A Resolution to Treat Yourself!

Ring in the new year with a resolution to take care of yourself! Perhaps you have nagging aches and pains that you ignored during the busy holiday season or hoped they would go away on their own. Well, it's a new year, and time to make taking care of yourself your top priority!

Many aches and pains can be caused by tendonitis, nerve compression syndromes, or osteoarthritis. These conditions are progressive and become more difficult to treat if they are neglected for long periods of time. Take action today!

See your physician to get a diagnosis. Your doctor will discuss your options for treatment. One suggestion may be hand, occupational, or physical therapy. Typically, therapy involves attending sessions with a therapist one to three times per week. Remember, for your therapy to be beneficial, you must follow through with the program your therapist sets up for you.

No problems, you say? Feeling healthy and strong? Good for you, we hope you stay that way! Overuse injuries and syndromes can sneak up on you, as opposed to an injury with a known cause and sudden onset of symptoms, like pain or swelling. With overuse injuries you may notice a slow, gradual ache or pain that can progress if not attended to. Take a moment to review the course of action if you notice a new ache or pain.

1. Make an appointment to see your physician. Remember early diagnosis and treatment leads to faster recovery. Be prepared for your visit with your doctor. Write down questions you have and be sure to discuss your options!

2. In the meantime try using a gel cold pack wrapped in a pillowcase over the painful or swollen area for 10 minutes, a few times each day. This is especially important for the first three to five days after your symptoms start.

To make your own cold pack get two one gallon Ziploc bags and place one inside the other. Fill it with a 16 ounce bottle of rubbing alcohol and 32 ounces of water. Seal both bags tightly and free until slushy.

3. Respect pain. Throw the phrase “no pain, no gain” out the window. Pain is your body's way of telling you that an activity is stressful. If you can safely stop in the middle of an activity that's increasing your pain, do so.

4. Rest the painful area as much as possible. Plan ahead to avoid or delegate activities you know will be painful.

With each year that passes, our lives and schedules seem to get busier with less and less time for ourselves. Whatever the new year has in store for you, taking time out to “treat yourself” may be just the answer.

Happy New Year!

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How To Avoid Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

Working Online Can Cause Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)

It is thanks to the latest technology that working from home is possible. With the internet and a home computer, you can effectively launch your business without ever leaving your house. But working with computers for long periods of time is not without its problems.

In a traditional office environment, businesses work hard to make sure that every employee is fit and healthy. However, a number of employees still find themselves encountering Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), a painful, uncomfortable problem that can make typing and other manual tasks impossible.

Now think about the time that your average home business owner spends working with a computer. It is easy to see why freelancers and home workers are even more likely to encounter this horrible condition.

Your business is important, but your health matters too. Read on to find out more about repetitive strain injury, learn about the most common causes, and discover practical ways to reduce your chances of RSI.

What Is Repetitive Strain Injury?

Whenever someone repeats a manual task for long periods of time and finds themselves in discomfort, they often blame a bout of RSI. In fact, RSI is not a specific medical condition – it is a term used to describe the symptoms and the cause.

Repetitive strain injury is any pain or discomfort that occurs as a result of repetitive movement. According to the RSI Awareness Website, almost half a million people in the UK encounter some kind of RSI each year.

RSI can affect the nerves, muscles or tendons, with patients noticing pain in the wrist, neck, shoulders, or elbow. Sometimes, RSI can be linked to more specific medical conditions. There are two types of RSI:

RSI Type 1

Repetitive Strain Injury Type 1 is used to describe the general symptoms and causes of a precise medical condition. After looking at your symptoms and conduct a full diagnosis, a medical professional can identify your RSI as carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, or bursitis.

If you have swapping around the affected area, you may have another condition that has caused your pain and discomfort. Thankfully, these types of RSI are reliably easy to treat.

RSI Type 2

Repetitive Strain Injury Type 2 is a much more difficult problem to mitigate. Doctors describe RSI as type 2 when they are unable to diagnose a specific medical condition. Of course, without a specific diagnosis, it can be difficult to advise specific medical treatment.

Causes Of Repetitive Strain Injury

To avoid developing RSI, you need to understand how it happens. Rather obviously, the most significant cause is repetitive motion.

When any joint or muscle in the body repeats the similar motion again and again, it will absolutely become stressed and inflamed. If inflammation occurs, your movement will become even more restricted and, ultimately, a worsening cycle of RSI begins.

However, repetitive motion for prolonged periods is not the only factor involved in RSI.

Your overall posture as you sit at your desk will have an impact on your chances of getting RSI. Although symptoms may occur in the wrists and limbs, these symptoms can actually be caused by the position of your back and how this affects the overall performance of your body.

In addition, environmental factors such as temperature can make your symptoms worse. Even stress is thought to be linked to repetitive strain injury and its related medical conditions.

So, if you are a stressed freelancer or business owner that works at a computer for prolonged periods, you are at heightened risk of getting RSI.

