What you need to do if your smartphone is making your wrists ache
First there was Nintendinitis. Then there was Tenosynoritis. Now there is Whatsappitis. Don’t let the names fool you; far from a good watercooler quip, these are all very painful forms of Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI). While the first was diagnosed in the 90s as a result of hours of playing video games, Tenosynoritis came in with mobile phones and excessive texting. And this year, smartphones revealed their side effects with a 34-year-old woman in Spain becoming the first to be diagnosed with bilateral wrist pain—a result of the over-use of the messaging app, Whatsapp.
While it’s too early to panic, Dr Prithvi Mohandas, the joint managing director of MIOT hospitals, says that any form of repetitive action can cause RSI. And moving your thumbs at breakneck speed on a touchscreen, of course, qualifies. “There are no miracle cures, except to avoid the action causing the pain until the symptoms go away,” he adds.
But there definitely are temporary fixes that can help alleviate pain. Like hot and cold compresses or wearing wrist supports. Your hours at the gym can help, too. Simiyon Devaraj, senior trainer at Score Gym, says, “Wrist curls are good—take a dumbbell, hold it with your palm facing upwards and your arm perpendicular to your body, and using only your wrist, raise it 10 times. Or reverse wrist curls, where the wrists face downward and you pull the dumbbell up.” But if desk time is all you have, squeeze a soft ball at regular intervals. And while you are at it, there is no harm in upping natural inflammation-fighters in your diet like salmon, tuna or sardines, flax seeds, leafy greens and whole grains.
-Surya Praphulla Kumar