How Your Hobby May Be Weakening Your Hand Strength

How Your Hobby May Be Weakening Your Hand Strength

A lot of different conditions can cause weakness in your hands. Sometimes, this problem arises when you’re doing something you really love — your hobby. Whether you play guitar or you enjoy painting, issues with your hands can happen if you’re not diligent.

At Southern Pain Specialists in Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. Kenneth Varley and his team offer treatments when your grip strength isn’t what it once was. Dr. Varley has the experience and knowledge to help you overcome your hand weakness so you can continue to enjoy your favorite activities. 

Causes of hand weakness

You use your hands all day, every day. Because of this, they’re prone to overuse injuries, pain, and weakness. If you use your hands more than most — such as when you do the repeated detailed work of a hobby — you’re on a fast-track to losing grip strength and experiencing weakness. 

A lot of conditions can cause weakness in your hands. Some are related to your hand and wrist, while others are more systemic. Some of the common reasons you have hand weakness include:

  1. Pinched nerves
  2. Cubital tunnel syndrome
  3. Peripheral neuropathy
  4. Herniated disc
  5. Ganglion cysts

Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the main causes of weakness in your hand. This condition affects the median nerve, which runs from your forearm to your wrist. Repetitive motion or trauma causes compression of this nerve, leading to weakness.

Arthritis is another common cause of hand weakness, especially as you get older. Arthritis is caused by wear-and-tear on your hand joints, often by repetitive motions. This condition not only causes stiffness, but pain and weakness as well. 

Hobbies that contribute to hand problems

Jobs, genetics, and injuries can cause weakness or problems in your hands. While these are all expected, issues with your hands from an enjoyable hobby likely aren’t on your mind. However, certain hobbies certainly contribute to muscle weakness and grip problems, such as:

  1. Baking or cooking
  2. Playing musical instruments
  3. Woodworking
  4. Gardening
  5. Painting
  6. Sculpting
  7. Sports

Writing in your journal or typing for pleasure are other hobbies that can lead to issues like arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. While hobbies are enjoyable, they can lead to problems if you don’t take the proper steps to keep your hands and wrists healthy.

Tips to avoid weakness in your hands

If you enjoy your hobby and don’t want to give it up, it’s important that you take the proper steps to avoid overuse injuries. Here are some of the top tips Dr. Varley and his team recommend.

Stretch your hands and wrists

Too much tension in your hands or wrists can lead to problems like hand weakness. One of the best things you can do is stretch your hands after a long jam session on the drums. Take the time to stretch each hand and all of your fingers well before continuing.

Take a break once an hour

If you’re a novelist or you’re whipping up batches of baked goods all day, it’s vital that you give your hands a break from time to time. Constant typing or using your hands can lead to problems with your muscles and nerves. Be sure you’re taking time out to give your hands and the rest of your body a rest.

Lighten your grip

When you’re used to doing something every day, you sometimes lose sight of how much force you’re using. For instance, if you enjoy carpentry, are you holding onto your tools too tightly? Make sure you relax your grip to avoid problems like carpal tunnel syndrome; grip firmly for safety, but don’t clench.

Switch hands often

If your hobby involves using one hand regularly, switch it up to prevent strain on just one side. This gives the muscles in your dominant hand a break, which helps prevent overuse injuries and weakness.

Try physical therapy

If you’re worried about your risk of carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, or any other condition that affects your hands, physical therapy can help. A physical therapist gives you specific exercises to strengthen your muscles. They also help you change up your routine to keep you from experiencing weakness.