This may not sound like a big problem to some, but if you’re one who uses their smartphone constantly you know that thumb pain can be a daily, unpleasant burden.
The pain usually starts after using your smartphone to play computer games for long hours or typing long responses instead of using the computer, right?!
Physical therapist Mitchell Yass, DPT author of “Overpower Pain” says that tendonitis from cell-phone overuse or misuse (!) can affect arms and shoulders as well as fingers and hands.
Exercise can help.
And, the two exercises he recommends are easy to do in the hot tub. The hot water will relieve pain, so will the jets. The exercises will help you avoid continual “texting tendonitis”. Do exercises with both hands and do three sets of 10 repetitions twice a week. But, please check with your own doctor, first! This is blog post, not medical advice
Strengthen the opposing muscles-the ones on the back of the hand. To do this, close your fingers as if to grab a piece of paper between your thumb and fingers. Then gently cup your hand so your thumb and fingers form an oval. Wrap a rubber band around fingers and thumb at the knuckle. Open your hand to stretch the rubber band.
Wrist extensions with a dumbbell. Start with a 3-lb weight. Holding the weight, place your forearm on a surface so that only your hand hangs over the edge. A good place to do this is sitting in the cool down seat found in most Hot spring Spas. Relax your wrist so that it bends down. Raise the weight, placing your forearm on the rim of the hot tub. If 3-lbs feels like too much, start with 1 or 2-lb weights.
Other hand exercises such as “piano player” give your hands a good stretch. See on Olympic’s Hot Tub Exercises page. Do shoulder shrugs and shoulder rolls, too.
Dr. Yass has other recommendations for ways to use smartphones smarter:
1. Type with different fingers. Resting your phone on a surface rather than holding it in your hand makes this easier and places less stress on your shoulders.
2. Text for only a few minutes. Then take a break.
3. Keep messages short. If you have a lot to say, say it on your keyboard at your desktop.
4. Choose a phone cover that adds bulk which makes the phone easier to hold and manipulate.
5. A wrist splint may help by keeping your wrist still and not overworking the tendons of the hand.
Note: If your doctor recommends ice for “texting tendonitis”, sit in the hot tub while you soak your hand in ice water or wrap it an ice bag. It’s a lot more pleasant and you’ll feel less discomfort from the iced hand.
Hope these suggestions work for those of you with “texting tendonitis” and “Blackberry thumb”. We’d love to hear your suggestions for prevention and exercises that have helped you. Share you comments below.
SANUM PER AQUA. Latin for Health through Water.