Tendonitis/pain in hand

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    Unhappy Tendonitis/pain in hand

    I've had a really hard year - worked a lot, painted a lot (way too much). Which have resulted in pains in the tendons of my right hand. I don't think it's tendonitis yet, but I think it'll happen soon if I'm not careful.

    Short said, it hurts when I try to draw or when I'm doing similar actions/positions with my hand (like playing ps3 or washing dishes). I have tried to avoid doing things that can cause pain, but so far it's still hurting.

    I'm just wondering if there's anyone out there who has had similar experiences, and have any advices to give? I am working part time as an illustrator and after vacation i'll continue on my BA in illustration. There'll be little time to rest my hand, and I'm pretty darn worried for it now!

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    I've had times where my tendons in my hand get sore, when that happens I use a brace on the hand for a week or so. It was recommended by my doctor and he says rest as much as possible. SO in the case of the video games you may want to lay off for a little bit and if possible before the BA starts again try to take a week or so before doing any art.

    It sucks, but it helped me in the past. And this is something you definitely don't want to ignore.

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    You are right to worry. If you get tendonitis it takes forever to get rid of (like a year or so - be warned!). I agree with Ardescoere: Get as much rest as possible - and take a break with the PS3 :-)

    You can also try to minimize the number of "grabbing events" as much as possible during the day. For instance: Use both wrists to move a pot instead of grabbing the handle with one hand.
    You grab stuff a million times a day, so if you start to notice all these events and try to think of ways to do them differently, this will help too.

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    try a differnt grip on your pen/brush. Usually people hold it normally like a pen angled perpendicular to the forearm, but if you flip it and hold it lengthwise along the line of your arm, you will engage your arm more when drawing/painting, and put less strain on your wrist.

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  7. #5
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    Sandra if you can draw with one hand, then you can draw with the other hand. You'll just need to keep your eraser handy.

    Yeah everybody draw from your shoulder or elbow. Never draw from the wrist or fingers. I've had to rearrange the way I draw for this reason. It is much more difficult, but it can be learned. Luckily I was warned and lectured before I blew out my wrist.

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    I've never suffered tendonitis, but I do have carpal-tunnel syndrome (was doomed from day one, whole family's got it) and I've tried quite a few different things to cope with it--braces, wrist wraps, etc, all of which helped only marginally. The thing I found that helps the most is actually hematite, so I've got a couple hematite bracelets I keep on hand for when I'm working. It sounds like New Age magic hokum honestly, and I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't tried it and worked, though I can't explain what, exactly, about it works. Not sure if it would have any effect on tendonitis, though supposedly it's good for blood/circulation/joints so it may be worth a try. But also, yeah, take it easy on your work hand as much as possible (video games have been a bane of mine as well, they eat my hand faster than the uber-detailed ink stuff I do....)

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    Not trying to sound like a witch doctor, but green tea helped me with hand pains. I noticed a big difference after one week of consuming sencha ~0.5 litres a day.

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    I can't recommend these highly enough:



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    Having any sort of concerning pain, the first thing everyone should do is see a doctor.

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    Deal with it now, injuries that you shrug off in youth will return to plague you when you get older unless you deal with the cause of the problem (whether it's posture or recurring bad habits)
    Follow your Doctors advice and when healed work on strengthening and stretching exercises to keep it in tip top condition.

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    Thanks guys, I really appriciate it!

    I have allready seen a doctor, who subscribed me some pills (diclofenac - anti-inflammatory) and told there was nothing else to do than to rest... I asked him if there was anything at all he could do, like giving me a cortisone injection or suggest some exercises I could do, but he just shaked his head. But my whole career is at stake here, so I feel I gotta try something.

    Ardescoere: Do you have any example of the bracelet you used? I allready tried one type, but since I do not have any pains in the wrist, it didn't quite work for me.

    Jiangzu: I've actually been thinking about carpal tunnel syndrome, since the symptoms I have seem similar. I don't have any CTS in my family as I know of, but the areas of pain are the same - thumb, upper hand, lower index- and middle finger. Sometimes it also hurts all the way up my arm to my shoulder. So I'll definitely try out the hematite!

    jcpahl: I actually watched that video yesterday!

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  18. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taneli View Post
    Not trying to sound like a witch doctor, but green tea helped me with hand pains. I noticed a big difference after one week of consuming sencha ~0.5 litres a day.
    Well people should be eating a low-inflammation diet in general, even when not suffering from a localized acute inflammatory problem like tendonitis.

    Once I stopped eating sugar, wheat/gluten, vegetable oils and most processed foods all my aches and pains went away including occasional finger joint stiffness. The so-called "paleo" type diet is a great way to minimize chronic inflammatry processes which are the underlying root cause of everything from cancer to heart disease to arthritis. Not to get all preachy, but refined sugar and flours are pure poison to the body. There is a direct correlation between a diet filled with pizza, bagels, sugary snacks, chips, pasta etc and severity of symptoms. Not saying that diet alone will eliminate all inflammation, but a bad diet definitely makes it worse. In severe cases of poor diet combined with bad genetics you get auto-immune problems like celiac disease and Rheumtaoid arthritis due to gut permeability issues.

    The various teas, fish oils, baby aspirin etc are the icing on the cake though, and eliminating the problematic foods in the first place makes a big difference.

    Last edited by DamnDirtyApe; July 14th, 2010 at 06:19 PM.
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  20. #13
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    DamnDirtyApe: That's a really good point. I didn't think of it at all. Thanks!

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    Sandra, what may help also is a light hand exerciser, those little tools you squeeze for muscle exercise.