Tips For Avoiding Repetitive Strain Injury

People that work from home or run home businesses have a strong chance of encountering RSI at some point in their working lives. Unfortunately, we are also the people that can not afford to do less, take a few days off, or get away from the desk. The best advice is to avoid repetitive strain injury in the first place. Here are some suggestions that you should use to keep your working environment safe!

1. Set Up Your Desk And Chair For Best Posture

RSI is rarely attributed to the specifics of how you put your hands, wrists and limbs on to the keyboard or desk. In fact, RSI is caused by wider problems with your overall posture. In the workplace, employers are obliged to train staff on how to sit correctly at a desk. You should follow similar advice.

First, it goes without saying that you should be working at a desk and sitting on a chair with full back support. Although as your business gets up and running you may be happy to relax on the sofa, this should never become your daily working routine.

For your chair, make sure that your feet touch the ground. In addition, sit right back in the chair so that your lower back is supported. Once your chair is adjusted to the right position, make sure that your screen is around eye-level. This may mean buying a stand for your laptop if applicable, or adjusting the height of your monitor.

Finally, organize your desk so that everything that you need is within easy reach. You should never have to overreach or twist to answer the phone, or grab your cup of coffee. Speaking of coffee …

2. Take Regular Breaks

Most people that work from home love the benefit of being able to take breaks whenever they need to. Although it's never advisable to fill yourself with coffee or snacks, look for excuses to move around your home and away from the office. As a minimum, you should give yourself one break in the morning, a long lunchtime, and a second break in the afternoon. Ideally, though, you will stop typing and move away from your desk whenever you get the chance.

A great tip is to move around any time that you are not typing. If you answer or make a phone call, why not chat as you walk around the house? If you need to think about a plan or strategy, do not do it from your desk. And finally, avoid the terrible habit of having breaks at your desk and using the time to check social media!

3. Look For Ways To Avoid Typing

There are many things that you can do to help your body cope with long periods of typing. Sometimes, there are simply no ways to avoid a lengthy spell at your desk with the fingers tapping on the keys. But just as technology has made the problem of RSI more common, the very latest technology helps to overcome the issue.

Dictation software is becoming increasingly sophisticated and, with smartphones, many people have a dictation tool in their pockets at all times. If you need to take notes for your reference, why not say them out loud into a dictaphone or recording device? Some software can even recognize what you are saying and transcribe it into a document for you.

Treating Your Repetitive Strain Injury

Even if you follow the above advice for avoiding RSI, you may still find yourself suffering the symptoms at one point or another. So what do you do? The most important answer is to visit your doctor. Repetitive strain injury is so common now that many people do not take the problem seriously. However, since RSI can be linked to a range of different conditions, the best suggestion is to seek the advice and insight of a medical professional.

Treatments such as acupuncture, Pilates, anti-inflammatory drugs and physiotherapy can all help. If you think you have the symptoms of RSI, speak to your doctor to learn which ones are best for you.

Visit HomeforBusiness for more tips on how to stay healthy while working at home .

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An Overview of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is one of the most common forms of neuropathy. It affects the median nerve in the forearm that regulates feeling and movement in the hands. Carpal tunnel results when the median nerve is compressed or damaged and causes feeling of pain, numbness and tingling in the hands.

Causes of CTS

The reasons for carpal tunnel syndrome are twofold: a swapping of the nerve or a condition that causes the tunnel to become smaller. Health issues leading to CTS include:

· Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis
· Obesity
· Pregnancy
· Repetitive hand motions such as typing
· Wrist injuries
· Smoking (decreases blood flow to the nerve)

Symptoms of CTS

CTS causes pain, weakness and tingling in the fingers and hands. Many people also experience pain in their arm between the elbow and hand. Symptoms typically show up in the thumb, index, and middle fingers. Interestingly enough, carpal tunnel syndrome does not affect the little finger as it is not controlled by the median nerve.

Diagnosing CTS

Carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms generally come on gradually. Many people first experience symptoms at night or while doing an activity that aggravates the nerve. Most find relief by stopping the repetitive motion and shaking their hand (s).

To diagnose CTS your health care provider will conduct a simple medical examination as well as ask a series of questions. Most doctors will ask if you suffer from a pre-existing medical condition such as diabetes, arthritis or hypothyroidism. They will also ask if you have recently suffered an acute injury which may have led to carpal tunnel syndrome.

The physical examination generally includes checking the arms, neck, hands, back and shoulders. If necessary, the health care provider may require you to undergo blood or nerve testing as well as diagnostic imaging.

Treating CTS

Mild symptoms are typically treated at home. It is critical to begin treatment at the onset of symptoms in order to prevent long-term damage or more intrusive treatment options. At-home treatment includes:

Resting the arm as well as ceasing from activities that cause aggravation
· Icing the wrist for 10 minutes every couple of hours
· Taking anti-inflammatory drugs to stop the pain and reduce the swelling
· We wear a wrist splint at night as well as during activities where you are using your arms and wrists
· Create a workspace at the office with proper ergonomic equipment

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Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Prevention

With computers and other technology being so much a part of our lives today, the risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome is simply too high to ignore.

