These days, everybody is on their smartphones — quite a lot. Whether you are contacting your friends and family, working from home, or taking news updates, our mobile phones help us stay and feel connected. As per a recent study, as COVID-19 impacts daily life, there has been a gradual increase in phone usage, text messaging is more popular than ever and cases of Texting Tenosynovitis have increased.
But all that scrolling, texting, and swiping lead to physical health problems. Neck pain and eye strain, as well as problems in the wrists, hands, and especially thumbs, indicate that you’re spending too much time on your phone.
There’s a name for the strain and pain in the thumb: texting thumb. Gamer’s thumb or trigger thumb are other common terms to define pain produced when the muscles that power the use of the thumb get swollen from overuse.
Some people have reoccurring texting tenosynovitis. Wrist pain or hand pain is caused by typing on keyboards, but now it seems more common to be the result of using cell phones.
The problems at hand
According to a recent study, our thumbs and hands perform these common smartphone motions like grasping, texting, and scrolling. But overuse of smartphones and repetition strain our hands, resulting in pain and inflammation. Let’s examine some different types of hand pain:
Texting thumb — Swelling and pain in thumb muscles are caused by repetitive, monotonous motion. When the pain is confined to the palm side of the hand where it meets the forearm, it may trigger the thumb. In some cases, the thumb pops or catches abruptly with movement. When the pain occurs with thumb movement but is situated on the side of your wrist, it is typically diagnosed as a specific hand problem known as De Quervain’s disease and Texting Tenosynovitis.
Tendonitis — Swelling a muscle or the knot attaching a tendon of the bone, generally due to overuse or injury.
Arthritis — Soreness, inflammation, and swelling of one or more joints. You probably won’t develop arthritis due to smartphone use, but you can worsen it.
Carpal tunnel syndrome — A weakness, numbness, or tingling in hand caused by a pinched nerve in the wrist.
4 tips for smartphone hand relief
Whether you’re presently experiencing pain or want to understand how to take better care of your hands, here are a few helpful reminders:
Take breaks. Limit your time on your smartphone, especially the amount of time you spend holding your phone for swiping, texting, and scrolling with your thumb. If you can’t decrease your time, take frequent breaks. You can also use the voice notation feature for texting or emailing to provide your thumb with a little break.
Switch hands. Use your other hand to hold your phone and tap or type with your index finger to provide your thumb with a little break.
Find your best fit. Buying a phone is just like buying a pair of shoes. Size matters! If you see that your thumb is stretching so far around to reach your phone screen, it’s possibly too big for your hand size. You can also look for ergonomic smartphone tools, for example, using pop sockets. These phone accessory sticks to the back of your phone and is used to help give you a better hold or prop up your phone to relax your palms and fingers.
Use De Quervain’s Wand: Relax the inflamed muscles by regularly massaging with De Quervain’s Wand. The far-infrared and ultrasound technology gets deep into the tissues to provide instant relief and a reduction in inflammation.
Stretch it out. There are many hands stretches that you can try. For example, stretching your thumb slowly or spinning your wrists is a common carpal tunnel syndrome.
The simplest way to prevent texting thumb is by just putting down the device. So, be watchful of your smartphone usage habits and take frequent breaks. Your body and mind will thank you.