Have you noticed that your hand hurts after using or holding your cell phone for a while? Maybe your fingers are hurting or tingling?
Well, this is actually more common than you might think. In this article we’re going to talk about some of the reasons that this might be happening, and ways you can prevent it from happening in the future.
I’ll dive into a bit of the dangers of EMF radiation from cell phones, and specifically how that radiation can affect your hands. We’ll talk about why some cellphones emit more radiation than others, how you can find a low-radiation phone, and how you can block the radiation from the phone you’re using now.
Let’s get started!
Cell-Phone Radiation – The Basics
We’re not going to dive into this too deep since I already have some really good, and comprehensive, articles on cell phone radiation, but it is important to talk about it. This will help us to understand why you may be experiencing pain in your fingers, hand, wrist, or arm.
So, let’s just talk a little bit about how cell phone radiation works. First of all (cell phone radiation) is kind of a misnomer, as it’s actually just EMF radiation. EMF radiation is actually three separate types: magnetic field, electric field, and radio frequency radiation.
Your cell phone emits all three, but mostly magnetic and radio frequency radiation.
The small amount of magnetic radiation is emitted from the power converter connected to the lithium ion battery (assuming you have a modern smartphone) as well as the logic board of the device. The larger radiation source though is the radio frequency radiation from the phones cellular connection.
When you are on a phone call, watching a video on your phone, scrolling social media, or anything else that uses data, you are connected either to WiFi or a cellular network. Either way, data is being transmitted wirelessly between an access point and your phone, in tiny packets, thousands of times a second.
The bi-product of this is a form of radiation called RF radiation.
If you have an EMF meter, like the Trifield TF2, you’ll notice that when measuring RF radiation you won’t get a consistent reading. This is because the meter is reading the packets of data, and since they are happening so fast, the primary reading won’t be accurate, you need to instead look at the peak reading to get an accurate measurement.
Now, you may hear the argument, especially from cell-phone manufacturers over the next few years, that cell-phones aren’t dangerous because they “meet or exceed federal SAR guidelines.” SAR, or specific absorption rate, is a FCC mandated measurement for how much radiation can be absorbed by the body from a cell phone and still considered safe.
I won’t go into too much detail about SAR (check out this post, and this post, for more information about that), but it’s important to know that these guidelines were defined in 1996, and a large group of scientists and researchers believe these are likely far off what are actually safe levels.
If you read those articles I linked, you’ll have a good idea of the many reasons that SAR ratings likely do not protect consumers. However, what you will recognize from the fact that these ratings exists, is that both regulators, and manufacturers, understand that cell phone radiation is dangerous, especially in close proximity to the body over long periods of time.
This fact has been proven in hundreds of studies over the last few decades.
- Even low levels of EMF radiation can be carcinogenic to humans
- Single, and double-strand DNA damage
- “…effects on brain and cranial bone development in the offspring of animals that are exposed to cell phone radiation during pregnancy”
The Interphone study was published in 2010 and is the largest and most comprehensive study published on the relationship between cell phone risk, and negative health effects. The conclusions found that:
- If you use your cell phone for as little as 30 minutes a day, after 10 years you will have a 40% increased risk of developing a brain tumor.
- That you are considered “high risk” if you’ve used your phone 1640 hours in your lifetime. This “high-risk group” is 2 times more likely to develop a brain tumor in the temporal lobe. When holding your cell-phone close to your head, the temporal lobe is the area of the brain closest to the antenna.
- When brain tumors were found in the test group, they were twice as likely to be found on the side of the head where the cell phone was used.
These are just a small portion of the amount of research that is out there about the dangers of cell phone radiation, especially over the long term. If you want to read more, here is a list of 139 other pieces of research and their conclusions (edit: the links don’t seem to be working, but just google the study to find the info).
Alright, now that we’ve covered some of the basics of cell phone radiation, and why it really is, and can be, dangerous, let’s talk specifically about how it can affect our fingers, hands, and wrist.
Cell Phone Radiation Hand Pain
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Alright, now there are likely one of two reasons that your hand is hurting when holding your cell phone or smart phone:
- It is an orthopedic or carpal tunnel related issue.
- The radiation from the cell phone is causing sensitivity and pain in your hand.
The first one is actually extremely common. In fact, a study found that over 40% of people have experienced thumb or hand pain from using their smart phone. “Text claw,” or “cell phone elbow” are just nicknames for what is actually called cubital tunnel syndrome.
