Is texting wrist pain here to stay? More and more people are texting constantly on their smartphones. It has become the best way to connect with our friends and colleagues. While it is very convenient, there are bad side effects to it. Today we will dive into the damage that can be done from texting and how you can prevent it from happening to you.
How Texting Creates Wrist Pain
Texting creates pain in two ways. First, just holding the phone in your hand causes the muscles in your forearm to tighten which can lead to elbow tendonitis, as we discussed last week and wrist pain. The weight of the phone, while not much, still requires that you tighten your bicep and forearm muscles, so you do not drop the phone. If you did and broke it, how would you even breathe without it?! J Holding the phone for long periods of time causes the muscles to spasm or cramp leaving you with wrist or elbow pain and making it difficult to rotate your arm and/or hand.
Secondly, the actual texting causes overuse of the thumb which will lead to pain at the base of the thumb, in the wrist, and on the inside of the elbow, like golfer’s elbow. The thumb movement as you are texting requires the use of the Thenar Eminence, the muscle between the thumb and index finger. When overusing it, the muscle becomes hard and places increased pressure on the lower joint of the thumb, down by the wrist. Check your hands by taking your left hand and gently squeezing the Thenar eminence on the right hand, then reverse hands. If it is painful, you are overusing your thumbs.
At the same time, you are overusing the muscle that runs from the base of your thumb to the inside of the elbow. Again, this can cause the elbow to hurt, making it more difficult to rotate your arm and hand.
The bottom line here is, the whole hand becomes hard as a rock, the base of the thumb hurts, and even the elbow can hurt over time, making you think you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Since the muscles that control the hand attach at the elbow and run down the arm, the pain can move all the way up to the elbow over time. There are some people who have endured carpal tunnel surgery who may not have needed it.
Over time the pain will get much worse and create inflammation in the wrist and hand. Some believe it is arthritis or a problem that requires surgery. In most cases that I have seen, softening the muscles of the forearm and hand will relieve the pain. The softening should then be followed up with stretching.
How do You Resolve the Pain?
Let’s begin with softening the muscles. Use one hand to soften the opposite arm and hand. Begin by gently squeezing the area between the thumb and index finger. Breathe out and allow the pain to subside. If you press too hard, your brain cannot let it go. Press just hard enough to feel it, then allow the muscle to relax as you continue to press on it. Once the pain subsides in the whole area, switch hands and do it again.
Use your hand to massage the opposite hand, running your fingers on the backside of the hand, between the bones. Again, do it gently and breathe out so your brain can relax the muscles. You can do the palm of your hand as well. Be sure to do both hands.
Finally, soften your forearm. Start at the elbow and begin pressing with your fingers or thumb while working down to the wrist. Work all around the forearm until the muscles are soft. It can be difficult as you mostly know what your arm feels like, so work gently and notice as it gets softer and how much better it feels.
I would suggest doing this every day to prevent it from coming back. I have worked on my arms and hands sitting at a traffic light, talking with my friends, and even on stage in front of a hundred people. My point is, there is no reason everyone could not do this, just plan it and make it a habit. Your body will thank you for less pain.
Tips to Improve your Stretching
All you need is a yoga strap and a tennis ball for the tennis ball massage. Give yourself about 15 minutes twice a day and you should see better results within 2 weeks. This, though, is a lifetime event. Think of your pet. they stretch every day and several times a day. Stretch when they stretch. Follow the videos below and free your knees. In my opinion, the calf stretch is the most important stretch a human can do. It will solve many issues of the body.
Stretching is more about feeling the muscles letting go than forcing them to stretch. If you are forcing the muscle, you could be doing strength training, not stretching. Make sure you are feeling the intended muscle stretching. If not, the form could be wrong. Holding for 5 seconds allows the brain to release the muscle before it senses any danger. Repeating the stretches 10 times allows the brain to learn it is safe for the muscle to move that way.
Don’t forget the Tennis Ball Massage!
Softening your hips and back is easy when you use the tennis ball. Just lean against the wall and apply enough pressure to feel the painful area. The temptation is to press harder but resist it. Instead, breathe out and allow the muscle to soften under the ball. Then move to another spot and repeat. Continue doing this until most of the painful spots are gone. Check out previous newsletters to see the video.
Subscribe to my YouTube Channel for access to free videos as I post them.
Want to Talk with Me Directly? Start Here
We’re happy to offer you a complimentary 30-min virtual consultation so you can experience this for yourself. Schedule your introduction to Stretch n Release now.
About The Muscle Repair Shop
Drawing upon his personal experience as a former competitive athlete turned wheelchair, obese, and chronic pain sufferer, Muscle Repair Shop Founder Butch Phelps decided to take his health into his own hands when at the age of 36 he was told he might not make it to his 40th birthday. Applying balanced nutrition advice from his doctor along with a sound exercise program, he went from 315 lbs. to 180 lbs. Motivated by his experience, he then acquired degrees in advanced therapeutic massage and aging sciences to help people eliminate chronic pain. This included applying his expertise in how people age, including the effects of dementia, anatomy, psychology, and the day-to-day struggles living as an older person to his practice and development of The Muscle Repair Shop’s one-of-a-kind Stretch n’ Release Technique.
Available through in-office and virtual coaching treatment sessions, this unique combination of stretching and breath work teaches the brain to release the emotional side of muscle tension and pain allows clients to find lasting relief and healing from stiffness, aches, injuries, and chronic pain. The at-home exercises come with customized instructional videos and virtual or in-office support, allowing clients to enjoy and experience life and sports as they did before limitations slowed or curtailed activities.