For the sports minded among you, no doubt, you have experienced pain over the years from an injury or overuse, whether that be from playing basketball, tennis, golf or simply doing too much in the back garden. As an avid traveler knows, you’re also lifting heavy bags even if you’re smart enough to own luggage with the advanced wheels that ride smoothly alongside you. Ultimately, there’s always some lifting involved on the road or at home.
Let’s face it – a big part of what I do on a daily basis is write, whether that be articles about travel or great products or writing plans and content for clients. If you don’t have a desk job, you will likely be using your limbs differently, perhaps more rigorously. The other thing activity which has increased over the last five years is cell phone use — it’s hard to get away from demands placed on us when people have the ability to text and email us wherever we happen to be; the pressure to respond immediately is astonishing. Every day at the gym, there are women in their twenties who bring their cell phones into the sauna with them – their thumbs flailing up and down vigorously as if the respond must be made instantly. Then, it should be no surprise that people’s arms, hands and fingers — particularly thumbs — are feeling beaten up.
Photo credit: Healthcarezone.net.
While I’m a huge fan of using dictation software and in fact, am testing out the latest version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking on my laptop and regularly use Siri on my iPhone, we’re still forced into repetitive motion with our hands and arms regardless of what we do for a living. Writing aside, like many of my fellow avid travelers, I am never far from my Canon 7D, which is heavy on the shoulder, particularly if you’re in love with the numerous lenses like I am. Shooting, particularly wildlife and sports events, requires a steady hand in one position, often in a situation when you can’t rest your arms.
And, so here we are. I realized after having discussions with others on the road, that arm and hand pain was more common than I thought. This led me to doing a little research on what solutions could be helpful. Certainly, you want to have an ergonomic keyboard and mouse when you’re not on the road (we’d like to explore what’s on the market in a future review — I am using a fairly outdated Logitech keyboard now), and you want your desk setup to be the proper height and distance from your monitor so you’re not over straining your arms.
I’m a huge believer in acupuncture also and as mine so rightfully points out, your limbs need to experience different motion than the repetitive motion it gets all day long. It may be tougher to incorporate ergonomic setups and regular acupuncture or massage appointments when you’re on the road, but certainly in the southeast Asia, alternative health options are plentiful and easy to find.
Photo credit: Hughston.
Since I do type and text a lot — see our Instagram feed if you want to see just how much I love mobile photography — I have a fabulous ergonomic system set up at home base, but when I’m traveling, like most of you, there’s no easy way around it. There are props and small devices that might alleviate pain and strain that could easily be packed into your suitcase and while we don’t explore “props” in this review, we are going to look at a series of products by 3 Point, which I found in my research as having a very comprehensive offering, from alleviating arm and elbow pain to hands and thumb issues.
Friends and doctors have suggested picking up a support splint at a drug store like CVS or Walgreens, but the solutions I tried didn’t do the trick. After 20 minutes, my hand was in more pain than before I put it on. The problem with many over the counter solutions is that they’re often cheaply made and not really suited for specific issues, but moreso to be a “catch all” which does have its purpose.
When I’m traveling, I suffer from shoulder pain since I often carry a bag that is heavier than my purse, loaded down with Canon camera gear and lenses. I also have to lift my carry on bag to the overhead bin in airplanes and I need to work from hotel rooms, where my ergonomic setup is sadly far far away. For travelers who have similar patterns, the level of support needs for you may range from tennis elbow and wrist and thumb pain from writing, shooting photos and simply carrying too much gear.
The 3 Point Elbow Wrap is a great solution for tennis elbow or golf elbow for the golfers among us. They also have a product called Wrist Control, which is more suitable for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Fully cushioned, their Wrist Control Splint offers moderate support to rest and relieve pain from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and wrist pain. Below is the Elbow Wrap which comes in black or this lovely soft gray color. The wrap should fit snugly on the forearm just below the elbow joint as shown below.
The 3pp Elbow Wrap works by compressing the muscles and tendons to help relieve pain in your elbow from twisting or lifting motions. As mentioned above, it is used for Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis),Golfer’s Elbow (medial epicondylitis), cumulative trauma disorders or tendinitis, which an increasing number of travelers I know suffer from.
