Thumb Pain, What to do When Technology Hurts

Text, scroll, type, swipe, thumb pain. Which one doesn’t belong?

The average person sends more than 40 emails daily and spends around 23 hours a week texting.

Digital media, we are investing more of our time in technology and content, BUT less so on a desktop or laptop computers.  Your cell phone now accounts for about 65% of total digital media consumption. The outcome of this is the repetitive way we use our mobile phones is a bad habit that can increase the risks of long term health problems for your poor little thumb. If you want to stay connected to your cell phone the solution is prevention from long term effects of repetitive motions. Here is what you can do immediately for text thumb pain:

Text Thumb

The average person sends more than 40 emails daily and spends around 23 hours a week texting.  Pain at the base of the thumb, trouble moving the thumb, clicking or popping with movement, burning sensations in the thumb or spasms are all signs of text thumb.

  • Take frequent breaks; don’t type for more than ten minutes at a time.
Set reminders to take a break from your phone.
  • Keep your messages short and to the point; use the auto-complete or word prediction features.
  • Save non-urgent emails for your computer keyboard.
  • Keep your wrists straight and your grip neutral when texting.
  • Train your other fingers, use alternating fingers—not just your thumbs.  Those tiny muscles in your hand don’t need more work; they need less.
Use other fingers to rest your thumbs.
  • Use voice-to-text feature on your phone to give your fingers a break from typing.
  • Try typing with a stylus to cut down on the repetitive motion for your thumb.

If lifestyle changes, rest and ice don’t get rid of pain the next treatment option is to purchase a night splint to stabilize the area affected.  It is a good idea to rest the tendons for a few weeks and a night splint helps to keep tendon and the thumb in a neutral position.  Pay attention to your pay and consult a healthcare practitioner when you are unsure.

Follow on Instagram for more health hacks: @dr_rubina

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