Can You Get Carpal Tunnel From Phone? (Everything You Need To Know)

Young using her mobile phone. Is it possible that you can get carpal tunnel from using your phone too often?

The carpal tunnel syndrome is often associated with office jobs and typing. A classic keyboard promotes an unhealthy position of the wrists. But then, there are plenty of other risk factors, such as working with specific tools, small objects or vibrating tools.

Even those who spend hours a day gaming could experience the syndrome. But then, you probably ask yourself – can you get carpal tunnel from phone? Are there any rules you should stick to?

How Can I Define Carpal Tunnel?

The carpal tunnel syndrome can be defined as uncomfortable or painful pressure on a specific nerve around your wrist.

It starts as a slight sensation of discomfort that will grow in intensity should you treat it fast.

With time, it can cause numbing sensations, tingling and pains in other parts of the arm too – such as your fingers and hands.

You can treat it yourself, but you can also prevent it from occurring – it may take time to sort it out, but it is totally doable.

Getting Carpal Tunnel From Phone – Is It Possible?

People who cannot spend more than half an hour without tapping and swiping on their smartphones might be scrolling their way into the stressful syndrome, which will cause a series of painful symptoms. The carpal tunnel syndrome is associated with typing and working with small objects and the smartphone can easily go in this category.

Generally speaking, caution must be part of the game when dealing with a hand held electronic device, such as your smartphone. The carpal tunnel is a small, yet hard mix of ligaments and bones located by your wrist. It has some tendons – mostly responsible for bending fingers. The median nerve is also there and it connects the forearm and your palm.

“Getting Carpal Tunnel from Phone is not easy. You must use the smartphone (or other similar devices, like gaming consoles) for more than five or six hours on a daily basis”

The carpal tunnel syndrome will become a problem when the area where this median nerve passes into the hand is exposed to stress and pressure. Repetitive and unnatural movements are responsible for the issue and using your smartphone does not always imply a good position. While swiping and tapping may seem relatively simple, they are not natural.

Now, getting carpal tunnel from phone is not that easy either. You will not check your social media account 10 times a day and end up with this problem. Instead, you must use the smartphone (or other similar devices, like gaming consoles) for more than five or six hours on a daily basis. While most people rarely spend that much time on their devices, gaming consoles could be more problematic.

Hands Go Numb When You Are Holding Phone In Bed?

a girl lying in bed and scrolling her phone

Hands go numb holding phone in bed, but this is not the only symptom associated with the carpal tunnel syndrome. Numbness will affect everything – your wrist will feel a bit sketchy, then your fingers may experience numbness too. The issue mostly affects the index finger and the thumb, but you could experience other issues too.

Sooner or later, the whole hand will go numb. If left untreated, the situation will go further. Your whole arm may end up suffering.

Apart from numbness, you can also experience tingling sensations. Needles and pins are just as common every now and then. The thumb will lose some of its intensity. At the same time, you will experience difficulties when trying to grip things. Such symptoms occur overtime and not after a few days. They come and go every now and then and they tend to aggravate at night.

When it comes to carpal tunnel symptoms hitting you at night, the fact that you may have an uncomfortable position will make them even worse. For example, chilling on your phone in the fetal position could be an issue. The same rule applies if you rest on your belly while holding the phone – extra pressure on your shoulders and wrists.

Are People Predisposed To Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Just because you only use the phone to make calls and you do not work in an office environment, it does not mean that you could never experience the carpal tunnel symptoms. For instance, you might be surprised to find out that hands go numb holding phone in bed even if you barely use it for less than half an hour throughout the day.

Then, on another note, there are millions of people out there who are addicted to their smartphones and they do not experience any symptoms whatsoever. This is because people are different. Some of them might have a narrow cubital tunnel, as well as some extra muscle. Some others do not have that extra muscle tissue.

Then, there are situations when you might experience a few issues if you flex the elbow beyond 90 degrees. If that happens, you have a predisposition to the carpal tunnel syndrome. The same story occurs at night due to an unhealthy sleeping position. Simply put, people could be predisposed to the carpal tunnel syndrome, so your smartphone could be responsible for it even if you use it for less than five hours a day.

Just because you do not have a typing job, you do not work with vibrating objects and you use your phone for one or two hours a day, it does not mean that the carpal tunnel syndrome will avoid you. But then, here are a few tips for reducing hand pain or even preventing this affection.

Tips For Reducing Hand Pain

Switch your hands

Try to switch hands every now and then. You do not want that uncomfortable claw, do you? While using the dominant hand is definitely more comfortable, you need to switch every now and then to give it some rest.

Do some stretches

A few exercises are just as handy – some of the best tips for reducing hand pain. They will also help you relax, especially if taking long breaks is not an option – office work, for instance. Stretch arms, forearms and fingers. Shake your hands and perform various exercises for relaxation.

Use swipe

Feel free to use the swipe feature. Most smartphones have it. You can practically slide from one letter to another, rather than type them. It may take a while to get used to it, but it will clearly reduce some of the pressure.

Take regular breaks

If you tend to text or game for hours, you can break up such long sessions. Do it for half an hour, then take a break. Do it again later on. Find other activities to keep yourself entertained and pains may no longer be a problem.

Write on flat surface

If you really have to text a lot or your job implies it, simply put the smartphone on a flat surface – such as a table or a desk – and use both hands to type. Forget about holding it in your hand and typing with your thumb – look at that claw and you will understand what kind of stress your hand goes through.

Limit your text or use voice to text feature

Limit your texts to very short messages – the type of messages you can write within a few seconds. If you need to write long messages, most smartphones have a feature – voice to text – for easy typing. You could also just make a phone call and sort it out even faster.

Get a bigger phone

If you are about to get a new phone, get a bigger one. A large phone is likely to be easier on your carpal tunnel symptoms because fingers can spread out properly. But then, they are not perfect. A larger device is also heavier – more issues on your wrist. Plus, the pinky finger may experience more problems due to holding a heavier weight.

Get a carpal tunnel phone case

Is there such a thing? You might have seen it before. The case is classic, but it comes with a ring at the end. That ring is not about being fancy or holding the smartphone in a different way – it helps promoting a more natural position of your fingers and preventing the famous smartphone claw.

When To See a Specialist Doctor For Carpal Tunnel Symptoms

If carpal tunnel signs and symptoms do not go away, you need to see a doctor

There are situations when a carpal tunnel phone case or a few tips for reducing hand pain will not necessarily work. If the signs and symptoms do not go away, you need to see a doctor. At the same time, a specialist is recommended when such symptoms interfere with your daily activities – they might be just as problematic at night.

Without treatment or prevention, permanent muscle damage may become reality. Fortunately, you do not always need a doctor. You can easily prevent the syndrome with a little attention, but you can also ameliorate the signs should they affect you.

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Bottom line, can you get carpal tunnel from phone? The truth is you can, especially if you use your phone for more hours a day. The issue can target people predisposed to the syndrome though, especially if your smartphone is just an extra activity that involves using your hands. If you also type a lot, work in an office or with vibrating tools, you are even more exposed.

There are ways to prevent and handle this affection and no matter how basic it is, it could become a real problem if left untreated.​

Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our website. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor.

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