Since August I had been having slight pain in my upper arms… before that while walking or prolonged periods of time when I would just let my arms lie loose I would get slight pain in my right arm. I ignored all the signals that my poor intelligent body was sending and continued doing what I was doing wrong. Finally severe upper arm pain hit me the week before we were leaving for our trip to Laos. I still didnt get it… I blamed it on my menopause, I blamed it on my lifting heavy bags/boxes during our trips, I blamed it on everything else except my wonderful habit of reading on the iPad.
My iPad is 5 years old and consequently is heavier. I had this fetish for a leather cover, so it was covered in a “heavier” leather cover. I have been a book worm forever. I read all the time. I married another book worm … who reads all the time in every place possible. I bought the “Kindle” when it was launched for the first time for India, luckily, I was in the US that week. The screen froze twice and I got replacements and then finally gave up on it when I got the iPad. We just downloaded the Kindle app and life was good. For the past three years we have almost stopped reading “paper” books. We buy all the magazines, books, newspapers on the Kindle app and the iPad has become an extension of our hands.
Reading at a wrong angle, the neck bent incorrectly, resulted in nerves at the back of my neck getting compressed. Krishnan got impacted first a couple of years back and Dr. Bharat Inder Singh (he is our Guru for mechanical issues with the body), told him that it was because of using the laptop wrongly. He taught Krishnan a few exercises and Krishnan also rectified the way he was using the laptop, the pain went away. I told Krishnan that I will never have a problem because I always use the computer at the right height and I keep changing my position … all true, because I have been using a computers since 1989 and for the past 16 years I have used it almost for 8 to 10 years.
To cut the long story short, reading on an iPad for long hours, holding it at the wrong angle will lead to nerves at the back of your neck to get compressed and it did in my case. I realised that this could be the reason in Laos after suffering the pain for a couple of weeks and I got immediate relief the minute I shifted to the lighter phone to read and did the exercises that Krishnan was taught. So as soon as we landed in Delhi, we went to Dr. Bharat Inder Singh and he diagnosed the issue under 2 mins, confirmed it with an x-ray and rubbed in the message by showing me what I had done to myself. 🙂
Here’s what I have got now – a soft cervical collar and exercise that I should repeat every half hour, and my mother who is laughing her head off saying “you love dogs, so now you have a dog-like collar and serves you right for not listening to me when I said not to read with your head tilted down”. So all my friends who think my mother is really sweet and am the one who is difficult with her, please read the above statement. Yeah, her mother’s love did shine through as concern till I met the doc and he said it was reversible condition :):).
So this year, Raavan came home in the form of a collar –
Am trying to look like a victim, but I am clearly not succeeding since I brought this on me :). Now I am behaving myself, have let go of the heavy iPad and I read at the right angle and am enjoying all the attention that people shower on me, asking what happened etc etc. Please note – No extra attention being given to me by mom or Krishnan except reminding me that I am supposed to do the neck exercise every half hour.
But the good shall triumph over evil this time too… my left upper arm is nearly pain free, and the right upper arm is getting there. I will beat this thing but I would have preferred never to have gotten into this situation.
So here’s the deal – all the modern gadgets make our life better but they put our body in unnatural postures. The neck is meant to be moving around and not stationary at an angle – it will revolt. Your arms are meant to be moving and again not stationary at an angle. So the lesson is to use all the gadgets in the right posture and keep moving every hour or so, just get up and shift your position if nothing else. I am not famous for learning from other people’s mistakes, but am hoping some of your atleast learn from my mistakes and hence this post.
Happy Diwali in advance and beat the wrong-posture Raavans that attack you.