Easing nintendonitis

Delete your computer-related injuries with this simple stretch.

By Laura Pratt

Nintendonitis — the name may be cute, but the condition it describes is painful and afflicting. It's just one of the terms for injuries afflicting young gamers and computer users. Here's a list of some of the injuries computer users sustain.
• Nintendonitis comes from using small Gameboys and joysticks, and can result in tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome.
• DeQuervains tenosynovitis (also called “Blackberry thumb”) is an inflammation of the thumb tendons that comes about from repetitive use of controller devices.
• Carpal tunnel, an irritation of the main nerve on the palm side of your wrist, from a repetitive motion, results in pain and tingling in the hands.
• neck and upper-shoulder strain come from poor posture in front of a television, a computer or a video game.
• tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a pain on the outside of the elbow that comes from holding the controller in front of you and vigourously flexing your forearm muscles.

Stretching it out
A recent survey found that 30 per cent of kids who played computer games on a regular basis had wrist pain. Before engaging in anything that involves overuse of your forearms, do these stretches, recommended by David Lindsay, head physiotherapist at the University of Calgary Sport Medicine Centre.

1. Stretch one arm out in front of you, palm down and wrist relaxed; with the other hand, grab your knuckles and bend your wrist further down. You should feel a stretch along the top of your wrist and along the outside of your forearm.

2. Stretch one arm out in front, palm up; with the other hand, pull your fingers back. You should feel a stretch on the palm side of your wrist and along the inside of your forearm. For more information, visit www.iea.cc/ergonomics4children/.

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