Raising children is rewarding. It is also a lot of work. Parents and caretakers don’t always pay attention to how they are using their hands or arms for everyday tasks involved in childcare. The focus of attention is most often on taking care of the child’s needs, not the proper way to lift or position their body. Repeating tasks in poor positions will result in overuse injuries. If you are a caretaker for a young child and are experiencing hand discomfort, here are some signs of overuse and what to do about it!
Sometimes we can do a great job taking care of ourselves during the day, but our sleep positions can undo all our hard work. Many of the problems that hand therapists treat, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, cubital tunnel syndrome, thoracic outlet syndrome, arthritis, or even tendonitis can be exacerbated by pressure while we are sleeping. This pressure can worsen symptoms like swelling, numbness, tingling, and pain.
How does this happen?
Sometimes the positions in which we sleep place our spine, joints, and soft tissues under compression, tension, or both. Our nerves are especially sensitive to this. For example, when we sleep in a “fetal position,” the nerves in our wrists and elbows can be compressed at the point where our arms and wrists bend. They can also be put under tension which can cause irritation and aggravate symptoms like numbness, tingling, and/or pain. Another example is when a pillow causes the neck to be bent in a position that can compress the nerves that travel from the spine into the arms and hands.
Hand arthritis can have a huge impact on performance of daily tasks. Activities like brushing your teeth or opening a jar can be painful and challenging. If you have pain and limitations due to hand arthritis, there are many products available to help improve hand function.
Today, you can order groceries online and have them delivered to your door. You can take a picture of your living room and a professional designer will decorate it without ever stepping foot in your home. Through the emerging development of telehealth, you can also virtually see a doctor for a common cold…AND…see a Certified Hand Therapist for common hand and arm conditions.
What is online hand therapy?
One of the trending topics of telehealth is the development of subspecialties such as telerehabilitation. Telerehabilitation is a modern form of speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy services delivered through a secure and private video conferencing platform. Online hand therapy is a form of telerehabilitation.
In the blog entitled “What is a Custom Orthosis?” basic information on custom orthoses was provided. But as hand therapists we can do so much more! In this blog, different types of custom orthoses and the reason your doctor and therapist may recommend one or another will be reviewed. In general, an orthosis is a device that is molded to and worn on a specific body part. The device can help to protect and support bones, tendons, ligaments, and nerves, and keep these structures in safe and healthy positions. An orthosis can also be used to help fix deformities or help people with limitations function better. Orthoses can be used to immobilize (keep the body part and tissue still), to mobilize (move the area) or to restrict partial movement in an area.
Do you have numbness, tingling, or pain in your arms? Does it disrupt your ability to work at your desk or keep you up at night? This could be caused by how you sit at your desk during the day. You may be putting excessive pressure on your nerves causing a nerve compression syndrome.
We’re answering your questions about artificial skin.
My friend had a bad burn on her hand. She mentioned that the doctor used artificial skin on her hand. What is artificial skin anyway?
Artificial skin is a term used to describe a group of products used to treat burns and other wounds. Skin is the largest organ in our body. You can think of it as a fortress. Its chief purpose is to provide protection to the structures inside our bodies as well as to keep our body temperature regulated. A burn or a wound is a hole in that fortress that makes us susceptible to infections or loss of important fluids. Our skin has a remarkable ability to heal itself, but sometimes an injury may involve an area so large that the body cannot heal fast enough to prevent complications. Sometimes these wounds can be covered with skin grafts from elsewhere on the body. However, this can be painful, and, if the area is very large, a skin graft may not be possible. Artificial skin can be one way that these areas can be covered.
You’re in the middle of a good video game. Your team needs you to cover the east arena. But, ouch! Your hands are getting pwn’d! Gaming for hours at a time can cause serious hand or wrist pain. Before you give up your gaming dreams, try these suggestions to ease and prevent the pain.
Ice. If your hand feels hot and swollen, rest and apply ice. Wrap a bag of ice in cloth, and place over the painful area for 15-20 minutes. Ice helps dull pain and reduce swelling.
Rest. Don’t underestimate time disconnected. Your fingers perform forceful, repetitive motions when manipulating buttons and analog sticks. Decrease the strain on your tendons and nerves by taking time away from the controller. Take a five minute break every thirty minutes.