    In my case, my hand was crushed 3 years ago, and recently through anti-inflammatory and exercise I warded off the pain that could have become worse (though still present).

    Also, I don't know if this might help, but make sure you aren't deficient in Vitamin A, E and calcium. Many people are unaware that they are.

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    Hi Sandra

    All good advice glad you saw your doctor, they are good at diagnosing diseases but in my experience when it comes to muscle and tendon pain they just seem to give painkillers and tell you to rest (which is good advice btw!)

    I had RSI for about 2 years and I couldn't really rest because I worked on a reception on my own having to receive and deliver parcels etc. I fortunately worked at a Steiner College so they were very therapuetically minded and I was given Arnica cream (I've been peddling this stuff about ever since ) which worked alongside Iboprufen to ease the pain and inflammation, I love the stuff.

    Then I invested in a couple of very gentle massages from a physiotherapist and she basically said the best way to prevent future injury is to practice good posture (pilates did the trick for me) and build up your muscles around the tendons so they are supported. So then I joined a gym and started swimming every week and did gentle weight training starting at 1/2kg and worked up to 2kg weights over a year and it did the world of good. I hardly ever get any pain now, I did change my habits too like not over exerting myself or assessing whether something was too heavy to carry and not chancing it like I did before.

    hope my experience helps, good luck x

    Last edited by Angel Intheuk; July 20th, 2010 at 06:18 AM.
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    just chiming in here as someone who has had to deal with borderline crippling tendonitis over the last year and is still battling it

    things to do
    SEE A DOCTOR!
    an orthopedic specialist for this sort of thing
    do what they tell you
    get the wrist braces
    dont draw
    dont play games
    and give it a good 2 weeks to a month if you can abstain for that long
    i spent 3 months literally not doing anything on disability because of it
    and seriously
    lay off the games!
    im pretty sure my injury was just as much street fighter 4 as it was drawing
    you will probably be prescribed some physical therapy
    do it religiously!
    its the only reason i can draw at all right now let alone do anything
    if you catch it early enough you wont be struggling with it for too long but you have to take this seriously

    oh and believe it or not carpal tunnel CAN in fact be reversed
    its difficult and requires a lot of therapy but my mild carpal tunnel is gone (and surprisingly long before the tendonitis)
    im still looking for solutions but as far as i can tell a year into this, unless i decide i want to ruin my hands with surgery or start trying out nitroglycerine patches, its physical therapy for me with rest, ice, heat, and vitamins/over the counter anti inflammatories.

    i hope this helps someone but if anyone finds a miracle cure let me know
    i would glady do all sorts of degrading things to get rid of this pain

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    oh by the way sandra
    you dont want the cortizone injections trust me
    it was horribly painful and didnt really do anything for me except make me unable to use my hands at all for 3 days

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    Try getting to some level of ambidexterity. You might never be able to draw and write real properly with your other hand but there are tons of every day movements and actions that you would normally do with your right but actually with a little practice you can do them just as well with your other. You know, lifting stuff, opening the fridge, holding your TV controller etc. The hardest part is trying to get your right hand not to do these things automatically really. Also get some rest and lay off the playstation for a while.

    Last edited by nofu; July 19th, 2010 at 04:15 PM.
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    I had really bad wrist pain a few years ago from working as a 3d artist. I think it's likely that stress played a large part in my problem. I ended up quitting my job, and basically taking a couple of years off. I switched to using the mouse with my left hand, read up on tendonitis, started paying attention to ergonomics, took regular breaks, did some careful exercise, and ended up shifting my career slightly away from 3d and towards concept art. It's a difficult thing to go through, but I'm definitely feeling much better now, basically back to normal.
    Basically don't ignore it, address the problem, don't work through the pain, avoid stress, and look after yourself, and you should get back to normal eventually. Good luck with it!

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    To add to this, also make sure you're getting good blood flow to the hand. Years of computer use and drawing, and my posture sucked. A lot of important areas around my shoulder, underarm, tricep, pec, and scaleens were not moving, and my thorasic outlet wasn't fully opened up. I believe this set the foundation for further problems once I started weights, drawing more, using the computer more.

    I recommend, along with what everyone else has said, to try dancing. Yes, dancing. Some form of cardio like swimming is also good, whatever you can do to get yoru blood pumping!

    If your hands/arms/fingers are chronically colder than the rest of you, that might be a sign of poor circulation due to inflammation, bad posture, and underuse. Move your body! Every day! Take breaks!

    I've gotten better circulation by making sure my pec minor is moving, and isn't restricting the major artery that's passing into the shoulders and arms. Also stretching your scaleen muscles helps open up this same "thorasic outlet".

    Stretching scaleens.


    Thorasic outlet massages



    These little Powerballs are also good non-impact devices that you can use to slowly build up your arm strength, or to just gain strength period.
    http://www.powerballs.com/

    Hope this helps!

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    Thanks so much for everything guys!

    I haven't played the ps3 at all since I made this thread, and I'm doing my best to avoid activities that can make my hand hurt. Not sure it's getting any better.... The main problem is that I still gotta use my pc. Typing and using the mouse is just the worst thing for my hand. Every morning my hand is without pain, but as soon as I touch the surface of the mouse it start to hurt again! I guess I just gotta learn to use my left hand for this stuff...

    Angel Intheuk: How long did it take from when you started treating your RSI untill you got better?

    (Oh, and just a warning in case someone is thinking about doing the same as I did; The combination of self heating gel + inflammation in hand + anti-inflammatory pills might turn out bad! I tried that a couple of days ago and my hand literally felt like it was on fire. I had to sleep all night long with bags filled with cold water on top of my hand,
    haha )

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