As you type on your keyboard and move your mouse around for hours upon hours each day, tissue in your carpal tunnel can swell, placing pressure on the median nerve. The result is a pinched nerve in your hand. If left untreated, it can cause permanent nerve damage.

Make Carpal Tunnel Exercises a Part of Your Daily Routine

According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons **, you should do five-minute warm-up exercises for carpal tunnel prevention before you start using your keyboard and mouse. The exercises include:

1. Stretch your arms in front of you, wrists and hands stretched up as if in a hand stand, and hold for five seconds.
2. Keeping your wrist straight, relax your fingers.
3. With arms still outstretched, make tight fists with both hands.
4. While keeping your fists tight and arms straight, bend both wrists down and hold for five seconds.
5. Now straighten your wrists and relax your fingers. Hold the position for five seconds.
6. Repeat exercises 1-5 for 10 times. After the tenth time, allow your arms to relax by your side as you shake your hands for a few seconds.

** American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons

Do the exercises several times a day to help prevent problems from developing. Maintaining good posture at all times is also helpful in preventing carpal tunnel syndrome. Keep your spine against the back of your chair, shoulders relaxed, elbows along the side of your body and wrists straight. Keep your hands and wrists in a relaxed, comfortable position while typing. Reduce mouse use and ensure you are working in an ergonomic workspace.

If You Have:

• tingling and numbness in your thumb, index, and middle finger,
• tingling in all fingers,
• tingling in only the thumb or middle finger,
• aching and pain in your hand,
• aching in your forearm that can radiate to your shoulder or back, and / or
• clumsiness or a weak grip,

You Might Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Do not delay treatment.

If you suffer with symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, treatment may not require surgery. Simply resting your hand, wearing a wrist brace, and taking medication may provide relief. However, if your symptoms persist for at least 8 weeks and a test shows you have a pinched nerve, then surgical treatment may be your best option for hand pain relief.

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Identifying Carpel Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

In order to better understand and identify carpel tunnel syndrome symptoms, one must first understand the anatomy of the hand, wrist and fingers. A medical nerve is located in the hands and passes through a rather constrictive passageway called the carpel tunnel. This tunnel enterprises of three different sides, all cornered by bone. The fourth side features a ligament called the transverse carpal ligament. Nine tendons pass through this tunnel passageway in the hands, and combined with the median nerve, they allow you to form a fist with your hand and provide movement allocations to the fingers, wrists and hands. When repetitive strain is caused – most often by over usage of the hands, wrists and fingers – the tendons can become inflamed and can swell, thereby causing compression of the nerve and commonly resulting in chronic symptoms such as tingling in the hands, fingers or wrists , temporary loss of feeling or numbness and chronic pain. The symptoms are often further aggravated by usage of the hands when the nerve becomes increasingly irritated, further instigating associated symptoms. Knowing how to identify key symptoms of this disorder can help you better proactively seek treatment to gain effective relief.

Tingling in Hands

Tingling in the hands, fingers or wrists is a common experience for anyone that uses these body parts frequently for their occupation or hobby. When the tingling is chronic and recurring, it can be the sign of something more serious. Tingling is the result of the nerve reacting. When complete numbness occurs – which is generally temporary – it can also be the result of lack of blood flow to these areas. When improper circulation has been ruled out as the culprit, however, the tingling and numbness can often be related to nerve compression.

Chronic Hand Pain

Hand pain that is chronic by its nature can be a devastating and debilitating experience for anyone. It can also be difficult to ascertain what the source of such pain signal is. Hand pain sufferers commonly suffer from inflamed tendons in the hand that can cause compression of the median nerve. In this instance, it's vital to gain doctor oversight and proper diagnoses in order to correct the problem and procure pain relief.

Numbness in Fingers, Wrists or Hands

Numbness in the hands, fingers or wrists should never be ignored. When poor circulation has been ruled out, numbness is a serious issue. It basically is a way of your body telling you that something is not working properly in your hands. Numbness occurs when the nerve is so compressed and irritated that it has difficulty communicating with the central nervous system. If ignored for too long, it could result in permanent nerve damage and loss of feeling and responsiveness in the affected areas.

Treatment Options

There exists a variety of modernized treatment options that sufferers can seek out for treatment of carpel tunnel syndromes and median nerve compression. A variety of outpatient rehabilitation methods exist that can provide noninvasive relief of chronic pain and associated symptoms. For more severe cases, an array of invasive and semi-invasive surgical options exists that can be discussed with your treating doctor.

