Hand and Wrist Pain . Injuries and Treatment Ideas for Artists, Bloggers, and SAHMs


Art by Kevin Chen

I wrote a post several years ago about hand and wrist pain and injury treatments, I recently edited it to reflect what really worked for me, specifically, Trigger Point Therapy in my back and arms and accompanying stretches. Below is the updated article. Original post on my old blog, I have copied the information here:


I had an initial post (some of which is preserved at the end of [the original] article [on my old blog], do not use that), but after experiencing a re-injury, I started seeing a new physical therapist. I have revised the original article to reflect what really worked and see the bottom of the [original] post for what didn't. I have learned some new exercises/stretches that have been invaluable to my recovery plus other helpful tips. DIAGNOSIS: Repetitive Stress Injury, Hand and Wrist

CAUSE - PRIMARY: Blogging & Style Board Design (8+h/day)

CAUSE - SECONDARY: Drawing, Digital Painting, Carrying Baby


MY SYMPTOMS:

- shaky hands

- difficulty drawing and painting

- affected my art

- difficulty writing

- pain in my tendons and wrist

- severe pain and burning - lingering severe pain, eventually lasted for days


MY RECOVERY PLAN: - Physical Therapy, specifically Trigger Point Therapy (1-3 sessions was all it took for me! Significant improvement with just 1 session.) Turns out my back and arms were the biggest problem causing the hand and wrist pain, I had a build up of something on my nerves and muscles in many spots throughout my back and arms and it was radiating down my arms and into my hands causing the pain, so once the therapist worked out those built up spots by deep massage, I had huge relief and after even one session felt almost back to normal! I believe I did three sessions total. I have tried a few Trigger Point therapists for this and some are better than others, so know that the effectiveness of the treatment depends on the therapist and their methods. You can e-mail me if you want the information on my PT. - Stretches, as recommended by PT (1/day) 1) Bend top half of body forward, align arms and hands with head facing forward, clasp hands together both palms facing forward, pull your arms one at a time forward to stretch upper back. 2) Standing straight up, reach right arm over your head and bend to the left until you feel a stretch, repeat on other side.) 3) Generally any stretches to stretch back and arms. (I can't remember the other stretches, there may have been more.) - Two months off completely (no computer, no cell phone, no art). - Add Back 1-3 hours a day of art/computer, seeing my hands are up for it. - Take eye breaks every 20 min (use Howler Timer) - Get up and walk (or stretch if needed) every 1hr - Keep a good posture sitting straight up and body relaxed (not hunched forward or tensed shoulders) TIPS: - At the first sign of pain, seek help. - Be proactive! Don't take no for an answer. Make sure the doctor knows this is serious. - Seek natural treatment options, like physical therapy, first. - Let them know you are an artist, your hands are important to you and your career, and about the things it has been affecting. - Write down and share some goals for what you would like to see accomplished at the end of the treatment. At Schoolism Live in San Francisco, I heard from artist Carla Ortiz, who also had a few months recovery for a different kind of artist injury, she recommended taking Physical Therapy as well as getting up from your desk, take a short walk and doing the Physical Therapy stretches every hour while working. She even uses a timer on her computer to remind her when one hour has gone by. Carla's lecture was very inspiring, and the precious knowledge she shared about taking care of yourself as an artist was invaluable. Artists, take care of your body, you will thank yourself later!

(Letter to the Editor from IFX149 published 2017 contains a shortened version of this post.)

NOTE: I am not a doctor, this post is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any illness. This is just my personal experience. Always consult a professional doctor before beginning any new routine or treatment.

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