Your thenar eminence, also commonly known as your “thumb pad” is the soft fleshy area that is located at the base of your thumb. It consists of 3 major muscles, which all assist with making your thumb opposable, and allow us as higher primates to grasp onto objects to assist our daily living, such as eating, showering, or even communicating and texting. These 3 muscles are the Abductor Pollicis Brevis, the Flexor Pollicis Brevis, and the Opponens Pollicis.
We use our hands and digits throughout almost every aspect of our lives, and due to this, many of our daily tasks often require repetitive motions, and thus may stress the muscles within our hands, and especially within our thenar eminence. This stress within the thenar eminence may cause inflammation and furthermore pain.
In most cases, thenar eminence pain occurs due to these repetitive movements and actions throughout our day to day lives, and this may be referred to as “overuse syndrome”. Most of the time, the pain you’re feeling in your thenar eminence is not being referred to their from another source, but rather is located in one of the 4 muscles mentioned above. The muscles within the thenar eminence are connected to the ligament that runs directly over the carpal tunnel, located inside of the wrist. When this ligament becomes stressed or overworked, it can become inflamed and/or the tissue within the carpel tunnel may swell. This can cause the tunnel to narrow, and compress everything that runs through it, which includes your median nerve. The median nerve triggers the muscles that make up your thenar eminence, and when this nerve becomes compressed, it can cause severe thenar eminence pain.
Who’s at risk?
People from all walks of life may see themselves at one point or another with mild to severe thenar eminence pain. However, those who use their hands for work are far more likely to experience pain. Individuals who work with computers, and typing for a career, or those who work with hand tools are seen with at the highest population for thenar eminence pain. Individuals who participate in certain sports that require a level of grip strength are also seen with high prevalence. Those such as Hockey, baseball, golf, ect are often attributed with thenar eminence pain. Musicians, artists, and writers are also at a higher exposure rate to thenar eminence pain, due to the repetitive motion of their skills. But in actual fact, all of us may experience thenar eminence pain at one point or another within our lives, if we over use the muscles too much. If mild pain is exhibited, basic treatment options may help alleviate pain
3 Ways To Get Muscle Thenar Pain Relief…
The number one way to treat any muscle pain, is to identify what activity is aggravating the pain, and to cease the activity. This however, is not always viable, for many different reasons. If this is the case, medical treatments and home remedies can often help, even if you don’t entirely stop the aggravating activity. In order for effective and efficient treatment, using a combination of both medical treatment, as well as home remedies is often the best idea.
For home remedies, treatment solutions are basic, and can be applied throughout any point of the day, as many times as required. Often home remedies work best as treatment solutions when there is immediate thenar eminence pain.
Applying heat to the affected area can help to soothe thenar muscles and aid in pain relief. The heat increases the circulation of the blood flow throughout the area, enhancing the delivery of nutrients to the muscles, aiding in repair, and reducing thenar eminence pain. Applying a heat pack, soaking in a hot bath or using topical balms, such as Tiger balm or Eagle balm can help to relieve thenar eminence pain. Tiger balm and Eagle balm work to heat the muscles due to to high concentrations of menthol, an active ingredient that soothes muscles.
Massaging the thenar eminence can provide effective pain relief, as well performing certain thumb and hand stretches that may be provided to you by a soft tissue Occupational Therapist.
- Visit A Soft Tissue Occupational Therapist
For medical treatments, making an appointment with a soft tissue occupational therapist should be your number one priority. A soft tissue Occupational Therapist may look at reliving your pain through treatment such as trigger point release, as well as myofascial release therapy or even dry needling if required. This may take a few sessions to completely release, however, a soft tissue Occupational Therapist may also prescribe you thumb and hand stretches to complement your treatment, and assist with your recovery. Immobilisation may also play beneficial as a treatment option. Immobilising the thumb with kinesiology tape may reduce the amount of movement your thumb and thenar eminence muscles have to travel, and thus will reduce the amount of aggravation and inflammation within the area, reducing overall pain. Alongside treatment from a soft tissue Occupational Therapist, Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) such as ibuprofen may also be recommended, in order to reduce inflammation within the area.
At Infused Health our highly trained Soft Tissue Occupational Therapists will use a hands on approach to help treat your injuries, conditions or any concerns you may have. You can make an appointment today by calling 0401 876 623.