Walk down the street and what do you see? Phones, phones, phones everywhere.
We live in a world of mobile communication and along with that comes problems related to using our mobile phones so often. Besides the obvious issues such as using your phone at the dinner table, or listening to the loud mobile phone talkers on the bus, there are also certain injuries we can attribute to mobile phone usage.
Let’s talk about “Mobile Phone Elbow”.
Have you ever had an achy elbow after holding your phone to your ear for a while, or even pins and needles, numbness or burning into your hand?
This is medically termed Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, and is caused by the compression of your ulnar nerve in its groove as it goes around the back of the elbow. This is the same nerve responsible for the feeling you get when you hit your ‘funny bone’.
Other activities that can irritate this nerve include leaning on your elbow when driving or sitting at your desk and having your elbows bent to greater than 90 degrees for a long period. Night time pain can be attributed to sleeping with your arms bent behind your head.
So what can we do about it? If you get onto this problem early, the answer can be quite simple: STOP doing the aggravating activity. However, often these are actions you do often and without thinking, which can make it difficult to change without some guidance.
Firstly, if it is happening when you are talking on the phone, use earphones or the other hand. If it occurs when you are leaning your elbow on the desk, remove your elbow and rest your forearm instead.
Secondly, check your work-station ergonomics and if you are not confident where things should be it may be good to get it professionally assessed. Even little things can make a great deal of difference when you are sitting there for 8 hours a day!!
If these tips aren’t settling the problem it may need further assessment and attention. Fortunately, the Physios at Bend + Mend Physio in Sydney’s CBD are here to help! Get in touch if your mobile phone or work station is creating an injury for you!