Did you know that there is a disease commonly found in new Mom’s? No, it’s not sleep deprivation. Not breast engorgement. No, not leaking from every orifice at once. Nope, not hemorrhoids either. Boy, this new Mom thing is looking more and more attractive. If you are also wondering, “What’s with this thumb pain?” you are not alone.
Silly, friends, it’s de Quervain tendinopathy. Yep, I still have to spell check that one.
De – what?
I’m fairly certain it’s French for “awful pain when moving your thumb” and the thumb-side of your wrist. And if you have had it, you will agree. It occurs in women ages 30-50 and especially 4-6 weeks after having a new baby. This thumb pain has been known to occur in the husband’s of new Mom’s as well, especially the ones who want attention (yep, my husband got to try CBD oil for his).
It has historically been blamed on overuse from the repetitive motions of caring for a newborn baby. The actual cause is unknown, though.
How do you know it’s de Quervain’s?
Painting on a ladder with a heart monitor while pregnant is the best medical advice
It hurts, that’s how. I had a nasty case before I had my one-year-old daughter, Eliza, and it continued for months. It started after I obsessively painted the baby’s room and living room cabinets while VERY pregnant. See that paint can grip – stupid move.
You don’t need x-rays or imaging to diagnose de Quervain tendonitis. Symptoms are caused by irritated tendons and worsen when moving the thumb or wrist. Pin point pain can be found right over that bump just above the wrist. And there is a simple physical exam trick you can try at home:
- Tuck your thumb under your fingers
- Make a fist around your thumb
- Move your hand AWAY from the thumb at your wrist (like you are waving, not knocking)
Does that cause you to jump? If so, it’s likely de Quervain’s. If you are diagnosing your husband, you might want to repeat this maneuver a few times just to make sure you are right. I did.
What can you do to get rid of this pain?
Here’s the good news – you can likely treat it at home:
- Get a Thumb Spica Splint – make sure it doesn’t cover the furthest thumb joint. This made the biggest difference for me. I wore it at work while on the computer and while active for 2 weeks. And when I finally got serious about wearing it, the pain started to improve. It just took me awhile to get serious about wearing it. My ongoing whining prompted my Mom to buy me a fancy splint and lay down the law. Learn from me – it will probably be a year of whining if you just “leave it alone”.
- Take scheduled Ibuprofen or Aleve for 2 weeks (as long as your stomach and kidneys will tolerate it)
If your pain persists, it’s time to head to the Doctor. You will want to confirm the diagnosis and likely have a steroid injection.
Simple Solution: de Quervain tendinopathy is not just a pain to spell, it’s a real pain in the thumb. As if new Mom’s don’t have enough to contend with. Most patients will improve with a good thumb splint and scheduled anti-inflammatories for at least 2 weeks. If not, time to head to the Doctor. And don’t forget to repeat that exam a few times on your husband – it will make you smirk. It’s the little things.
If you are a new Mom who is up at 2am and for some unknown reason wants to read more on De – what? Check out … Or you can go watch Scrubs, I leave it up to you.
For more information, check out: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/de-quervains-tenosynovitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20371332
For more Blog Posts on Aches and Pains: https://doctormome.com/cbd-oil-a-doctors-experiment/