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How to Know When to See Your Doctor About Hand Pain

The central nervous system is one complex array that bridles even the most sophisticated satellite arrays in space. Its complexities are so complete that manned attempts to understand it yet fails to master it even after thousands of years of medicine practice. Our nervous systems help us recognize when our body has become damaged by sending signals to the brain. However, when the body continues to send these pain signals to the brain without letup, it can be the sign of something more serious. With regard to chronic sufferers of hand pain, intermittent nervous signals may seem like your everyday existence-but they could also be your body telling you that you need to take action, lest you suffer from permanent nerve damage or loss of feeling in the affected areas . Use the helpful suggestions provided in this article to know when it's time to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Loss of Feeling

When the nerves react to compression, typically found in the carpel tunnel in the hand, a common side effect that's reported is the loss of feeling. This is also associated with tingling hands or fingers. As the nerves become compressed, they can and do sustain damage without relief. If you suffer from sporadic loss of feeling or chronic tingling in your fingers, hands or wrists-have your doctor take a look at the issue to ensure that something more serious is not taking place.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain in the hands can often be unbearable. This is a rather tragic common experience for people who use their hands to work. The most commonly affected people include people who sit at computers, musicians, massage therapists, machinists, and those who hold occupations that require aggressive, repetitive usage of the hands or wrists. For these persons, suffering from unbearable pain is not really an option for their career. Chronic pain in the hands can be characterized as an unrelenting and often sporadic occurrence of pain resulting in dull or throbbing pain that can be accompanied by tingling and temporary loss of feeling in the fingers, hands, arms, elbows or wrists. This type of hand pain should be immediately reported to your doctor-who will most certainly run some tests to check for nerve, muscle, ligament and joint damage to diagnose the symptoms.

Why It's Important to See Your Doctor

For starters, doctors practice medicine to help us. That aside, when your body is constantly sending signals to your brain, it's indicating that something is wrong. Ignoring the issue will not resolve it, even if the pain ceases for a few days. Chronic pain in the hands is often associated with repetitive strain injury and or carpel tunnel compression, often also being linked to issues in the elbow and Gideon's canyon. By properly diagnosing the issue and seeking progressive treatment, you can identify any serious related issues, such as those that could lead to nerve damage, and you can take actions to treat the issues that are causing the pain, so exponentially increasing your quality of life .

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Upper Body Strength Worthless Without Strong Wrists and Hands

The other day I was shaking someone's hand and they noted that I had strong hands. Personally, I had not thought much about it because, to me they are just normal, but to someone without strong hands it is noticeable. In any case, they later told me that they did not have strong hands, and their hands and wrists often hurt – badly in fact. They told me that they could not do many push-ups either, not because they did not have upper body strength but rather because their wrists and hands just could not hold up their weight long enough to complete 20 or so push-ups. Okay so, let's talk say we?

You see, this young man went to the gym every day and he used various machines and you'd think that would keep his hands and wrists in top form and give him some strength to boot. But that is not what was happening at all – instead he was babysitting his hands and wrists and avoiding the pain. Well, you know what they say; “no pain, no gain” or maybe for some of us, a little pain and some gain? I surprised to myself “what good is strong upper body and the ability to have big muscles if you can not use them? , embarrassing, but it's more than that actually.

Indeed, all that strength isiable to have you damaging your hands as you attempt to do something using your solid upper body strength and misjudge your ability to hold the weight or balance whatever it is you are moving, picking up, pushing, or pulling. Do you see that point? This same individual said he could only do a few pull-ups because he often lost his grip, and said the pain was too much. I thought to myself; “what is he doing wrong” and wondered if he was not doing things in a proper ergonomic fashion. Perhaps it was just simple corrections that he needed to do, or maybe he needed to stop lifting all those weights and start doing more hand and wrist exercises.

The more I thought about this the more I realized that my hand and wrist strength comes from “washing and detailing cars” just like the Karate Kid Movie; “Wax on, Wax off!” Seriously, maybe he needs more reps and lower weights until he gets his wrists and hands where they need to be. Please consider all this and think on it.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Causes, Treatment and Prevention

WHAT IS IT?

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a common disorder of the wrist and hand. CTS most recognizable features are pain and numbness into the palm side of the wrist and hand. Sufferers may also say their fingers feel swollen. When the condition is more severe, weakness can result considering problems with simple everyday activities such as brushing your teeth, gripping a glass or cup or even dressing in the morning. Occidentally the pain may travel up the arm. Symptoms are commonly worse in the morning.

WHAT IS GOING ON?

These symptoms are a result of a nerve (median) becoming compressed as it passes through an opening in the wrist. This compression is most commonly caused by the other structures that are also in this small tunnel. These are the bones of the wrist and the tendons (muscles) that move the fingers and thumb. When these structures become damaged or inflamed, they can put pressure or irritate the median nerve. This nerve starts in the neck and travels down the arm into the hand. Because of this, poor posture or injuries to either the neck or shoulder and upper arm can be linked to this disorder. Other conditions can cause someone to be more prone to developing CTS including pregnancy, arthritis, an old fracture at the wrist, or overuse in repetitive sports / jobs.

WHAT CAN BE DONE?

Like almost all conditions and disorders the first thing a person can do is be preventive. This starts with taking precautionary measures, especially if you are in a higher risk group as previously discussed. Prevention starts with stretching and being aware of improper post and form when performing repetitive tasks in either work or play. You want to avoid prolonged positions where your wrist is bent forwards of backwards. If this is impossible, take frequent breaks to reduce the stress on your wrist. If you use tools for work or racquets for sport, use large handles to loosen your grip and minimize the amount of force your muscles need to generate.