According to the orthopedic institute:
“Text Claw” is a non-medical term that describes all of the finger cramping and aching muscles that come from constant gaming, scrolling and texting on smartphones, the medical term for it is “cubital tunnel syndrome”. It can also be called “Cell Phone Elbow”, described numbness or tingling in the ring and pinky fingers that occurs after when the elbow is bent for long periods of time.
So, it’s easy to understand that the pain could possibly be caused by just the overuse of the muscles and joints. If you think that this is the issue, please don’t hesitate to contact your physician right away if you are experiencing pain.
However, the other likely cause is sensitivity to cell phone radiation, called EHS (electro-hypersensitivity). EHS, is essentially sensitivity and physical symptoms that come about from exposure to EMF radiation, especially from things like cell phones.
Common symptoms of EHS include:
- Fatigue – Most recognizable is fatigue even after what seemed like a full, or rest-full nights sleep, or fatigue that persists through the day.
- Trouble Sleeping – This one is extremely common, as peoples bedrooms have become a hotbed for EMF radiation. From cell-phones next to the bed, metal spring mattresses acting as antennas, to dirty electricity, EMF radiation while we sleep is extremely common. In fact, I wrote a whole article about how to rid your bedroom of EMFs and finally get a restful nights sleep, check it out here.
- Tinnitus – More commonly known as just ringing in the ears, it doesn’t always present as a ringing. Tinnitus is defined as the hearing of a consistent sound when no such external sound is present, and can actually present as a hissing, a clicking, a roaring, or a number of other sounds. This is common with severe Electo-hypersensitivity.
- Brain Fog – or cognitive decline, it is noticeable when you feel that your memory has been declining, or you’re having trouble recalling names, or places or events. It is also noticeable if you are having a tough time concentrating. Some scientists believe that the dramatic rise in Alzheimers Disease can be partially attributed to EMF damage and our wireless age. A study conducted at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that the number of individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s is likely to triple by the year 2050.
- Chest Pain and Heart Palpitations – Often seen in patients with EHS, or any reaction to the EMFs around them, the feeling is similar to angina, when blood flow is restricted to the heart. Less severe, but still symptomatic can be a fluttering or racing heartbeat.
- Skin Reactions – Some people react with irritations to the skin like redness, tingling, or even a rash. This is most commonly present in the face and upper arms but can present nearly anywhere on the body.
- Muscle Pain – Muscle pain and weakness in the hands, wrists, arms and more are common with people who suffer from EHS.
So, pain in the hand from using your cell-phone regularly is far from uncommon. In fact, initial pain in the skin, along with fatigue and trouble sleeping, are some of the most commonly reported issues related to EMF exposure.
This means that it is entirely possible that your hand pain could be a result of EMF radiation from your cell phone, but don’t worry, we’ll talk about some things you can do to relieve this pain and prevent it in the future down below.
Smartphone Finger Pain
This is very similar to hand pain from using your cellphone or smartphone too much. The primary difference between pain in your hand, and pain in your fingers, is likely how you’re holding the device.
Carpal tunnel related symptoms from holding your phone and using your thumb other other fingers to scroll and type, is extremely common.
Like with cell phone radiation hand pain, finger pain could also be a result of a mild sensitivity to the RF and magnetic radiation that your phone is emitting.
If you think this might be the case, follow some of the suggestions I list down below.
However, be sure to consult your physician if you are having significant pain of any kind or feel that it may be a muscular-skeletal issue.
If you take a break from your phone for a little while, and the pain dissipates fairly quickly, it could possibly be related to the EMF radiation emitted from the device.
Pins and Needles While Holding iPhone or Other Smartphone
The term “pins and needles” usually refers to the acute tingling sensation you often feel when your leg or foot falls asleep. When this happens to your hand or arm while holding a cellphone, it is likely the result of decreased blood-flow or a pinched nerve.
If this sensation continues, be sure to consult a physician.
Alright, now that we’ve talked about the different reasons that cell
How To Reduce or Prevent Cell Phone Radiation Hand Pain
This is going to be more of a summary overview, as I already have an extremely comprehensive post on this topic.
However, it is important to talk about some of the most efficient things we can do to reduce our radiation exposure to cell phones.
1. Reduce Your Use
Whenever it comes to radiation exposure, the two most important things you can always do, is reduce your use, and get distance.
