With everyone and their mother using smartphones, it is no wonder that hand problems caused by overuse of the thumb have become common. Gamers have struggled with similar pain issues for years. Nintendo’s instruction book actually recommends 10 to 15 minutes of rest for every hour of play. As electronic devices become even smaller and acquire more features, they encourage more use and require the use of smaller muscles which can lead to more problems.
How can our wired generation with our 24/7 access to tablets and smartphones get pain relief for our over-worked digits?
There is no doubt that texting, swiping and gaming can lead to repetitive motion injury. Hand grip, especially in men, is getting weaker due to smartphone overuse, according to a new study published in the Journal of Hand Therapy. Top tips to reduce hand pain include:
Slow Down Texting & Swiping – Texting and swiping for 12 hours a day will lead to injury. If you are suffering from hand pain, put yourself on a diet with your mobile device.
Ice Your thumb – Use an ice-pack for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
Change Your Digits – Consider swapping out your thumb for another finger. It may take a little time at first to adjust but it can be done and sharing the load with your other fingers keeps your thumb healthier.
Salonpas Your Digits – Consider cutting up a Salonpas Pain Relief Patch, or Salonpas pain relieving GEL-PATCH Hot and wrapping it around your thumb. The continual transdermal application of powerful pain fighting ingredients including menthol and methyl salicylate (a NSAID – a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) will provide relief to mild to moderate hand pain.
Exercise Your Digits – Our thumbs, like the rest of our body, also need exercise to operate at peak efficiency. Follow the thumb exercises provided by Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
See your Doctor – Consider seeing your doctor to discuss treatment options. Some doctors recommend putting the patient’s hand in a splint that immobilizes the area for a few weeks and rests the tendons, or injecting medicine around the tendons to break up some of the inflammation.