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My journey to EMF awareness started with a simple internet search:
“Why do my hands tingle when I use my cell phone?”
Annnd then I got lost in the rabbit hole of information. Ha! If you’ve done much reading on cell phone radiation or EMF, you know exactly what I mean by that.
So short answer – yes, EMF & RF from your smartphone can cause discomfort in your hands, BUT I’m not so naïve as to say that’s the only cause. It could actually be many things.
Let’s talk about that today, shall we?
Cell Phone Radiation and Its Effects on Hands
We’ve all heard about the effects of radiation from cell phone use and its possible link to brain cancer, but this type of radiation is also thought to result in pain and soreness in the hand area.
Radiation is essentially energy that travels through space and comes from a particular source.
And when we talk about ‘EMF,’ we’re essentially referring to 3 things – electric field, magnetic field, and radio frequency (RF) radiation.
And get this…your cell phone emits all three of them.
Most are in low “doses” with the exception of the RF radiation, which stems from the phone’s cellular connection.
Each time you use your phone, either for a call or to use the Internet, you are being exposed to RF radiation.
Although the levels are not extremely high (but even that depends on what scale you compare it to), the fact that you’re being exposed so many times a day means that – with time – it has the potential to cause problems.
Think of it like taking an X-ray. If you get an X-ray once a year or once every few years, the amount of radiation is not likely to hurt you.
On the other hand, if you were to get an X-ray every week or even every month, your odds of it being dangerous to you greatly increase. Though certainly a different type of radiation, the cumulative effect is the same with your cell phone.
One of the things that makes cell phone radiation so dangerous is the fact that it comes so close to your body – unlike things such as X-rays, which are usually several feet away. And you’re wearing protective shields…
Because of these factors, cell phone radiation has been linked to various types of hand pain, including sensitivity, muscle pain, tingling, and even joint pain.
In fact, hand pain from cell phone use can often exacerbate any type of arthritis or carpal tunnel pain that you already have.
And it’s not exactly an uncommon problem…
Up to 40% of cell phone users claim they regularly experience some type of hand or finger pain due to using their cell phone so much.
Cell Phone Radiation Symptoms
Radiation from cell phones can cause symptoms that you may seem unrelated at the surface, including but not limited to hand pain. Other symptoms of cell phone radiation exposure include:
- Brain fog
- Heart palpitations or chest pain
- Muscle pain in the hands, wrists, and arms
- Skin reactions that include rashes
- Sleep problems
When it comes specifically to your hands, you can experience numerous unpleasant side effects from cell phone radiation, including itchy skin, skin rashes, and even a burning sensation on the palms of your hands.
These same symptoms can appear on your facial area as well, so if you develop any of these things, you may want to take a closer look at your smartphone habits.
Other Reasons for Hand Pain Caused by Cell Phone Use
Of course, cell phone use can cause pain in your hand and wrist area that isn’t related to EMF radiation
With consistent use of your phone, you’re naturally going to increase your risk of having some type of soreness or pain in this area of your body.
Here are a few specific examples of hand pain not caused by EMF:
1. Cell Phone Elbow
Cell phone elbow is a type of Cubital Tunnel Syndrome, which occurs when you spend long periods of time on your cell phone.
Experiencing any level of pins and needles from holding a phone is one of the major symptoms, but another symptom is the numbing of your hand, elbow, and arm area.
You can also experience a severe burning or aching sensation, and all of these are caused by constant bending of the elbow as you talk on the phone.
When this happens, the nerve going from your upper to lower arm and around your elbow becomes compressed, causing swelling to occur.
2. Smartphone Pinky
Many people claim that their pinky finger has suffered because of persistent cell phone use, but the truth is, the phenomenon of “smartphone pinky” isn’t officially recognized.
Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t suffer problems with any of your fingers if you are constantly using your cell phone.
Indeed, consistent texting, scrolling, and tweeting can wreak havoc on your fingers, but most experts agree that if you reduce your cell phone use and practice methods such as going hands-free whenever you can, you can greatly reduce any discomfort.
3. Texting Thumb
The term “texting thumb” usually refers to one of two conditions: trigger thumb and thumb arthritis.
The former occurs when the flexor tendon in the thumb is constricted, and the latter when arthritis occurs in the area where the thumb connects to the wrist.