If you are already afflicted with this disorder, some of these same tactics can be useful but you are best served to be assessed by a healthcare practitioner to determine the severity as certain stretches and exercises can actually make the condition worse. When you are already experiencing pain, priority is to try and reduce the irritating action to allow healing and an ability to fix the problem. If unable to do this, treatment can take longer than normal. Treatment of the disorder is aimed at decreasing pain and inflammation in the carpal tunnel. This can be done by icing, taking medications or using treatments like electrotherapies, acupuncture, massage therapy to reduce symptoms and heal faster. If symptoms are severe, a splint can be worn at night to keep your wrist neutral and reduce stress. If someone has symptoms that are advanced and do not respond to treatment attempts, the last resort is a surgical procedure called a carpal tunnel release where the surgeon will cut the ligament covering the tunnel to release the pressure. As with all surgeries, there are inherent risks of continuous symptoms and should only be done as a last resort as it is irreversible!

WHAT CAN I DO AT WORK?

One of the major causes for developing carpal tunnel syndrome is having poor posture at your work station. Having an ergonomic assessment done can be helpful but here are a few simple tips to help alleviate stress on your body:

  • Follow the 90-90 rule! Position your elbows, hips, knees, and ankles in a 90 degree position for optimal alignment.
  • Position the top of your computer screen at eye level to prevent eye and neck strain
  • Set the keyboard at a closer distance from you to avoid unnecessary trouble in reaching the keyboard.
  • Place the keyboard in such a manner so that your arms should be parallel to your thighs.
  • Keep your wrists straight, relaxed and in a neutral position in line with your forearm. When typing, the best practice is to keep your wrists floating rather than resting them on a wrist pad. But if you choose to use a wrist pad, rest the heels of your palms and not your palms. If possible, use the wrist pad between typing movements and not during typing.
  • Gently press the keys and do not hold them down for extended periods.
  • Perform back, shoulder, and wrist stretches and shoulder scratches at least every hour to prevent body strain and stress

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Tiger Woods Elbow Injury and Poor Grip Strength Training on the PGA Tour

Poor grip training and hand, wrist & elbow training on the PGA Tour will continue to produce hand, wrist & elbow injuries. The people in the know that report on the PGA Tour have to be made aware of this hole in the boat. Fundamental hand and grip strength exercise concepts are overlooked because traditional 'grip-only' hand training has become so organically accepted over the years.

When I was a junior golfer, I was also told to grip a tennis ball to strengthen my hands … bad advice!

The back of our hand, wrist & elbow house our 'grip-stabilizing' band of muscles. Each time we grip anything (think gym, practice & play), these muscles contract in support of the grip. Otherwise the hand and fingers would collapse. It is a co-contracting, meaning the 'hand-opening' muscles contract to support the action of the 'hand-closing' muscles. We call this co-contraction GRIP! But we either do not understand it … or we do not train our golfers like we understand it.

The problem is that the hand-opening muscles (the grip-stabilizers) are contracting in one static position over and over, so building a static extensor band that is SO easy to injure, especially under the stress of a golf strike … multiplied innumerably by high rough, more by wet rough and more by rocks & tree roots …

Thus, hand, wrist & elbow imbalance is universal in golf and injury after injury after injury will occur at an unnecessarily high rate … hand, wrist, elbow especially. It is the same 'route' cause – hand muscle imbalance – not tree roots alone!

Yes, golf is a contact sport for these areas, but if key structures are regularly trained, producing inflexible muscle chains and poor blood flow, they have VERY LITTLE chance of escaping injury, especially as the golfer ages ..

We have developed an easy complete exercise that will solve this training and golf-inherent imbalance in EVERY SINGLE GOLFER. I am a former professional golfer. I have seen the poor training first hand. I've worked with 1000's of athletes and musicians. ALL (every one!) Are strong in flexion, weak in extension. Same thing over and over until we work with them. Should this not be a very obvious hint? We have many professional golfers using our product and they do very well.

But this imbalance is not just an injury issue for the older golfer. It is also a performance issue for all golfers. The stronger the grip stabilizer muscles are, the stronger the hand strength, the greater the player can relax and still have control of the club, the better the player can negotiate lower with lower risk of injury when required.

I am hopeful that we can raise awareness with golfers and prominent fitness and training professionals in the golf industry, especially once players. Now that Tiger Woods and John Daly are both out with elbow injuries, the spotlight is on this issue as much as ever. Mike Weir is another very notable golfer, Aaron Olberholser, Nice Price, Julie Inkster, Lanny Wadkins, Doug Tewell, etc. etc. etc … and the full list including hand and wrist injuries is exhausting …

If you are a golfer, a therapist, a trainer or participate in any grip activity, understand that the hand-opening muscles are just as important as the hand-closing muscles in grip performance, speed, strength, flexibility, stamina and to injury reduction at the hand, wrist, carpal tunnel & elbow.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes And Risk Factors

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful hand and arm condition that is caused when a nerve in the wrist gets pinched. One of the most common causes is repetitive motion of the wrist and fingers. Other factors could include anatomy of your wrist or some underlying health problems.

