physical Therapy would like you to remember these tips the next time your pick up for phone, tablet or laptop. For more information about Tidewater Physical Therapy, visit www.tidewaterpt.com or call 410-822-3891.

Health and fitness is always important, even when simply using a hand-held digital device.

CAMBRIDGE – Tidewater Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Associates, P.A. announced that June 4-10 was Hand Therapy week; a week established by The American Society of Hand Therapy (ASHT) to raise awareness of the hand therapy specialty among various audiences, including primary care providers, surgeons, referral sources and the public.

Hand therapy involves evaluating and treating injuries and conditions within the shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist, and hand. Hand therapists are licensed or registered occupational therapists (OT) or physical therapists (PT) who specialize in treating individuals with conditions affecting these areas. Hand therapists carry the title of Certified Hand Therapist or CHT.

In promotion of Hand Therapy week, the Certified Hand Therapists (CHTs) of Tidewater Physical Therapy share ASHT’s guidelines for healthy handheld device usage to prevent upper extremity damage or injury.

Hand injures such as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis and other ailments occur often when there is evidence of heavy handheld device usage. These injuries are due to the physical requirements needed in order to use handheld devices properly i.e. prolonged grips, repetitive motion on small buttons and awkward wrist movements.

ASHT states, “Many handheld electronics users spend hours on these small electronics every day, responding to e-mails and spooling through music lists and address books. These devices are immensely popular and they are getting smaller with even more features which encourage heavy, extended use. More of the population could suffer hand ailments unless they learn to take preventive measures.”

Tidewater Physical Therapy’s Certified Hand Therapists, Jennifer S. Hamilton, DPT, CHT; William Hamilton Jr., DPT, CHT, and Craig L. Joachimowski, PT, OCS, CHT advise using ASHT’s guidelines for improved use of handheld electronics in order to avoid injury:

• If you have pain during the activity, stop. Pain is one of the ways your body is letting you know that you are overextending a particular muscle group.

• Use a neutral grip when holding the device. A neutral grip is when the wrist is straight, not bent in either direction (not strong or weak). It will allow for wrist motion in a plane where more motion is available in the wrist.

• Take a break every few minutes or switch to another activity. Overuse of repetitive motions, such as pressing buttons, can cause tendonitis of the elbow or lead to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (tendon or nerve irritation).

• If possible, place pillows in your lap and rest arms on pillows or use the device supported on a desk or tabletop. This will allow you to keep your head in a more upright position and therefore decrease neck strain. The pillows or desk will help support the arms so they do not have to be held up in the air.

• Sit in an appropriate chair. This is a chair that allows you to put your feet comfortably on the floor and also provides good back support.

• Switch hands frequently and vary the use of fingers/ digits. This will allow the one hand or other fingers/digits to rest and reduce fatigue.

• Frequently look away from the screen and focus on a distant object to help reduce eye fatigue.

With technology ever-growing, Tidewater Physical Therapy would like you to remember these tips the next time your pick up for phone, tablet or laptop.

For more information about Tidewater Physical Therapy, visit www.tidewaterpt.com or call 410-822-3891.

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