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My hand hurts from holding my cellphone: What should I do?

Cell Phone Hand Pain
3 minutes, 23 seconds

If you’re on your cellphone frequently for work, it can be common to experience hand pain at the end of the day. Holding a phone to your ear for long periods of time can strain your wrists and fingers, leading to inflammation. Unfortunately, your hand pain can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and can keep you from getting things done. The good news is that there are several steps you can take to manage your hand pain and reduce your risk of further injury.

If you’re feeling hand pain after holding your phone for long periods of time, knowing the causes of your pain can help you implement strategies to manage your symptoms. Treatments like physical therapy exercises can help to not only ease your pain but also prevent the development of further injury. 

Why does holding a cellphone cause hand pain? 

It can be easy to lose track of time while on your phone during a meeting. However, holding your phone for prolonged periods of time often involves repetitive movements and awkward postures that place stress on your hands’ tendons, muscles, and joints. This stress can lead to pain, swelling and weakness, especially in your thumbs and fingers, which are used most frequently when holding and using a phone. 

In fact, if you spend a lot of time clutching your cellphone throughout the day or grip your phone too tightly, your fingers and thumb can start to cramp or become inflamed. This condition is known as “smartphone finger” or “texting thumb,” which can cause strain on the tendons and muscles in the hands, leading to inflammation, irritation and pain.

While you may feel hand pain at the end of your workday, your hand pain may also be accompanied by other sore and tender areas across your body. For example, constantly looking down at your phone screen can strain your neck, shoulders and upper back, contributing to neck and upper back pain

How can you manage your cellphone-related hand pain?

To reduce your risk of hand pain from cellphone use, it is important to take regular breaks, stretch your hands and fingers regularly, and use a hands-free device if possible. To manage your hand pain in the moment, however, you can: 

  • Perform physical therapy exercises — Physical therapy exercises can be effective ways to manage hand pain after holding a phone. In between phone sessions, you can stretch your hand and perform hand exercises designed to release built-up tension. A physical therapist can work with you to develop an exercise treatment plan that fits your specific needs. Whether you need to improve your grip strength, increase flexibility or reduce inflammation, a physical therapist can teach you hand exercises that reduce your risk of hand pain. They can also educate you on proper body mechanics when you’re on the phone so that you can avoid hand positions that cause pain.
  • Apply ice — Icing the area of your hand pain can help reduce inflammation and pain levels. To use ice for hand pain after holding a phone, wrap a few ice cubes in a towel and apply the towel to the affected area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Repeat this process several times a day, or as needed, to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  • Rest — It is important to give your hand a rest by avoiding activities that cause pain or discomfort, such as holding a cellphone or other objects. Resting your hand can help promote healing by allowing the tissue and joints in your hand to recover from stress and strain. To help you rest your hands while still getting work done, try to use a hands-free device to take phone calls. 

Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for cellphone-related hand pain

Are you tired of feeling hand pain after a long phone call? Physical therapy can help reduce your risk of developing a hand injury while holding a cellphone. At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. 

Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address hand pain from holding your cellphone.

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 

Come find help for your hand pain today!


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