The gift of a good gadget!
We all know that a lot of health gadgets can be gimmicks or fads, but there are some that are incredibly useful. One of the best health tools that I often recommend to patients is a Powerball.
Powerball’s are useful for anyone who has wrist pain, hypermobile wrists or that takes part in activities like yoga, tennis or fencing – all which require significant wrist strength. Wrists are a difficult area of the body to strengthen as there are few local muscles, and a lot of the stability comes from ligament and tendon tension. The Powerball is the best way I have found to strengthen the integral stability of the wrist joints. It’s also one of the easiest ways to do it as you don’t have to go to the gym or have a lot of space!
Perhaps surprisingly, a Powerball is roughly the size of a tennis ball, but crucially has a gyroscope inside it. Doing slow circular movements while holding it causes the gyroscope to create a force of resistance which strengthens wrist ligaments and the small stabilising muscles. You only need to use it for a few minutes a day, or even every other day, to feel the benefits. It will improve your rehabilitation training and prevent the likelihood of further wrist injuries too.
The price range is from £10 to £100.
Holly Clarkson recommends – The Travel Pillow
I regularly recommend these to patients, and have recently found mine to be very helpful! Short-haul and long-haul flights can be pretty stressful on the neck if you want to doze or sleep. Although you might not feel too sore whilst in the air, there can often be repercussions thanks to the awkward position you found yourself putting up with during the flight. I've treated quite a few sore and stiff necks which could have been prevented - or at least minimised - with a travel pillow. If you’re not sure what to buy that busy executive, or wanderlust friend, in your life, this could be a great option!
I like these two examples because they come quite high up the neck to support the head too whilst still being soft enough not to compress delicate structures like your arteries and veins.
If your new year resolution is to travel more, perhaps add one of these to your wish-list!
Sian Smith recommends – the Ergonomic Mouse
My number one gadget is an ergonomic mouse. For anyone that finds themselves stuck at a desk for 7 hours + a day, they are a must. A standard mouse requires your arm to be in a ‘prone’ position (palm down) which means the bones of the forearm have to cross over one another. This is fine for short periods of time but long-term repetitive use will increase the risk of repetitive strain injuries. The tissues of the forearm are placed under unnecessary tension which can increase the risk of lateral epicondylitis (otherwise known as tennis elbow), not to mention place extra loading on the delicate structures at the inner wrist, increasing your chances of carpal tunnel syndrome.
The primary benefit of an ergonomic mouse is that it allows you to work with your forearm in a neutral position (sideways) preventing any of the discomfort associated with a standard mouse. In addition, it allows your forearm to move more freely, reducing the need to engage the muscles in the shoulder and neck, potentially easing discomfort further up the body.
Prices can vary wildly, however a tried and tested one we use in the clinic is the Accuratus Upright mouse (approx. £20-£30).
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