Reducing your use is simple, we understand that the biological dangers of EMF radiation are cumulative, so any reduction goes a long way. Getting distance just means hold your phone a little farther away from your body, use speaker phone when possible, headphones when possible, etc.
If you have a short phone-call to make, consider sending a text instead. Anything you can do to just reduce the amount of time that you are holding your smartphone will go along way in reducing your radiation exposure, and likely any pain in your hand or fingers.
2. Get An EMF Protection Case
This should be fairly self-explanatory, but let’s talk about it for just a second. There are lots of EMF protection cellphone cases on the market, but only a few that I really use and trust.
Most of these cases, if they are made the right way, will have protective covers that when you answer or make a call, and close the front cover, you are blocking nearly all the EMF radiation from reaching your head.
When you are just scrolling through Facebook or using apps on your phone, that EMF protection flap is on the backside, protecting your hand from the radiation.
This means that no matter what you are doing on your cellphone, the closest part of your body to the device will be protected by a material meant to block 100% of EMF radiation.
I have tried essentially every case on the market, and the one I think is the best, and the one I’m using now, is this one from Defendershield.
3. Wait Until The Call Has Started
If you do plan to use your iPhone next to your head, wait until after the call has started. Many cell-phones have been known to emit much radiation as they are attempting to connect to another device. This is because it can take much more power to establish the call, then it does to maintain it.
So when you’re making a call, wait until the call shows that it has connected before putting your iPhone to your ear. When receiving a phone call, wait 1 or 2 seconds after answering to put to your ear. This will help to reduce the spike of RF radiation you may have been exposed to.
4. Don’t Call With A Bad Signal
When your phone has a poor celular connection, it actually uses far greater amounts of power, and emits far more radiation while it tries to establish, maintain, and improve it’s signal. Some studies have found that a phone can emit up to 1000 times more EMF radiation when it is at one bar or less.
So, by simply keeping an eye on your cellular connection before you make a call, you can dramatically reduce the amount of EMF radiation you are exposing your fingers, hands, and head to during a phone call.
5. Use Airplane Mode Whenever Possible
Did you know that your cell phone emits EMF radiation, even when it’s not in use? That is because your phone is constantly using WiFi and cellular data to update emails, receive text messages, update apps, and so much more, even when you aren’t using the device.
So, if you are doing anything on your phone that doesn’t require cellular connection or WiFi, just flip the phone into Airplane mode. This cuts the RF radiation to essentially zero, and will dramatically reduce the radiation absorbed by your hand or your head.
This is also a great idea before you go to bed, as having a phone right next to you while you sleep really isn’t a great idea.
6. Get An Air Tube Headset
I talk about Air Tube headsets quite a bit in my posts, I even wrote up the most comprehensive guide to Air Tube headsets on the web.
Well, this is for a really good reason. Headphones have always been a great way for us to make phone calls, or watch videos, or listen to music on our devices without having to have them really close to our head.
The problem is that many headphones actually emit a fair bit of EMF radiation in extremely close proximity to your head.
Air tube headphones
If you’re experiencing pain in your hand or tingling in your fingers while using your cell-phone, try getting a pair of Air tube headphones to make your calls on.
The best pair on the market in my opinion, and the ones I use, are these from Defendershield.
7. Use Speaker Phone
If you don’t have a pair of Air Tube headphones to talk with, consider making most of your calls with speakerphone. This is especially practical when you are driving. Not only is it safer to operate your vehicle without holding your phone
Now, if you are holding your cellphone while on speakerphone, this doesn’t reduce radiation exposure to your hand, but it does protect your head. Ideally, you’d answer or make a call, flip on speakerphone, and then set it down, or attach it to your car mount.
For the same reasons we talked about above (reminder: distance is key) speakerphone give you a reliable way to talk on the phone without holding it against your brain.
Alright, that should be enough tips to get your started protecting yourself from cellphone radiation, for more details, and 10 other ways to reduce cellphone radiation, check out this article.
Final Thoughts Cell Phone Radiation Hand Pain
Alright, hopefully this guide has convinced you that the pain you are feeling in your hand, could possibly be attributed to the EMF radiation from your device.
No matter where the pain is coming from though, there are things that you can do to protect yourself, starting with reducing your use of the device.
Cell phones are here to stay, as they provide unparalleled levels of convenience and connectivity to everyone. So instead of trying to get rid of these devices, we need to be smarter about how and when we use them.
If you have any questions, or if I can help you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Yours in health,