Wrist and Hand Pain Due to Computer Usage : 

Computer is a vital tool in many different occupations today. However, long periods of work on a computer can cause musculoskeletal problems of the hands and wrists. Muscles and tendons can become irritated and inflamed by repetitive movements and awkward postures like bending the wrist while typing.  This is a type of “overuse injury”. A condition known as RSI (repetitive stress injury / syndrome/ repetitive strain injury) or CTD (cumulative trauma disorder) developed from continuous low level stress on any muscle or joint causing overstretch of tendons which leads to micro tears and cause the overuse injury. This is very common in wrists and hands because of the increased use of computers in daily life.
RSI/CTD is difficult to treat. It often involves tendinitis of most of the tendons of wrist and fingers, mild carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) as well as pain and discomfort at hand, wrist, shoulder and neck.

 CTS is a common example of an overuse injury associated with computer work. CTS is a painful condition at the wrist which can be caused by an undue pressure on the median nerve (runs through the tunnel like structure made by carpal bones) at the wrist.

The fingers are also prone to overuse injury, particularly the finger that clicks the mouse button (index finger) along with the ligaments of other fingers and wrist and the small muscles of hand and wrist .

Symptoms of overuse injury of hands due to the usage of computer includes :

·         Pain, deep ache, numbness or burning of the hand, wrist, arm or shoulder and can also affect the neck and back.
·         Limited range of motion of fingers, wrist or/and shoulder. Check your other wrist to find out                         what is normal for you.
·         Stiffness or soreness of the muscles at the hand, elbow or shoulder.
·         Weakness of the hand muscles specially the gripping muscles.

Are you at risk of developing hand pain?

If you have an ache in your hand which lasts after you stop working, keeps getting worse, takes less time to aggravate after you start working on a computer and takes longer to subside, get it checked before it becomes a disturbing and disabling disorder. The risks can be reduced or eliminated by proper workstation design, improved posture and goodworking habits.

How to prevent and treat this condition?

Repetitive stress injury of your fingers, wrist and hand can be prevented if identified early. Medical treatment is quiet limited to treat this condition. NSAID are given to reduce the pain and inflammation but it does not treat the causative factor.

Intra-articular Corticosteroid injection are very useful in treating the pain but physiotherapy intervention works in curative as well as preventive aspect.

The physiotherapy treatment should address risk factors, prevention and a home exercise program in addition to pain reduction treatment. Risk factors can be eliminated by using a proper ergonomicsof computer usage

,heat and ice applications along with other physiotherapeutic modalities. Physiotherapy treatment includes both exercise and electrotherapy. Active exercises, thumb kneading, joint mobilization and manipulation is necessary along with single or multiple use of electrical modalities like UST, Electrical stimulation, LASER,  PSWD. Care of back, neck and shoulder should also be taken. Static neck exercises, back extension exercises and shoulder exercises should be performed regularly if you want to be fit for a long time.      


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