If you experience tingling, pain, stiffness, and cramping in your hand from using your smartphone, we could suggest you stop using it for about a month. That advice would most likely help, but we can hear you laughing now since we all know that isn’t remotely in the realm of possibilities.
Like one famous credit card company tells us to “not leave home without it,” that’s how most of the population feels about their smartphones. So how do you go about preventing hand pain caused by your smartphone?
Were Our Hands Meant to Use a Smartphone?
According to the American Brain Research Institute, Americans send 18,078,312 text messages every minute, and 94.4 trillion messages every year.
Our hands were not designed to use smartphones. Overuse of our thumbs can lead to the tendons becoming inflamed and in many cases developing into tendonitis. We can also experience pain in our wrists and elbows from too much texting.
You can resort to resting your hand and icing it for the short term, but there are other ways of preventing hand pain caused by your smartphone.
Realistic Ways to Prevent Hand Pain Caused by Your Smartphone
Try out a few of these simple tricks to give your hands a much needed break:
- One of the easiest ways to prevent hand pain is to use your voice to text messages, or use a stylus to type your message.
- Stop using your phone for a few hours and give your hand a rest.
- Use ice or a hot pad to relax the muscles. A warm towel or pad is best when you have chronic inflammation. Ice is best when the pain is acute or only limited to about a week.
- Use your index finger instead of your thumb.
- Set your smartphone down, and then text and swipe with fingers other than just the thumb.
- Place your hands in a prayer gesture position, and hold it for a few seconds to stretch your muscles.
- Flex your hand backward and push down lightly on your fingers.
- Switch hands.
- If you have a particularly long message to send, pick up the phone (you already have in your hand) and call them.
- Use an OTC pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.
When to Seek Treatment
“Selfie elbow,” “texting thumb,” and “texting neck,” are all a result of our overuse of modern technology. If you find you have symptoms even when you are not using your phone, you may have a repetitive hand stress injury, which means it’s time to seek treatment from OrthoNY.
Contact OrthoNY to help reduce the pain and any temporary or permanent injury to your hand.