Modern Day Ailments: Part 2

Repetitive Stress Syndrome

Repetitive Stress Syndrome (RSI):


Popularly called “Blackberry Thumb”, or “teen texting tendonitis,” this Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) occurs because these devices rely almost solely on the use of your thumbs for typing. Any device that relies on the thumbs for typing can cause this type of injury because the thumbs simply weren’t designed for such use. Additionally, there are also other stress injuries reported: wrist, forearm, shoulder, upper back and neck, as a result of constant texting.


The medical term for overuse of the thumbs when using electronic devices is: de Quervain’s tendonitis. Symptoms of de Quervain’s include:


  • Radial pain or soreness upon thumb or wrist movement from the thumb to the forearm
  • Pinching, grasping and similar movements may aggravate the pain
  • Pain when a fist is made
  • Swelling and tenderness at the base of the thumb and the radial side of the wrist
  • Feeling or hearing squeaking (crepitus) as the thumb’s tendon slides through its sheath
  • Numbness in the back of the thumb and index finger, caused by the swollen tendon rubbingon a nerve
  • A fluid-filled cyst in the same region as the swelling and pain
  • Difficulty moving the thumb and wrist during activities involving grasping or pinching


Massage seems to be the most effective for de Quervain’s. Techniques found in sports massage, Swedish massage, shiatsu and neuromuscular therapy have shown to increase the circulation that stagnates in static injuries, increases the thumb and wrist’s range of motion and can breakdown scar tissue contributing to pain and numbness.


If you are interested in becoming a Massage Therapist, Northwest Career College has an exceptional program taught by physicians and licensed massage therapists. Please call one of our enrollment specialists today at 702-254-7577 and start your new career as a massage therapist. We are waiting to hear from you!