Understanding The Carpal Tunnel

This is a narrow passage located on the wrist on the palm side. Its diameter is about the same as the diameter of the thumb and it is bound by bones and ligaments. The main purpose of this tunnel is to protect the main nerve that goes to your hand as well as the tendons that go to the fingers. Sometimes the carpel tunnel gets compressed, crowed or irritated. This could be due to a inflammatory or swilling due to rheumatoid arthritis or because of some repetitive motion. Whatever the reason, the nerve gets pinched, it causes the symptoms that are typical of carpal tunnel syndrome. More often than not, it is difficult to identify one single causative factor. The symptoms usually develop due to a combination of multiple risk factors.

Recognizing the Risk Factors

There are several risk factors associated with these symptoms. While these factors do not directly cause the symptoms, they increase the likelihood of damaging the nerve or aggravating existing nerve damage.

• A dislocation or fraction in the wrist that decrees the space in the carpal tunnel
• Nerve damaging conditions such as diabetes
• Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
• Workplace factors such as working extended periods of time doing certain jobs that require you to flex your wrists repetitively

Symptoms

The pain generally starts gradually with a dull ache in the wrist region and this gets progressively worse if no steps are taken to manage the pain. Some of the most noticeable symptoms include:

• Numbness or tingling: Numbness or tingling are two of the most common sensations you will feel, especially in all fingers including the thumb but not in the little finger. The sensation feels more pronounced when holding a newspaper or a phone or steering wheel and it may become more or less constant as the condition progresses.

• Radiating Pain: In some cases, the pain may start at the wrist and extend up to the arm or shoulders or down to the palm and fingers. This usually happens if you've been using the wrist repetitively.

• Weakened muscles: the muscles in the wrists start to get weaker and you may start to lose control and let things drop from your fingers.
If you experience any of the above symptoms persistently it is best to seek medical advice as soon as possible. Irreparable nerve or muscle damage can occur if it is left untreated.

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Life Art Models and Hand Wrist Pains

Most people think that wrist pain comes from high-repetition of unnatural motion, such as those which occurs at the grocery store moving items across the scanner at the checkout counter or those who spend all day typing on a key-board. It's not that those things are not problematic or cause carpal tunnel, research proves they do, but what people fail to realize is there are so many other things which cause hand and wrist pain. I'd like to tell you about one you had not yet considered; that of a life art model, trying to hold a pose for a long-period of time for a group of painters. Let's talk.

Try this sometimes; sit on the ground and lean back, then turn your body slightly sideways and put one arm stretched out, and then bring it in another 8 inches so your elbow is bent. Next take the move your hand and rotate it 120-degrees and spread out your fingers in your hand. Then take a book in your other hand put your thumb in the center of the book and hold open the pages. Put your elbow on that arm facing forward and slightly angle your hand backwards. Now hold that pose for 30 minutes. How does that make you feel?

I am sure you are able to hold that pose just because this is a challenge and you did not want to look silly. But go ahead and hold it for another 30 minutes after taking a 10 minute pause. Well, now you know what it's like to have hand and wrist pain as a life art model. If you do these things every day, ever you will have a real challenge, and yes you will ever adapt and your muscles will get stronger, but you will also have problems with your joints, wrists, and hands. You might think that being a life art model is easy because you just sit there and make money for doing nothing.

Still, believe me, it's much more difficult. There are ergonomically ideal positions to sit in or lie in, and it is tricky to find a good pose that you can hold for a long duration of time without getting sore, tired, or having muscle cramps or pain afterwards. What's the answer? Start out with the simpler poses and as you get better at it you can work into the more difficult poses without injuring yourself. Please consider all this and think on it.

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Wrist Injuries and Treatments

Wrist Sprains

The most common sporting injury to the wrist is a wrist sprain. There are many ligaments in the wrist that can be torn or stretched, resulting in a sprained wrist. This commonly occurs when the wrist is bent forcefully or in a fall onto an outstretched hand. Sprains to the wrist can range from mild to severe and are graduated depending upon the degree of ligament injury that exists.

Grade 1 – mild sprain where the ligaments are stretched but not torn
Grade 2 – moderate sprain where the ligaments are partially torn
Grade 3 – severe sprains that occurs when there is significant complete tearing of ligaments

With grade 1 sprains, there is some mild discomfort and decreased range of motion. With grade 2 sprains there is more serious loss of function. Grade 3 sprains result when the ligament tears away from the bone and require surgical treatment. Many times this drinking leads to a small chip of the bone being torn away with the ligament. This is known as an avulsion fraction.

The most common symptoms of a wrist sprain include:

Swelling of the wrist
Bruising or discoloration of the skin around the wrist
Pain at the time of the injury
A feeling of popping or kicking inside the wrist
Persistent pain when you move your wrist
Tenderness at the injury site
A warm or feverish feeling to the skin around the wrist

Most sprains can be treated with immobilization and rest. However, your orthopedic specialist may have to perform surgery to correct your wrist injury. This all depends on the severity of the sprain and intensity of the torn ligament. Surgery involves reconnecting the ligament to the bone. This procedure is followed by a period of rehabilitation with exercises to strengthen your wrist and restore motion. Although the ligament can be expected to heal in 6 to 8 weeks, rehabilitation for a full recovery could take several months.

