Online Gamblers at Risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Online gambling can be great fun- it’s an exciting, relaxing, and often social activity. However, there are significant problems associated with sitting in front of a computer, typing, and using a mouse for hours on end. Besides problems like inactivity and obesity, there is a problem that seems quite minor but is actually very serious: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a type of nerve damage that results from irritation of the nerve in the “tunnel” of the wrist. Inside the tunnel, when the wrist is subject to overuse, the tendons grow and expand and then press on the nerve. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome sufferers may experience a burning sensation in the fingers or even a complete numbness in the entire hand area. 

This disease traditionally afflicts people who use their hands in a repetitive fashion during work or hobbies, such as assembly line workers, meat packers, tailors, accountants, writers, and those who play video games or gamble on the internet. Also, people whose work includes holding some sort of vibratory tool, such as a drill or a jackhammer, are susceptible to the illness. 

The problem attracted a great deal of attention last month when Chicago Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome after using the computer for four hours or more per day in order to chat with his brother in Venezuela using an instant messenger service. 

In order to avoid this pesky problem, online gamblers should take specific precautions. The most important tip from physicians is to take frequent short breaks from online gambling or other computer- related activities. Also, online gamblers are advised to sit properly, with the back straight and feet planted firmly on the floor. Another preventative method is to do frequent exercises with one’s hands. Try the following exercises:

1) Extend your fingers out of the palms of your ends as far as possible. Hold for eight seconds, and repeat three times. 
2) Clasp your hands together and extend your arms as far from the body as possible. Hold for eight seconds, and repeat three times. 
3) Fold your hands together and raise your arms above your head. Hold for eight seconds, and then lower and repeat twice more. 

Experiment with variations on these stretching techniques- do what feels good for your hands. The important thing is to do some sort of repetitive stretching every so often. 

There are other small steps that can help prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or keep it from worsening if it has already appeared. Experts advise sufferers to ice the wrist occasionally. Also, make sure your mouse and keyboard are properly equipped. A cheap option that can ward off many problems is a specially designed ergonomically correct mouse pad, which will keep your wrist at the proper angle. Another option is a special keyboard pad. 

If you suspect you already have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, see a physician or a physical therapist for more exercises and tips. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is serious, but it is preventable. Happy gaming!


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