If you have been with me for a while, and are a regular reader, you know that I am a proponent of infrared and red-light devices.
I’ve written many articles about it.
And recently I had another situation where I had to use my infrared-light device.
I thought I’d share my story in case it can help you or someone you know.
You see, my hands hurt occasionally and I have just chalked it up to being on the computer a lot. So I take breaks and do stretches with my fingers. This usually takes care of it.
But right before the holidays I was noticing my thumbs, more my right one, feeling achy. It was different from what I had experienced before.
And then suddenly, when I went to take a hot pan out of the oven, my thumb gave out and I almost dropped it. I was pretty scared and my family looked frightened.
Thank goodness I was able to get the pan onto the counter without dropping it. But I knew right then I needed to figure this out.
In my research I found that there is something called texting thumb. And it’s an issue with the tendons which comes from overusing a smartphone.
The official name is De Quervain’s Tendinitis. It is an inflammation of tendons along the thumb and wrist that makes movement painful and sometimes difficult – as I found out with the hot pan.
And, according to the Mayo Clinic, the actual cause is unknown. But repetitive activities that involve the wrist and hand make it worse. So it’s not just texting.
To diagnose the disease doctors perform a simple test called the Finkelstein test. It’s performed by laying the thumb across the palm and then wrapping the fingers over the thumb to make a fist. From that position (with the fist) bend the wrist towards the pinky finger. If pain is felt at the base of the thumb it’s most likely De Quervain’s Tendinitis.
Some of the treatments for De Quervain’s Tendinitis are:
- Applying heat and cold
- Avoiding the activity or movement that causes the pain
- Wearing a splint
- Taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
- Steroid injections
And since my incident of almost dropping the pan I am feeling better. Not 100% but getting there.
Here are some things I’ve been doing:
- Increasing my turmeric and fish oil intake to 2000mgs
- Using my infrared light device nightly
- Voice texting and using my index finger to scroll
If caught early, De Quervain’s Tendinitis can be healed within four to six weeks. But if left untreated, range of motion may be damaged for good or tendons could burst.
This is just something I don’t want to mess with. And if my condition worsens I will see my doctor. But so far my thumb hasn’t given out since that night.
And in case you missed my article on infrared light, I’ve added it below. It’s pretty amazing technology and not just for tendinitis.
Have a great weekend!
For a healthier you!
Mostowy M., Et. al. Impact of smartphone screen size on de Quervain tenosynovitis epidemiology. Research Gate. 2020.
Kentaro Iwata. Smartphone-induced tendinitis: A case report. J Family Med Prim Care. 2019.
Som A., Et. al. Finkelstein Sign. StatsPearls. 2021.
Wu F., Et. al. Finkelstein’s Test Is Superior to Eichhoff’s Test in the Investigation of de Quervain’s Disease. J Hand Microsurg. 2018.
Recently I started working out in a place that uses infrared saunas. And it started me thinking about my first infrared device.
Maybe you remember it from the early 90s? It was a handheld device that you rubbed on and around the area that you wanted to heal.
I actually purchased mine from QVC and remember it was $15.
You see, my ex-husband had injured his hand and would get terrible swelling from where the bones were originally broken. He had a physical job and wasn’t getting relief from any pain relievers. So when I saw the device and the demonstration, I thought it couldn’t hurt.
When the device arrived he was reluctant to use it. After my nagging, he finally tried it. And, within a few days, you couldn’t tell there was any injury.
His hand was great for some time and then all of a sudden the pain and swelling flared up again. So back to using the device for a few days and his hand would return to normal.
This happened a couple of more times over the years until the swelling finally seemed to disappear for good, as did the pain.
Since then I’ve been interested in this type of therapy and have watched it evolve through the years. When you witness healing first-hand (no pun intended) it’s hard to ignore the science.
I was, and still am, a believer in infrared light therapy.
But what is infrared light therapy?
Simply put infrared light is an electromagnetic radiation that can’t be seen by the human eye but produces heat. That heat energy can penetrate the skin and help cells to regenerate.
The wavelength of infrared light varies between 700 nanometers to one millimeter. The varying depth is how this modality is able to treat (and reach) different conditions.
You see, the infrared light triggers nitric oxide which fights free radicals, reduces blood pressure and improves blood circulation. This process then gets nutrients and oxygen into the cells making them able to repair tissue and reduce inflammation and pain.
Here are some conditions infrared light therapy (including saunas) can help with:
- High blood pressure
- Congestive heart failure
- Skin photo-aging
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Brain injury
- Sexual dysfunction
- Type 2 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
It can also help boost the immune system, detoxify the body, reduce stress, fine lines, wrinkles and increase collagen production.
Infrared light therapy should not be confused with light-emitting diode (aka LED) light therapy which doesn’t give off heat and you can see the light. The two types of light therapy can be used (and often are) together.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this email, I have been going to a gym with infrared saunas. My son’s girlfriend, Sam, has also been going with me.
We actually work out in a private sauna that’s 125-130 degrees fahrenheit (51-54 degrees celsius).
Sam said I could share this with you …
Sam was diagnosed with arthritis last year, and has had terrible chronic pain in her hands. In the first week or so of going, her hands would feel great while we were in the sauna but would stiffen up on the ride home. But in the last week she hasn’t had that happen. I think that’s pretty amazing!
My small aches and pains (shoulders and lower back) have also improved.
I really just love this therapy so it’s a big YAY for me!
And if working out in 125 degrees doesn’t sound appealing to you, there are other ways to get all the benefits of the infrared light. Check out Novaa Lab here for their products.
Have a great weekend.
For a healthier you!
Lee, JH. Et. al. Effects of Infrared Radiation on Skin Photo-Aging and Pigmentation. Yonsei Med J. 2006.
Ulrike HM., Et. al. Low-level laser treatment with near-infrared light increases venous nitric oxide levels acutely: a single-blind, randomized clinical trial of efficacy. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2013.
Beever, Richard. Far-infrared saunas for treatment of cardiovascular risk factors. Can Fam Physician. 2009.
Johnstone DM., Et. al. Turning On Lights to Stop Neurodegeneration: The Potential of Near Infrared Light Therapy in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Neurosci. 2016.
Pallotta RC., Et. al. Infrared (810-nm) low-level laser therapy on rat experimental knee inflammation. Lasers Med Sci. 2012.
Maiello M., Et. al. Transcranial Photobiomodulation with Near-Infrared Light for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Pilot Study. Photobiomodul Photomed Laser Surg. 2019.
Suhariningsih, S. Et. al. The combined effect of magnetic and electric fields using on/off infrared light on the blood sugar level and the diameter of Langerhans islets of diabetic mice. Vet World. 2020.
Effects of Transcranial Photobiomodulation with Near-Infrared Light on Sexual Dysfunction. Lasers Surg Med. 2018.
Kang MH., Et. al. Near-infrared-emitting nanoparticles activate collagen synthesis via TGFβ signaling. Sci Rep. 2020.
Wunsch A., Et. al. A Controlled Trial to Determine the Efficacy of Red and Near-Infrared Light Treatment in Patient Satisfaction, Reduction of Fine Lines, Wrinkles, Skin Roughness, and Intradermal Collagen Density Increase. Photomed Laser Surg. 2014.