We live in an ever-progressing society, where productivity and efficiency are key. Technology has become an ever-present in daily life, whether that be keeping up with friends and family through your smartphone, working from home (much more common now than many would have thought only a few years ago) on a computer for 40 hours a week, or even through playing video games in your downtime. The progress we’ve made in the last 10-20 years is astounding and has brought us many new technological advances in the field of medicine, but that isn’t to say that there are no drawbacks. If you’re experiencing hand pain, technology may be, at least partly, to blame! Today we’re exploring the potential causes of tech-related hand pain and what you can do to protect yourself. If you’re living with hand pain, or if it’s something that has started to bother you recently, make an appointment with a hand pain specialist at OrthoManhattan! We’d love nothing more than to get you back to pain-free living.
Dr. Barron spoke to RadioMD back in 2015 about the effects that texting and typing can have on your long term health – and that discussion branched out beyond just potential damage to the hand and wrist. When using technology, especially smartphones and computers, people have a tendency to hunch forward, causing extra pressure around your spine that can lead to chronic pain in the neck, shoulders, and back. Beyond focussing on posture, interacting with technology can put excess strain on your hands, wrists, and forearms. Dr. Barron expanded on this when speaking to RadioMD:
“You can actually get inflammation of the tendons and of the joints, the small joints, and tendons of the hand, as well as strains of the forearm muscles. That can lead to more discreet problems such as what we call “mommy thumb” which is inflammation along the base of the thumb as well as tennis elbow and just these general tendonitis’ that can be so prevalent in the wrist area.”
It’s important that you are proactive in protecting your body against injuries and conditions caused by intensive use over time, and that starts with recognizing the signs. If you’re feeling discomfort in your fingers, hands, wrists, or forearms, after spending extended periods of time at your computer or on your phone, that’s a red flag! If you end your workday with neck pain from hunching over your laptop, that’s your body telling you that something needs to change or it’s only going to get worse over time. If you’re dealing with pain in-and-around your thumb after playing video games, you could be dealing with a recently-recognized condition known as “Gamer’s Thumb,” which is not dissimilar to de Quervain’s tenosynovitis – a condition that will likely become more prevalent in the future as up to 75% of children now use game consoles or computers.
The good news is that, if recognized early enough, rest and limiting your time using whatever piece of technology that is causing your pain will help alleviate the discomfort your feeling and allow your body time to heal. If you’re still experiencing pain after taking brief hiatus from the offending technology, it’s time to see a hand pain specialist to get to the bottom of it! If you have any questions about a potential hand injury or any pain you’ve been experiencing, give our office a call or submit a contact form in the top right corner of this page. We’d love nothing more than to get you back to pain-free living!