When I started seeing my physical therapist about a month ago, I was actually already starting to feel better. I stopped doing a lot of the activities that were causing me pain, like texting with my thumbs, and started doing a lot more stretches and exercises to help improve the mobility and strength of my fingers, hands, wrists, forearms, and arms in general. So when my PT added on new exercises, I could definitely feel an improved strength and mobility, as now I can actually open jars and carry a full mug with just one hand again thankfully, so I thought, oh hey, maybe I won’t have to go to PT anymore!
Well, that all came crashing down this week when I decided to stupidly start using my phone and texting the way I previously did again, along with who the heck knows what else, but my elbows started flaring up. So I told my PT this, and I told him which positions and actions made me feel the pain and burning sensations, and he tentatively concluded that I may have mild cubital tunnel syndrome. Cubital tunnel what?
This is an injury that happens more commonly now with smartphones. Someone holds the phone in front of her with her arms and elbows close to her body. That position, combined with the typing action of the fingers, pushes a nerve the wrong way around your elbow, causing the burning and the pain. My PT said he has two other patients who are in their 20s, so younger than me, with far, far worse symptoms. They can’t even lift their arms over their heads.
So now, along with exercises and stretching, I have to do “nerve gliding” exercises to encourage my nerve to move back into its rightful place… away from my elbow.
Yep. The smartphone will be part of all our demises. Forget the computer and your attempt at ergonomic desk setup. It’s time to blame that evil iPhone now and our terrible addiction to it.