Other Injuries of the Wrist

Tendinosis – This is a syndrome that involves a series of very small tears (called microtears) in the tissue in and around the tendon. Common symptoms are pain, tenderness, decreased strength of the wrist, and limited movement.

De Quervain's Tendonitis – This can occur in the hand and wrist when the thumb extensor tendons and the sheath covering these tendons swells and becomes inflamed. This leads to pain, tenderness, and decrease in motion of the wrist.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – This is caused by pressure on the median nerve in the wrist. The symptoms of this syndrome include numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain in the fingers, hand and wrist areas.

Colles' Fracture – This type of fraction is a break across the radius that occurs when the hand is extended out during a fall. The break occurs causing the wrist to become shortened and extended. Teens that enjoy outdoor sporting activities often develop these types of fractures because falls often occur.

Symptoms of a Collles' fraction include inability to straighten the wrist or to hold heavy objects, distortion in the shape or angle of the forearm above the wrist, and pain and swelling of the injured area. Many of these fractures are not severe and you can be placed in a splint and sling. Sometimes, the orthopedic specialist applies a fiberglass cast. More severe fractures may require surgery including placement of pins or plates and screws. Recovery from this injury ranges from 6 weeks to 6 months depending on the severity of the fraction.

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How to Avoid the Hand Pain Artists Commonly Suffer

The hands are the tools every artist requires to create with. Hand pain can be very debilitating to anyone who performs repetitive hand and finger movements. Pain to wrists, thumb muscles and finger knuckles are common among artists. This is because of the simple fact of the stress the hands undergo constantly in the processes of pottery-working, bead-working, sculpting, writing, painting, knitting and playing a musical instrument. * Having a strategy to minimize and ultimately avoid this unpleasant and distracting issue of pain is of great value to such individuals. Not only will it make working more pleasurable it should also aid in improving productivity.

Aside from medicinal treatments such as menthol-based ointments and pain relief pills there are other things that can help manage existing pain. For soothing aching or stiff joints thermotherapy is a common treatment method. Knowing the nature of the pain or what is causing it is the key to effective hot and cold treatment of pain.

Cold therapy is best applied immediately after the onset of pain that may occur from overworking the joints and muscles of the hands. This is especially the case in pain resulting from an injury such as an over-extension or from the repetitive blunt trauma that occurs when pounding out clay, for example. The way cold therapy works is by decreasing the flow of blood to the area which minimizes the pain caused by swelling. Cold therapy is applicable in many ways including the use of gel cold-packs, iced compresses or by submerging hands and wrists in water with ice cubes.

Hot therapy is best used when pain is due to joints being stiff or to treat persistent muscular pain. Stiff muscle pain usually comes on after having to hold the hand in a fixed position for a lengthy amount of time. Think of how your hands feel after holding a paint-palette, a crochet needle, or gripping a chisel for an extended period.

Hot therapy is applicable in basically the reverse version of cold therapy: heated gel-packs, hot compresses or by submerging hands and wrists in just bearably hot running water. Remember not to use hot therapy if there is swelling and do not use it on broken skin (eg wounds, surgical stitches).

In order to prevent hand pain here are some guidelines specifically for artists:

  • Pay attention to posture. While pending or standing in the position you approach your art work consider these ergonomic concerns: Do you feel as though your back is supported? Is there sufficient light? Is there enough room to freely move your elbows and arms as you work? Straightening the hands can occur due to one or more of these issues causing extra compensation in hand movements. Examine your work space for simple fixes you can make to add support, space and light. If any of these factors are lacking you could be working in an awkward position causing more stress on your hands and wrists. Change your angle, change your grip or even change your equipment or tools that you work with. The small things can make a huge difference.
  • Remember to take breaks while doing artwork. When there is a deadline or inspiration has finished you with more creative energy than usual it can be very tempting to power through even when you feel your hands are cramping. Listen to your signals and pause; your project will still be there when you come back to it later. Breaks do not mean you have to sit still or take a nap. What is important is that you vary the motion of what you are doing. Fun and light activities during your break like taking a short walk, playing with your pet, or tending your houseplants can be rewarding and also allow your hands to relax. This way you return to your artwork ready to begin again refreshed.
  • Make it a habit to occasionally flex your wrists, make circular motions to turn them palm facing upward and palm facing downwards, or make fists and rotate clockwise and counter-clockwise. This enhancements circulation and stretches the muscles effectively combing stiffness. Surgeons and massage therapists both employ this exercise regularly to be able to perform at their best.
  • Thermotherapy – yes, again – for the aim of prevention instead of treatment of existing pain The pattern of application is typically either cold / hot / cold or hot / cold / hot. Pay attention to what is most effective and make these treatments part of art-breaks. You may even try working on a particularly intensive project after a hot bath or shower so that your wrists are warmed up and less stiff.
  • Wear stress-relief gloves that support the muscles of your hands to decrease strain while you work. These gloves have been specifically designed with crafting in mind, so they are finger-less and made of durable material. You can find them in art supply stores typically in the knitting / needle working section.

