Sunday, June 3, 2012

Work Your Fingers to the Bone, What do you Get?

Well, shirt.

I've been proud of myself lately: I've really been in the groove, making like a mad bastard, after my little self-pep-talk about production. And what do I get for it? Not bony fingers, like the old song suggests; instead I get tendonitis!

Actually I don't know that it's tendonitis, but it is wrist pain on the back side, with no attendant numbness, and happens when I've been throwing for a while. It's mild, fortunately, but frightening nevertheless: what if it got worse? What if I couldn't work?

I'm not gonna panic, here; The Vulcan in me says to rest my wrist, and research some treatments.

I have no health insurance, so professional intervention is a last resort, but Dr. Google has some suggestions for me:


Home Treatment
Home treatment options for tendonitis include:
  • Icing the wrist to reduce inflammation and increase blood flow
  • Using over the counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease the swelling and manage pain (Warning: only use pain medication at times of rest to reduce the chance of further injury)
  • Exercise to strengthen the injured area once symptoms have been reduced

From Livestrong.com:


Wrist Stretches

Gently roll your wrists clockwise for 15 seconds, then reverse direction. Go as far into the full range of motion as you can, feeling the stretch as you do so. Another stretch is to hold one hand out with the palm up and, with your other hand, gently ease your fingers backwards in the direction of your elbow, feeling the stretch through your palm and inner wrist. Release, then turn your hand over so the palm is down. Again gently pull your fingers toward your elbow, feeling the stretch over the back of your hand and top of your wrist.

Thumb Stretch

Make a thumbs-up with one hand. With the other hand, gently press the base of the thumb forward -- don't pull backward on the thumb tip. This stretch is especially helpful if you regularly type or text message on a wireless device, since repetitive motion is one cause of wrist tendonitis.

Flexion Exercises

Wrist flexion is when you pivot your wrist downward so that your palm moves closer to the inside of your arm. For flexion exercises, begin with your hand outstretched and in line with your forearm, palm down. Keeping your forearm still, lower your hand so your fingers move to point toward the ground. Go as far as your wrist and hand allow without pain, then raise your hand back to the starting position. Repeat five to 10 times.

Extension Exercises

Wrist extension is the opposite of wrist flexion -- moving your wrist so that the back of your hand approaches the top of your arm. Wrist extension exercises begin in the same position as the wrist flexion exercises. Again keeping your forearm still, raise your hand so your fingers move to point toward the ceiling. Go as far as you can without pain, then return to the starting position. Repeat five to 10 times.

Tendon Gliding Exercises

HandHealthResources.com recommends tendon gliding exercises -- not to build strength, but to improve lubrication in the tendons for greater ease of motion. To do them, start with a flat hand. Touch your fingertips to the top of your palm --- or as close as you can get --- then release. Touch your fingertips to the center of your palm, then release. Then touch your fingertips to the bottom of your palm and release. For your thumb, move it back from your palm as if you're hitch-hiking, then try to touch the base of your pinky finger. Do all of these slowly and gently, and repeat up to 10 times.

I am greatly encouraged that the livestrong article suggests that, once the episode is past, stretching can prevent recurrence. I am sort of kicking myself, because when I used to type for 7 hours a day, I stretched my wrists frequently. I already knew my calling would require daily back stretches...it seems like those were two pretty easy dots to connect. 

Oh, well. I do have lots of non-throwing work to do, so it seems like I'll be doing that today.
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