According to a 2017 report from Media Technology Monitor, the average Canadian on the survey spends about 24.5 hours per week (or 3.5 hours per day) online during the previous year. Those aged 18 to 34 spend the most time online at 34 hours per week (or almost 5 hours per day).
Meanwhile, another survey has determined that a desktop or a laptop computer is still the most popular device used to access the Internet at 67% of the respondents.
With these numbers indicating a lot of time in front of the computer, we can safely say that Canadians are prone to a repetitive strain injury known as the computer elbow or mouse elbow.
What is computer elbow?
Computer elbow or lateral epicondylitis is usually caused by long hours spent typing away on a keyboard. Yes, that’s pain from typing too much! Poor posture and ergonomics can also contribute to this injury.
You will usually feel the pain from the tendon connecting to the bone on the outside of your elbow or from the muscles on the outer part of your forearm. Sometimes, both parts of your arm can be painful.
What to do?
It’s crucial to identify the root cause. Yes, you may have gotten the pain from typing but that is not the root cause. There are two questions you need to ask yourself:
- Do you have an ergonomic computer setup?
- Are you sitting properly?
If you said yes to both the above questions, then the pain may not be as simple as a computer elbow. You may need to visit a doctor to help you address your condition properly.
However, if you answered yes to at least one of the above questions, then you need to work on that.
Study your workstation. Make sure your keyboard it as a proper height. A wrist pad can also help. Check your mouse if it’s the right size and if you’re placing it within easy reach.
While desk ergonomics can easily be addressed, poor posture needs some working on. Do not slouch! Keep your shoulders relaxed while typing. Stretch yours arms, wriggle your fingers, move your wrists once in a while.
How is it treated?
Since computer elbow is a repetitive strain injury, there is only one way to cure it – stop typing or, at the very least, lessen the amount of time you type for a while. This will allow the muscles and tendons to rest and heal. The pain from typing can slowly go away.
While you minimize your typing feats, try to stretch your arms. One way to do this is to extend your right arm in front of your body at shoulder level and make a fist. Now slowly rotate the arm so the palm is facing out. Next, bend the wrist until you feel a stretch in the back of your forearm. Hold the position for at least 3 seconds and then repeat with your left arm. Perform at least three alternating repetitions
However, if it the pain from typing has become debilitating and you’re suspecting it’s more than just a computer elbow, visit your doctor. Do not delay. The longer you ignore, the more damage you create
Depending on the diagnosis, you may be prescribed to undergo physiotherapy sessions and repetitive injury treatment may be covered by your insurance. Contact us to know more.