How to Tell When Radiation Is the Culprit Versus Muscle Strain Like “Cell Phone Elbow”
Now that we’ve determined that hand, wrist, and even arm pain can be caused by spending too much time on your cell phone, let’s talk about how to tell whether your pain is coming from EMF radiation or is simply a symptom of repetitive motion.
The main difference is that, with EMF-related pain, you’re very likely going to have at least a few other symptoms related to this type of radiation.
And if you remember from earlier, some of those include:
- Brain fog
- Ringing in the ears
- Trouble sleeping
On the other hand, pain that comes from repetitive motions is going to be more centralized to that one area.
Tingling, pain, sensitivity, and numbness are all possible by overusing your phone. But if you start using hands-free methods and/or reducing the amount of time you spend on it, and you still experience pain, you should definitely see a doctor.
Tips to Reduce Hand Pain From Cell Phone Radiation
If you think your discomfort is caused by EMF, here are a few things you can do to decrease your exposure to phone radiation:
- Use the airplane mode feature on your cell phone. Airplane mode is almost like a “sleep” function. It essentially cuts the phone’s communication with nearby devices and towers, eliminating the radiation output.
- Use a phone stand and a stylus. When you do this, you can put some distance between you and the phone so that it isn’t right up against your body. This reduces the amount of radiation you’re exposed to and also gives your hand a break from the heat generated by the phone.
- Use a speakerphone. Again, this puts some distance between you and the phone, and your hands, wrists, and fingers will thank you for it.
- Look for specialized gloves. There are shielded gloves on the market made out of polyester fiber and twisted with silver fibers that significantly reduce the amount of RF that penetrates your hands. And if you ground it with an alligator clip, it’ll protect against electric fields, too.
- Don’t text or call when your cell phone is charging. When a cell phone is charging, the strength of its electric and magnetic fields can double. Not good. So unplug it before use.
The main thing you want to remember is to keep some physical distance between you and your phone whenever possible.
Remember the X-ray topic discussed above? It’s the same principle – the less exposure to radiation, the better off you are in the end.
Tips to Reduce Hand Pain From Repetitive Motion and Use
If your hand and wrist pain is simply due to spending too much time on your cell phone and is concentrated on a small area of your hand or arm, spending time not being on your phone can go a long way in helping to get rid of the pain.
If you ever suffer with hand twitches when holding a phone or texting, it could be that once minor symptoms have gotten worse. You should see your care provider first and foremost, but here are some tips to help reduce hand pain related to phone use:
- Stretch your fingers, wrist, and forearms, much like you stretch any other muscle.
- Switch hands regularly.
- Take frequent breaks from the phone.
- Try not to use the same muscles for other activities. For example, don’t do a lot of texting and then turn around and play video games.
- Try to find a larger cell phone to use.
- Use the swipe feature more often.
- Use your voice-to-text feature whenever you can to give your fingers a rest.
- When texting with both hands, place the phone on a countertop first.
Naturally, limiting your time on a cell phone goes a long way in helping to alleviate pain, whether that pain is coming from the radiation or just from overuse.
In fact, this is a good suggestion for anyone with a phone, even if you’re not experiencing hand pain at the moment.
Because keep in mind, it’s only once you’ve become sensitive to EMF that you feel the effects of it.
Trust me, you don’t ever want to get to that point.
It’s far better to make some minor lifestyle changes now to avoid overexposure and future development of EMF sensitivity.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can radiation from cell phones cause skin problems?
Yes, it can. These problems can include itchiness, rash, extreme redness, and a burning sensation either on your face or in the palm of your hand.
Will stretching exercises make things better or worse?
Although stretching involves more movement for your hands, some light stretching daily can help hand pain subside quite a bit. When you’re stretching, concentrate on your fingers, hand, wrist, and forearm.
Is there a better way to hold a cell phone to reduce hand pain?
Yes. Try texting with both hands while the cell phone is on a table or countertop. Try to keep your elbow as straight as possible when you’re using your phone, and try to avoid unnatural movements with your thumbs so that the pressure put on them is minimal.
Certified EMF Expert, Chief Editor & Researcher at Beat EMF. I’m in charge of testing all the products and sorting through the duds to deliver effective EMF solutions for your family. Learn more about me here.