What Causes Thumb Shaking and How Is It Treated?
The first thing that comes into your mind when you hear the word “thumb shaking” is probably some sort of physical pain or discomfort. However, there are other causes of this condition besides just physical pain. There are many different theories as to what causes thumb shaking. Some say it’s caused by stress; others believe it’s due to overworking the fingers. Still others think it’s due to poor posture. If you’re wondering why these other explanations don’t make sense, then read on!
Stress: The theory that thumb shaking is caused by stress is not true. Stress does cause a slight tingling sensation in the fingertips, but it doesn’t cause any type of permanent damage. You might experience temporary numbness or weakness if you have high blood pressure or diabetes, however, those conditions aren’t usually associated with thumb twitches.
Overworking the Fingers: Another theory that suggests thumb shaking is caused by overworking the fingers is also false. Overworking the fingers isn’t likely to cause any kind of permanent damage either. If anything, it could actually improve your ability to do things because you’ll be able to concentrate better and perform tasks faster.
Poor Posture: A third theory that says thumb twitching is caused by poor posture is also untrue too. The truth is, you can stand in the worst posture ever, and it’s not going to cause a tingling sensation in your fingers. In fact, you’d probably have to put a lot more effort into it in order to break something or do any kind of permanent damage.
Stress, Poor Posture, and Overworking the Fingers: None of the above are true causes for thumb twitches.
Does Thumb Twitching Cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Thumb twitching does not cause carpal tunnel syndrome. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Carpal tunnel syndrome is the main cause of thumb twitching in most people. This is why it’s so important to get it treated right away when you first experience symptoms. If you ignore it and let it go on for too long, you could end up losing some of the feeling or function in the hand or even in the arm. This could cause more issues as time goes on.
In most cases, people who suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome experience pain, tingling, or numbness in the hand, especially in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and ring finger. (Source: Mayo Clinic Staff, “Carpal tunnel syndrome,” Mayo Clinic, Last Modified October 27, 2014 (Accessed December 1, 2014).) They may also experience weakness or aching in these areas as well. (Ibid) Most people who have carpal tunnel syndrome are usually middle-aged, however, it isn’t unheard of for younger or older people to suffer from it too.
There are a few different reasons why carpal tunnel syndrome occurs. Carrying heavy objects is one of the main causes of this condition. Some jobs that require you to use your hand or arms a lot, such as a plumber, or someone who plays the piano on a regular basis could also cause it. Repetitive motions can also bring it on. (Ibid) If you use a computer a lot or play a musical instrument such as the guitar, then you might also be more prone to developing this condition.
There are different ways to treat carpal tunnel syndrome. The first and most popular way is with surgery. In most cases, when a person undergoes this type of surgery, the doctor will cut the transverse carpal ligament in order to give more space inside the canal. (Source: MedlinePlus, “Carpal Tunnel Release,” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, last reviewed April 2014.) This increases the amount of space inside the carpal tunnel so it isn’t as pinched anymore.
The surgery usually only takes about ten to twenty minutes.
Other ways to treat this condition without going under the knife include wearing a splint or a wrist brace at night or when you know you’ll be doing a lot of handwork. You can also try changing the way you do things. For instance, if you play the piano, you could try holding the instrument in a different way so as not to overtax your hands. Use hand and wrist exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles in your hands too. (Ibid)
Most of the time, carpal tunnel syndrome goes away on its own after a few weeks or months. However, if you start to experience symptoms while pregnant, then you’ll probably want to get it treated right away since the condition usually gets worse when a person is expecting. (Ibid)
Pregnancy can sometimes cause carpal tunnel syndrome since there is so much going on with the body during this time. During pregnancy, the body has to grow and change so it is prepared to have and take care of a baby. The body starts producing a hormone called relaxin which helps the pelvis grow in order to prepare for childbearing. (Ibid) In most cases, the ligaments in the pelvis become looser during pregnancy. This could lead to a greater range of motion in the hip joint.
Unfortunately, this can sometimes cause the carpal tunnel to become stretched and pinched leading to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Sources & references used in this article:
Neurostimulation methods in the treatment of chronic pain by R Rokyta, J Fricová – Physiological research, 2012 – biomed.cas.cz
The trigger point therapy workbook: Your self-treatment guide for pain relief by C Davies, A Davies – 2013 – books.google.com
‘We call it the shaking illness’: perceptions and experiences of Parkinson’s disease in rural northern Tanzania by G Mshana, CL Dotchin, RW Walker – BMC Public Health, 2011 – Springer
Chronic pain in small animal medicine by SM Fox – 2009 – books.google.com