Thumbs Down for Carpal Tunnel, AKA Texting Thumb

Thumbs Down for Carpal Tunnel, AKA Texting Thumb

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The dreaded texting thumbDid you know that carpal-tunnel syndrome is sometimes connected to how much we use our thumbs?

There are three muscles that make up the fleshy base of your thumb: Abductor pollicis brevis, Flexor pollicis brevis, and Opponens pollicis.  They sound like Shakespearean characters, and indeed, these muscles would help you wield both a pen (finger-to-thumb gripping) and a sword (palm-to-thumb gripping).

All three of these thumb muscles connect into the tissue of the flexor retinaculum, which creates the ceiling of the carpal tunnel.  If we overuse these muscles (texting thumb, anyone?), that stress may narrow the carpal tunnel and compress the nerve and tendons within.  This compression may manifest as hand, palm, or wrist pain, as well as numbness or tingling.

If you need some help dealing with carpal-tunnel symptoms, or with sore and tired thumbs, massage is a great way to release muscle tension.  A massage therapist experienced in working with muscles and fascia can also walk you through self-care exercises to keep your thumbs happy and healthy.

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