Does Your Thumb Hurt?

by Dr. Christopher on January 30, 2012

Courtesy of akeg

Does your thumb hurt?

Then you may have a “painful thumb”.

Yes, that’s the medical diagnosis ….

Why I Hate “Arthritis”

I’m sitting at breakfast as I watch a woman grab and massage her thumb in pain.

Being always curious, I ask her what’s wrong.

“My thumb arthritis is acting up.”

I think to myself “Oh is it?”

A few treatments later, her pain is miraculously (and sarcastically) less.

If her pain were truely caused by “arthritis” which I define as “bone smashing into bone” pain, her pain would have lessened a small amount or not at all.

But in her case, there was a noticeable, 30% reduction in symptoms only after three visits.

Because my treatments don’t address the “arthritis” or shape of the bones at all, the diagnosis is mostly wrong.

The Most Common Musculoskeletal Condition in the Body

Adhesion (or “scar tissue” when caused by trauma) is rampant.

An adhesion is a think bundle of connective tissue caused by two processes:

  1. trauma.
  2. repetitive contraction most often caused by overuse.

In regard to #2 from above, you might imagine where all of the texting with our thumbs is going to lead the 300,000,000 people in America and the rest of those around the world.

Adhesion is problematic for a few reasons:

  1. It causes tightness and restricts range of motion.
  2. It causes weakness within the muscle (or other tissue) that it is present by not being able to handle the muscle’s work and thus, underworking.
  3. It causes weakness in synergistic (muscles that do the same motion) muscles by overloading them and thus, overworking.

With adhesion causing much of the tightness and weakness around the world and a lack of practitioners able to diagnose and treat the problematic tissue, we all might wonder why the most common musculoskeletal condition in the body is actually the least commonly diagnosed.

The Answer To Your “Painful Thumb”

Too many people complain about their fixable medical conditions without getting results from them for me not to address these problems.  The truth is that all of these are (mostly) fixeable:

  • thumb pain
  • plantar fasciosis
  • achilles tendonosis
  • medical epicondylosis
  • lateral epicondylosis
  • wrist pain
  • big toe pain (otherwise known as “painful big toe” or “arthritic big toe” if you must)

And there are more.

Please realize that just because your pain has not been fixed before does not mean there isn’t an answer.  Remember, you can’t hammer a nail with a screwdriver.

Dr. Christopher Stepien is a chiropractor, chronic pain specialist, and A.R.T. provider, and clinic director of the Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic in Morristown, NJ.  He has been trained under the Integrative Diagnosis system for “clinical excellence”.  He practices out of Guerrilla Fitness:Crossfit Morristown.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa McKee September 10, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Loved your comments on thumb pain — you give me hope.

Had to tell you though that I have used a screwdriver as a hammer for years. If you are hammering a small nail into a soft surface (drywall) a screwdriver works really well. Would not recommend that for building a house! But it works for small jobs.

Dr. Christopher September 11, 2012 at 8:32 am

I’m happy that you’re hopeful Lisa. You should be.

Haha, I respect your drywall story. Maybe that’s the appropriate metaphor for the typical chiropractic adjustment, which chiropractors often share, treats everything. It works for small jobs ie. (a little stress or temporary relief of pain), just not the big ones.

Anne Marie March 18, 2013 at 5:26 pm

Dr. Chris,
I really need my hands to do my work and for all the fun things too that I have planned!! So I will be making an appointment to see you, and am hopeful that you will work your magic on my adhesions or help me with nutritional information to decrease inflammation:) Nice article by the way:)

Dr. Christopher March 20, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Haha, I’m happy to help Anne Marie. I don’t do the magic, your body and life force does the magic. I appreciate you.

meg November 20, 2015 at 12:09 pm

I live with arthritis for about 7 years maybe longer. It’s extremely painful.I see many different Dr’s. I walk everyday and my pain gets worse.How is that explained?

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