Many of us with longer hair fall into the habit of keeping an elastic band around our wrists for convenience, but one woman’s 30-year habit contributed to a painful nerve condition.
Lisa McLennan, 47, an artist who lives in British Columbia, Canada, suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
The condition is associated with pressure on a nerve in your wrist, which causes tingling, numbness and pain in your hand and fingers.
While Ms McLennan suffers from the painful condition in both hands, she said it has always been worse in her left – and she did not know why until a chance encounter.
“I injured the tendon in my thumb and [the doctors] checked me for carpal tunnel syndrome,” she said.
“I was in a shop a few days later telling the woman who worked there how my left wrist was more severe than my right and she pointed to my [hair] elastic and said ‘stop doing that then’.
“I was like ‘pardon me’ and she explained that a neurologist had told her not to do it because it can cause issues.”
She said her symptoms include circulation issues, damage and inflammation – and when she isn’t using her left wrist it goes numb.
Of her hair band use, Ms McLennan said: "It was just a habit, it was always on my wrist whenever it wasn’t in my hair."
While hair bands come in different sizes, she believes her situation was not helped by her gaining weight.
"I’m overweight now but I wasn’t when I was younger, I was quite skinny so the elastic fitted more loosely.”
What’s more, she said the habit has been hard to kick.
“I’m so aware now that I shouldn't be doing it but I’ll be cleaning the house, find an elastic and put it on my wrist, then I think, 'oh no, what am I doing'. I have taken to using a hair claw instead, so I don’t put the elastic on my wrist."
For those in the habit of wearing hair elastics around their wrist, Ms McLennan warned: “Don’t do it”.
“Just don’t. Whether it causes issues right now or not, it’s an easy fix, an easy, proactive way to save yourself pain later,” she added.
Signs you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome
Symptoms of carpal tunnel include:
an ache or pain in your fingers, hand or arm;
tingling or pins and needles;
a weak thumb or difficulty gripping.
These may come and go and are often worse at night.
In another odd grooming incident, a 10-year-old girl went pale and passed out from a rare condition doctors say was triggered by her hair being curled.
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