November 6 to 12th is pain awareness week in Canada. According to The Canadian Pain Society, pain research is greatly underfunded and “veterinarians receive five times more training in pain than doctors and three times more training than nurses.”1
There is a definite need for the recognition of pain in healthcare and in the meantime, the CCCT thought it would be a good opportunity to help you as a patient become informed about sources of pain that you may have not considered.
Technology has changed the way we interact with others, do our jobs and relax. Although the world has changed so that we can do things more easily than the past (unless you absolutely insist on sending snail mail over an electronic mail), it has also increased the demand for how much we feel we need to accomplish in a day. Below we take a look at technological advancements which may be negatively impacting your well-being and contributing to pain.
- Cell phones are everywhere! And they are more than just phones. Today’s phones let you text, update your facebook status (“i’m readin a gr8 CCCT blog!”), get directions and read restaurant reviews. Although it is very beneficial to have the world in the palm of your hand, constant typing and scrolling on small devices like cell phones is putting a lot of strain on your thumbs, your eyes and your overall posture. In fact, some researchers are starting to think that there’s a link between texting and thumb arthritis – a condition characterized by inflammation and pain in the thumb joint. It’s important to prevent worsening of pain symptoms since severe thumb arthritis can make simple tasks such as opening a doors very difficult and very painful. So give the Blackberry a rest once in a while, and try some more traditional forms of communication- like talking!
- It isn’t uncommon to see a group of business professionals, university students and even housewives with an extra bag hanging from their shoulder or gripped between a clenched fist. And what you’ll likely find in that 15” X 10” bag is a . Although average less than 10 pounds, the added weight of adapters and the repetitive pressure on the shoulder or arms can lead to some serious muscle tightness and soreness. In response to continual added weight on one side of the body, muscles remain tense and what you’ll likely see when you look into the mirror is that one shoulder is lifted higher than the other. This muscle imbalance can alter posture and cause added pain to your neck, hips and back because body parts are connected like a system- throw one off, throw them all off. To avoid muscle pain, leave what you can at home, and pack what you need in a backpack where the weight is more evenly distributed.
- More people are becoming computer and internet savvy and more jobs and homework assignments require some computer use. However, people often fail to consider their posture at a computer desk, and this can also contribute to aches and pains. Common problems associated with prolonged computer use include wrist pain from constant typing (especially if you’re a blogger!); neck pain and eye strain from leaning forward to read the computer screen; and hip pain from prolonged sitting. Some tips to reduce pain associated with computer use include:
- Opt for a desk with a keyboard tray so you are not putting stress on your wrists by typing at an awkward angle (this is a difficult problem to solve for users unless they invest in an additional keyboard)
- Adjust your monitor so you are looking straight ahead and not up or down
- Don’t sit a rigid and upright position. Allow yourself to lean back slightly for comfort
- Don’t sit for long periods of time. Get up, move around! This will help your circulation and prevent hip pain. Plus, it will help keep your mind active which will improve your productivity
- When you go home at night, your first temptation might be to sprawl out on your couch in front of the television. While there is nothing wrong with some relaxation, be mindful that you might be setting yourself up for further stress down the road. We have the tendency to lie on the couch with our head on the arm rest, head towards the T.V. While this makes for some great relaxing, this puts strain on the neck by turning it away from the body, and upward towards the T.V. Worse, yet, is falling asleep in this position.
These are of course simple steps we can take in the management of pain. However, this should take away from the need to raise awareness about more serious pain conditions.
For more information about pain awareness, please visit The Canadian Pain Society.
Additionally, if you may visit the Dr. Wilderman Pain Management Clinic.
1 National Pain Awareness Week: Time to Examine Canada’s Invisible
Epidemic (Online):http://www.newswire.ca/fr/story/872974/national-pain-awareness-week-time-to-examine-canada-s-invisible-epidemic [Retrieved: Nov 8,2011]