A woman has told of how her 30-year-long hair band habit has aggravated her carpal tunnel syndrome.
Many of us with longer hair fall into the habit of keeping an elastic band around our wrists for convenience.
But for Lisa McLennan, 47, who believes she has worn a hair band around her wrist every day for the last 30 years, has contributed to her painful nerve condition.
McLennan, an artist who lives in British Columbia, Canada, suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). The condition is “pressure on a nerve in your wrist” which “causes tingling, numbness and pain in your hand and fingers,” according to the NHS.
While McLennan suffers from the painful condition in both hands, she says 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 they checked me for carpal tunnel syndrome,” she says.
“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 says her CTS symptoms include circulation issues, damage and inflammation – and when she isn’t using her left wrist it goes numb.
Of her hair band use, McLennan says: "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 says 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, McLennan warns: “Don’t do it”.
She adds: “Just don’t whether it causes issues right now or not, it’s an easy fix, an easy, pro active way to save yourself pain later.”
Signs you are suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome
According to the NHS, symptoms 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.