If the pain is not treated properly, the injured part of the hand does not rehabilitate. In such a scenario involving the hands of an artist, it is possible that they would have to give up practicing their craft. I hope this article helps you take good care of your hands so you can stay pain-free and keep making wonderful art.

* The advice in this article is not meant to replace traditional medical treatment. If you experience recurring or intestinal pain, please follow the recommendations of a physician as needed.

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When Is It Finally Time to Turn to a Hand Surgeon?

Is it time for you to see a hand surgeon? In many situations, people try and put off getting help for the pain and discomfort they feel. There is no doubt that if your hands hurt, everything you do through the day is going to hurt. Turning the pages in a book, typing on a computer, and even making a meal can become difficult, if not impossible. Although you may want to put off getting help, do not do so. Often, the sooner you get help, the more your doctor can do to reduce your pain and improve your symptoms.

Severe Pain

If you have severe pain or pain that seems to be getting worse, seek out a hand surgeon. Even if he or she is not going to operate on you just yet, this specialist can provide you with the specific information and testing you need to know what is really happening. You may be able to get treatment that involves physical therapy or pain medications and avoid surgery. Severe pain can reduce your quality of life significantly. The surgeons will help you to find out what can be done about it.

Chronic Pain

The most common type of pain and discomfort people put off getting help for is chronic pain. You feel it, you know it is there, but you just learn to deal with it. The problem with this is that it may be getting worse over time, leading to a more acute problem that could have been prevented. Over time, chronic conditions can worsen so much so that you will lose some range of motion in your wrists or fingers. You may not even realize just how bad it has gotten because the gradual buildup of discomfort has allowed you to simply get used to it.

Arthritis

In some cases, the condition just warrants help. Your family doctor may have told you that you need to see a hand surgeon. In cases of arthritis, the joints in the hands may be treatable. You may not have to deal with the inability to move your joints like you once did. Instead of putting off getting this help, turn to a professional who can guide you through the process of finding the right solution for your individual problem.

The bottom line is that there is help. If you have ligament tears, sprains, wrist pain, fractures, or other types of deformities, injuries, or diseases, turn to a doctor that specializes in this area. It could make all of the difference in the income you have and the way that you feel.

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The Truth About Hand Therapy

The hand is the distinct part of the body which is composed of muscles, bones, joints, nerves, soft tissues, blood vessels and skin. Our hands allow us to to consume, create content, dress up, earn money as well as do other activities. To perform these kind of activities and jobs, our hands need movement as well as sensation such as joint movement, ligament sliding and muscle pulling. Individuals who are suffering from hand pain due to a lot of health concerns such as accidents, fractures, damaged muscle tissues, surgical treatment, carpal tunnel symptoms, diabetic issues, osteo-arthritis, workplace injuries as well as neurological condition need hand treatment method. When you notice some of these situations, you bought to make an appointment with your personal doctor. Your doctor recommends some medications, anti-inflammatory medications as well as send to a physical therapist for hand treatment solution to assist sufferers to restore optimum utilization of the hands right after injuries, surgery and also with other health conditions.

Hand therapy is the non surgical treatment done by a physical therapist on the sufferers that has trouble with hands and top limbs. Professional hand specialists are either work-related specialist or even physio therapist that have additional training in treatment solutions for hands, upper arm and also wrist. When you find the knowledgeable therapist, she or he will make a customized treatment solution along with specific hand treatment exercises in order to help you achieve usual hand performance to work, sports as well as daily activities. Specific and also regular hand treatment work outs within the aid of an experienced professional therapist is significant. There are various kinds of physical rehabilitation work outs to the hand.

Hand therapy treatment solution for hand consists of:

– Hand therapy involves numerous treatment procedures like cold packs, hot packs, paraffin dips, lontophoresis, contrast bath, ice massage, ultrasound examination and also electrical stimulation to decrease the ache, swelling as well as promote recovery.

– Splints and braces are used to protect your injured place from further more injuries.

– Stretching and strengthening workouts to recover muscle function, hand motors as well as joint range of motion.

– Plan and implementation of workout programs in order to boost the dexterity, motion and energy of the muscle mass.

– Doing diaphragmatic respiration each day will enhance the quality of respiration as well as calms down the muscles of the shoulders and neck.

– Normal therapies like cross-friction massage therapy, soft tissue mobilization and trigger point massage. Also scarce management such as massage and silicone solution help to improve movement, reduce puffiness and also lessen sensitivity.

– Lift your hands appropriatively, the hands should be lifted above the elbow level and the shoulder should be higher than your heart level and also the elbow slightly bent. You may pick this placement despite sitting at a desk, over the bed and lying down on the sofa with a lot of cushions for support.

– Maintain a great and comfortable posture.

– Instruct the patients on positioning despite raising and also sleeping, ergonomic concepts, joint and muscle safety strategies.

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