Disclaimer: This article is an account of my feelings. They are part of my truth,…
There’s a body part that gets pretty beat up when you’re lifting a child multiple times a day. The neck? The back? The arms? Well, yes, those too. But today I’m talking about the thumb. The trusty digit that has done so much for us — and makes it possible to scroll through the socials.
When I started feeling an ache in mine, my first thought was… I must be spending too much time on my phone. Because I DO use my phone too much. It has been my lifeline to feel connected to the world since I had my son October 2019 and all through Covid.
But when that ache turned into pain in my forearm, shoulder, and neck which woke me up in the middle of the night, I knew that thumb of mine was creating bigger issues. As a movement expert, I know that everything is connected and I knew my neck pain was directly related to my thumb.
As I spoke to my doctor, it became clear that while texting wasn’t helping the situation, it was not the sole cause of my issue. (Thank god, because I need my mom crew!)
Enter Mom Thumb.
Technically it’s called DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis, known as mom thumb because of the frequency new moms suffer carpal tunnel-like pain located on the outside edge of the thumb and wrist. The most common causes are overuse of your wrist from repetitive motions like texting, tennis, and lifting a baby. Cool cool.
Since we’ve still got the hormone relaxin coursing through our veins postpartum, our connective tissue softens and that leaves our bodies structurally unstable. Think: the ligaments and tendons that connect muscles to bones and bones to other bones respectively. So it’s safe to say they are important. They hold us together. And when relaxin softens them, we’re wobbly.
And if you read this article about the health of your pelvic floor postpartum, you know that healthy muscles need to contract and release! An overworked pelvic floor is problematic, and so is an overstressed thumb!
As much as I’d love to tell you to rest, I know that’s not really feasible. I’m a mom too! And the picking up, putting down, feeding, and changing never ends. But I do have some tips on how to manage your mom thumb so you can keep picking up your baby and texting your people.
Keep Your Thumbs With Your Fingers
Whenever you pick up or put down the baby, instead of hooking your thumb under their arms, keep your thumbs with your fingers. It will feel awkward at first. But it helps so much and you’ll soon come to love this new pick up technique.
Modify Your Texting Technique
Again, this will feel weird at the beginning, but rest your phone in one hand or on the table and use your pointer fingers to type. Yes, it will be silly. Enjoy the silliness and rest those mom thumbs!
Address Your Posture
Your body has a whole slew of daily physical demands. You’re still healing and you’re new to this body. This article is chock full of straight forward, accessible movement you can do at any point in your postpartum journey to help find balance in your posture. Also, remember your arms go on the sides of your body, not the front.
Get a Spica Brace
This is a true game changer. This brace keeps your thumbs and wrist supported and contained so you don’t use it more than you need to. Wearing it while you sleep makes a HUGE difference! You can wear it during the day, but sometimes you need that thumb! So being able to support and immobilize this area while you sleep is 100% mom friendly.
Talk to Your Doctor
Because I am not a doctor. Talk to your doctor to make sure nothing more serious is going on. And they can also prescribe medication or other supportive measures to help you heal and be more comfortable.
The most important thing is that this is real, it’s not in your head, you’re not weak, and you’re also not meant to live with the pain and discomfort.