While most people don’t think twice about writing for a long period of time, it can lead to significant hand pain for some people. Whether you're a student, office worker or writer, feeling hand pain after writing can make it difficult to complete even the simplest tasks. Your hand pain may start out as a minor discomfort, but if left untreated, it can progress and become a chronic issue.
If you feel hand pain after writing, you may also feel the following symptoms:
- Tingling or numbness in your fingers.
- Weakness or stiffness.
- Cramping or fatigue, especially after prolonged writing.
- Swelling or tenderness.
- Stiff or sore joints.
- Difficulty gripping objects or making a fist.
If you find yourself experiencing any of the above painful symptoms after writing, you're not alone. Knowing the common causes of writing-related hand pain can help you find effective treatments that can keep your hands comfortable while getting work done. In addition, medical professionals like licensed physical therapists can introduce you to exercises and stretches that can protect your hand from further injury.
Why does writing cause hand pain?
Writing or drawing for long periods of time, especially with a pen or pencil, can cause hand pain for several reasons, including the following:
- Repetitive motions — Continuously writing for extended periods can result in repetitive strain injuries that can lead to fatigue and pain in your hand, wrist, and forearm.
- Poor posture — Poor posture while writing, such as slouching, hunching over and bending your arms at awkward angles, can place additional stress on the muscles and joints in your hand and wrist, leading to pain.
- Lack of grip strength — If you’re not used to writing for long periods of time, suddenly doing so can quickly lead to fatigue and cramping in your fingers and wrists.
- Inadequate writing tools — Using pens, pencils, or other writing tools that are too small, too heavy, or do not fit comfortably in your hand can also contribute to hand pain.
- Preexisting conditions — Preexisting conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis and tendinitis can also be exacerbated by the repetitive motions involved in writing.
If you are experiencing persistent hand pain from writing, it is important to consult a doctor to determine the underlying cause and develop an effective treatment plan.
How can you manage your writing-related hand pain?
Having your writing interrupted by hand pain can be frustrating, especially if you depend on writing to get work done. If you experience hand pain while writing, there are several steps you can take to manage your symptoms:
- Take breaks — Taking regular breaks to stretch your hands and wrists and shake out any tension can help reduce hand pain. Aim for a break every 30 minutes to an hour, or more often if needed. You can also use these breaks to apply ice to your hands to reduce pain and swelling. Wrap a bag of ice in a towel and hold it against the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
- Use proper posture — Make sure that you are sitting with proper posture while writing and that your arms are supported. Avoid writing with your arms in awkward positions, which can place additional stress on your elbows, hands and wrists.
- Use ergonomic writing tools — Select pens, pencils, or other writing tools that are comfortable to hold and use. Consider switching to ergonomic pens or pencils that are designed to reduce the risk of hand pain.
- Exercise your hands and wrists — To improve your grip strength and reduce your risk of developing hand pain after writing, you should regularly stretch your hands and wrists. Performing physical therapy exercises can be an effective way to manage your hand pain after writing, and a physical therapist can work with you to develop a treatment plan that fits your specific needs. Whether you need to improve your body mechanics, increase your flexibility or reduce your inflammation, a physical therapist can help you achieve your goals and ease your hand pain.
If your hand pain is persistent or interferes with your daily activities, it’s important to see a medical professional and get started on a personalized physical therapy plan. In some cases, you may be recommended to wear a splint to protect your hand while it heals.
Alliance PTP is ready to help you find top-notch PT for your hand pain after writing
Are you ready to stop feeling pain after writing? Physical therapy can help. 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 your writing-related hand pain.
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!