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Relief for the Notorious Sore Thumb
Craig Olschansky
Relief for the Notorious Sore Thumb

Sore thumbs may arguably be the most common pain massage therapists suffer. Your healing hands are the tools of your trade, but overuse and repetitive activity will inevitably cause aches and pains to occur over time.

Constantly adding pressure to clients’ pain points can lead to massage therapists' own pains and even cause tenosynovitis (also called de Quervain’s tenosynovitis). This condition affects the tendons on your wrist near your thumbs. Those with de Quervain's tenosynovitis will have difficulty turning their wrists, grasping anything or making a fist. Your ability to use your hands and fingers to treat your clients will be extremely difficult if you get to this point.

To avoid the sore thumb and de Quervain's tenosynovitis, you can do the following:

Self-Care Massages

Nurture yourself so you can continue to nurture your clients. Give yourself some tender loving (self)care with the Gelliflex™ Abacus™. The gel-ball trigger point and self-massage device can easily target those pain points starting from your fingers and thumbs all the way to your elbows and everywhere inbetween. Whether you need squeeze ball techniques, rolling action and/or compression, the customizable device can offer almost infinite combinations. It’s perfect to use when squeezing in a quick self-care massage session between clients.

Be Mindful of Pressure

You can’t control your client's preferences for pressure, but you can control the way you apply it. To maintain hand health, don’t feel inclined to apply pressure solely from your hands. Try using other areas of your body, like your core and body weight. This will give your hands and thumbs a nice break from working so hard. And your clients might also appreciate the various techniques you’re using to address their pain points.

Change Up Your Routine

Performing repetitive motions during massage sessions can lead to injuries over time for massage therapists. Similar to using different parts of your body for pressure, also use those different parts for technique. Use the sides of your hands, your elbows, and even your knuckles. Varying your massage techniques can save you from injury and give your clients the top-level treatment they deserve.