Thumb Joint Pain Relief : How To Save Your Hands And Wrists!
Posted by Dr. Chris Oswald on 2016-02-24
On an average day your hands are wrapped around technology and your thumbs are at work crushing candies on your phone, changing the radio station on your steering wheel or lining up the perfect shot against your online opponents in an ‘epic’ battle royale. These are a few of the many ways the joints in your thumb are undergoing repetitive stress and everyday more and more people are succumbing to severe thumb joint pain.
The repetitive gripping of controllers, phones and typing on keyboards can lead to painful popping or snapping as the thumb bends and straightens over time. With the pains that arise from our ‘trigger thumb’ we are constantly reminded that our hands weren’t meant to handle the devices we hold most dearly and often in an awkward or contorted state.
The different ways that industries are evolving are affecting the way repetitive stress injuries relate to the thumb. We are constantly being exposed to new controllers to grip onto or with newer and bigger phones that barely fit in most people’s hands. These devices are in our hands for several hours in a day and although the ergonomics have taken a giant leap since the early days of the original Nintendo, they still can become problematic with constant use. Perhaps the first industry culprit that pops to most people’s mind is video gaming.
A snapshot of the controllers gamer’s hands have been forced to grip onto. (Source)
Year over year, gaming has become more prevalent in our lives. Many people reading this article will say, “I’m not a ‘gamer’, I don’t own a Nintendo or an Xbox, video games are more for children.” However, in a 2015 study by the Entertainment Software Association, we found that the average gamer is 35 years old and 27% of all gamers are over the age of 50. While most of the over 50 crowd may not be willing to call themselves a ‘gamer’ per se, they are still logging many hours on mobile games such as Candy Crush and Words with Friends. King, the makers of Candy Crush, just sold for 5.9 billion dollars in 2015. Just think of the millions of thumbs that logged in even more millions of hours playing that game alone.
‘Gamer’s Thumb’ is a term thrown around in the world of gaming describing the thumb joint pain many players experience after long gaming sessions.The thumbs work usually on two joysticks controlling their on screen avatar and are occasionally called upon to mash a particular button a thousand times to achieve some on-screen mayhem. There are many video games on the market that will put your thumbs and fingers to the test and lead gamers complaining that it causes too many aches and pains. Recently, gaming website GamesRadar put together the top 7 games that physically hurt to play. Video games are meant to be a pure source of enjoyment. Pain for pleasure isn’t a concept most players have in mind when purchasing a game.
Casual game players may not be as affected as avid ones. However, players who take gaming more seriously and play for many hours a day are feeling the burn.
The Big Leagues
The pro gaming circuit is dominated by young teenagers, where the best players can million dollar salaries on par with many professional athletes. Contrary to most pro sports however, the career of a pro gamer can be very short, with the age of 25 being considered to be ancient in the industry. There are many reasons why so many gamers retire in their mid-twenties, but thumb related joint pain and carpal tunnel syndrome are a common cause. The perfect example is Hai Lam who was a member of Cloud9, one of the best League of Legends professional gaming teams in the world. The repetitive strain of games where Hai would make around 10 commands a second ultimately caught up to him. The injuries he incurred over time led him to retire at the age of 22.
Similar to Gamer’s thumb, ‘Texting thumb’ is another term becoming more popular. While on a bus or walking down a street, you’ll notice that more and more heads are tilted down, phones are lifted up and thumbs are moving at almost supersonic speeds. According to the Rush University Medical Center, 64% of Americans now own a mobile smartphone, and the average cell phone user sends or receives 10 text messages a day. That’s not including the e-mails, tweets and other activities that makes use of the smartphone keyboard. As the mobile platform continues to become the dominant way people communicate, our thumbs are soon to be under the more pressure than those thumb wars you used to declare against your childhood friends.
See what gamers at the UMG South Caroline – Call of Duty tournament had to say about MuscleCare
How To Relieve Thumb Joint Pain
While you’re trying to find out how to gain a competitive edge against your friends in a game or keeping up with the crowded inbox on your smartphone, there’s no better way to make sure your thumbs are up to the task by taking a couple minutes to use some stretches that can help avoid repetitive stress related injuries. Especially when you find you are a couple hours into a repetitive task like typing, you will find you will be able to type for much longer with short stretch breaks.
A select few of a group of exercises that will help prevent further injury.
In addition to stretches, using products like MuscleCare Extra Strength Roll-on will also help reduce pain, and help to repair the damaged tissue. This product is a quick solution for avoiding thumb joint pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, or any other muscle and joint related pains. With a mixture of stretch breaks and this all-natural topical pain relief formula, the aches and strains that come with typing, gaming or texting will be greatly reduced so you can get back doing what you love.
To conclude, the devices we hold everyday are constantly advancing and our bodies are having a hard time acclimating to them. While we wait for the new natural upgrades of the human anatomy, you can take solace that their are solutions to avoid unfortunate problems like repetitive stress related injuries.