Texting, scrolling, gripping, turning, and even breastfeeding our newborns are task that we demand daily from our thumbs and wrist. Most of us take for granted the abundant use and responsibility of our thumbs until something like De Quervain's Tendinosis makes an appearance aka text thumb aka Mother's Wrist. De Quervain's is a painful condition where the tendons on the thumb are irritated and swell. This pain may even extend from the forearm to the base of the thumb.
How common is De Quervain?
In today's scrolling society, it is one of the most common types of tendon inflammations-but don't get discouraged, with adequate time and rehab, symptoms can go away on their own. Women, hate to break it to you, but this condition affects you eight to ten times more often than men, yay. The nickname "Mother's Wrist" was given due to the common occurrence in those who are caregivers of very young children, especially those who are breastfeeding aka women.
Causes of De Quervain
This type of tendon inflammation can be triggered by a few factors:
How do I know if I have De Quervain's?
Some symptoms can include:
Here is an at home self test you can do, called the Finkelstein Test
If I think I have De Quervain's, now what?
I always suggest a holistic approach, while surgery is "fix", if you catch the symptoms early enough, you can get ahead of the pain before it gets to that point. Seek out a great Physical Therapist who can help confirm the diagnosis and give you prehab/rehab exercises to do at home. Your PT could also assist you with dry needling which has been known to help with the pain. Also, getting soft tissue work in the hand, wrist, and forearm can help with the muscular pain around the joint and assist in decreasing inflammation.
"I'd lose my head if it wasn't attached to me"- you can thank your scalenes for allowing this to never happen. This group of muscles (anterior, medial, and posterior) makes up the thickness of muscle on both sides of your neck. With attachments extending from your first rib to the bottom of your temporal bone right below your ears. The scalene group helps to bend and tilt your neck, it also is an accessory breathing muscle. Most people experience tightness in this group because of how shallow, and down right horrible we are at breathing.
For most of the day, your scalenes should be relaxed and "off". The scalenes are considered a non-postural or fast twitch muscles, meaning that fatigue sets in fast. When the scalenes fatigue and are overworked, the muscle fibers throw up a white flag in surrender and tighten up. When you experience tightness and soreness on each side of your neck making tilting and turning your neck painful- you can thank your scalenes for this. When they become dysfunctional, the trigger points can be relentless. Shooting straight up to the temporal region of the head, jaw, cheek and behind the eye- aka headaches. Because of its attachment with the first rib, this can cause irritation in the brachial plexus. The brachial plexus is a fun bundle of nerves that exits your neck and runs all the way down your arm. Symptoms of nerve compression or irritation can include: numbness, tingling, and weakness in the arms, hands, and fingers.
If you feel like your scalenes are causing you strife or need some work, it may be time for some bodywork. Shoot me and email to schedule or if you have any questions!