The Elbow Wrap consists of a base sleeve and two straps for adjustable tension — it can be trimmed with scissors if needed. It comes in a small/medium and a medium/large size. I now wear it when I’m at the keyboard for long periods of time and when I’m traveling with a ton of gear in tow. Since it took me awhile to figure out exactly how to “fit it” properly so that it was providing me with the right kind of pressure, I thought I’d include their video so you can see how to correctly put it on and what the pressure should feel like. What I love about the product, is its soft material and flexibility, so it’s comfortable to wear, unlike so many over-the-counter options. It is also very light and small, so easy to throw in your luggage for short or long trips.
Then, there’s the soft 3pp ThumSpica wrap-on splint, which supports your wrist and thumb to relieve pain from tendonitis or overuse problems. The3pp ThumSpica is used to treat DeQueryain’s tenosynovitis, Gamekeeper’s thumb and CMC joint arthritis. Gentle compression provides control while allowing full hand function – see below. It also comes in a nice soothing to the eye soft gray color. You don’t have to have one of these conditions to get relief however; for those of us who text often or are often on our cell phones using our main finger and thumb frequently for scrolling and navigating, it might be helpful and provide some support.
Since I’m on the phone a lot navigating through social media threads, my thumb takes a beating, even if I use Siri’s voice control and dictation, which I increasingly do more and more. Like the wrist wrap, it’s lightweight and easy to pack in your luggage. Out of all the products in the round-up I decided to review, I probably use this product the most. Why? It’s COMFORTABLE and soft, and easy to slip on and off when you need to. It also gives my hand the added support I need when I may not need the full support of a wrist control support product like the one I discuss below.
Not all wrist splints are created equal. Meet the 3pp Wrist Control, which is designed to fit securely so it can best work to relieve the pain and tingling of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and to rest conditions of the wrist. It is used for tendinitis, cumulative trauma, wrist sprains and strains, whether that be from sports or overuse.
Softly cushioned (a great feature of all their products is the flexibility in design), this splint features a single supporting stay in the palm to protect the wrist and hold it in proper alignment. The Wrist Control is carefully contoured to avoid pressure on the thumb and allow full finger motion. It is easy to apply D-ring straps which provide closure to hold the wrist securely for control and comfort. Three separate straps allow for a custom fit and easy adjustment for changes in wrist circumference throughout the day. Below are views of the front and back — again, I applaud them for providing a little color to a product that is normally only available in a bland tan (gets dirty too easily) or a masculine black.
It provides decent support but because it’s more flexible than others I’ve tested, I don’t feel like I’m fastened in so tight that its impossible to do my work — this was one of the things I liked most about this product. It’s also so attractive that you don’t feel adverse to wearing it in public locations. I felt moderate relief from using it, particularly when at a keyboard for awhile.
The material is elastomeric foam, nylon and Lyrca — it contains no latex. You can wash their products in cold water with a mild detergent. They recommend air drying them and say do NOT place in dryer. Good point to note in advance.
Bottom line, I’d be surprised if any product gave you complete pain relief . The best you can hope for is healthy support while being comfortable AND relief when you need it most. I found the thumb support to be useful when I’m overdoing it on a mobile phone — anyone who texts a lot knows how painful this is over time. I love the fact that as a traveler, the 3 Points Products are flexible and can fold, so you can easily pack them in your main luggage or even in your carry on bag.
Specializing in splints and supports for hands and feet, 3-Point Products and splints help treat Thumb Arthritis, Mallet Finger, Trigger Finger, Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow and foot conditions such as Hammertoes, Plantar Fasciitis and more. The company was founded by an occupational therapist and orthotist (brace maker) and their team has 30+ years of clinical experience.
Note that the above overview of these products are merely written from my own personal experience and I am not making any medical claims whatsoever nor making a recommendation for a condition. I was simply looking for a solution to alleviate pain while at the keyboard and overuse when traveling and at more severe times at home. I have also been getting acupuncture, which I love and highly recommend as an integral part of any holistic health regime (it’s very relaxing and calms your soul so useful for those of you with no pain issues at all). Acupuncture has also been a great alleviator of short term pain relief in my case.
The review of this product is entirely from a non-medical perspective. It is advised that you first consult with a healthcare professional or specialist who can do an examination for a correct diagnosis and recommended treatment plan, including, if appropriate the right type of splint/brace recommended for your condition.
You can find out how to get these products and others they offer online at www.ohmyarthritis.com/.