Do you love playing Angry Birds on your Smartphone? Do you send dozens of text messages every day? If your wrists start to ache when you do these activities for too long, you could have “text claw,” an unofficial condition that many Smartphone users experience after texting, web browsing or playing games for too long.
What Causes Text Claw?
Making small, repetitive motions with your fingers and hands puts stress on your muscles, joints and tendons. The stress can eventually cause pain – and not just in the fingers, hands and wrists, but all the way up the arms to the neck, back and shoulders. Besides pain in these areas, repetitive stress injuries can cause stiffness, numbness, burning, tingling and loss of strength.
Can “Text Claw” Lead to More Serious Problems?
As technology continues to play an increasingly larger role in our everyday lives, more people –even children – are experiencing wrist pain after prolonged use of mobile devices. This pain has the potential to turn into more serious health conditions.
- Osteoarthritis: According to Everyday Health, texting is too new for there to be any in-depth studies about texting injuries leading to early onset osteoarthritis, but it’s reasonable to believe there could be a link. After all, assembly line workers who use their hands all day often develop arthritis later in life. The most common place to see arthritis develop from repetitive hand use is at the base of the thumb. Shooting pain can radiate up the arm in this kind of injury.
- Tendonitis: The repetitive joint movements that come from texting can cause the tendons in the hand to thicken, particularly the tendons in the thumbs. According to a study cited in The Wall Street Journal, the thickness of thumb tendons is directly related to the number of texts a person sends per day. The more texts study participants sent per month, the thicker their tendons became and the greater chance they had of developing tendonitis.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: According to Medical Daily, if you develop tendonitis, your condition can transition into carpal tunnel syndrome. This is because tight muscles and constricted connective tissues in the wrist compress nerves leading to the hand, damaging the nerves and leading to chronic pain.
Decreasing Wrist Pain Caused by Texting
The best way to avoid developing a permanent health condition from a repetitive stress injury is to pay attention to your body. If you start to feel pain while texting, follow these tips:
- Rest: Take breaks when texting a long message. Better yet, take a hiatus from texting, especially long messages, for a few days or longer. Make phone calls instead to convey long messages.
- Apply ice: Wrap an ice pack or bag of frozen peas in a towel and place it on the affected joint for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Take medicine: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help relieve the pain.
- Wear a wrist brace: Sometimes you can avoid the need to take pain medication if you wear a supportive brace.
- Perform wrist stretches: Roll your wrists in circles or use your opposite hand to flex each wrist forward and backward. These stretches can help relieve pain and keep your wrists working right.
- Visit Spine Correction Center of the Rockies: If your pain becomes severe, you don’t need to live in misery. Spine Correction Center can treat wrist pain caused by text claw, osteoarthritis, tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome to help you continue to enjoy the activities you love most.
Contact us online or call (970) 658-5115 to schedule a free consultation. Early treatment is the best way to avoid serious complications from wrist pain caused by texting.