Normal Functions

Question:  To all fellow Tenosynovitis sufferers: I have noticed that just about everybody seems to be affected by keyboards. My problem is different, and was caused by industry. I have to limit myself to doing anything. The day starts with “clicking” in my fingers and other joints. The more clicking > the more inflammation > the more pain> then total shutdown. The worst things to aggravate my personal condition is just doing normal general gentle varied tasks. If I try to tidy a cupboard, then moving small pieces of paper about etc. will cause total shut-down after perhaps half to one hour of gentle varied activity. Things like washing-up will cause intense burning pains in my arms, and they will then need rest. I wonder why my condition seems to be apparently different from other people’s keyboard-related problems?
On many occasions, it has seemed to “get better”, then all of a sudden it has returned, worse than ever. This recently happened, and I needed a straw to drink a cup of tea as I couldn’t hold the cup. Originally I couldn’t feed myself, and had thought those days were over, but the condition plays “peek-bo” all the time.Excessive keyboard use would hurt me as well, but I only use it occasionally, as it is easier and less painful than writing. Any comments??

Answer 1:  Yes I know what you mean. My Tenosynovitis was not caused by typing and I have only recently returned to ‘domestic duties’! Tidying  cupboards is still out of the question but I am slowly taking on more cooking and washing. However a bi no-no for me is any form of scrubbing  e.g vigorous cleaning of work-tops and cleaning windows.  For two years my husband did ALL cleaning/cooking/tidying and my house only got dusted when we expected visitors! For me recovery is painful. The obvious reaction to pain is to stop what you are doing. However I think this may hamper recover. You may need to gently push yourself but avoid tasks which cause immediate pain. However I am not a doctor, this is merely my experience!

Answer 2:  I have problems eg peeling and chopping vegetables – plus any other task which requires a combination of gripping, applying pressure and moving my hand (ie: most housework!)

Answer 3:  I think you should get tests in case this is a rheumatoid condition. I did. (Mine isn’t! — btw the hospital doctor I saw, who was very kind, confirmed my doctor’s diagnosis but said he was going to do tests “to rule out other conditions/possible causes”; I only found out later that he was a rheumatologist. But my GP really does know what he’s doing!) My problem was caused by typing. It was thought I’d recovered. As soon as I typed again–I don’t mean as soon as I touched the keyboard!–it came back. But moving small pieces of paper about is a problem for me too. And like Pam, I have problems with housework.
Some of the things that cause pain are clearly repetitive in type. So I’m not sure your condition is that different. (On bad days, I can’t hold a newspaper to read it. That is, I can, of course. But it hurts.) I can only think that — unless this is rheumatism etc. — 1) you should probably be taking anti-inflammatories even when you aren’t in pain (though I don’t like that idea) 2) you may have in the good  (better) times been able to rest/rest more. (I don’t simply mean “relax”, though when I rest, I relax anyway.)

Answer 3:  Mine just “flared up” again this week, after several weeks of seeming to get better -looking at it as objectively as possible, the only difference this week for me has been a higher load of work-related stress… not really any actual increase in computer use. I wonder if I have “thought myself” into this one ?? It’s certainly a demoralising aspect of rsi, the way in which it seems to ease off, then comes back.

Answer 4:  As you know, I have been trying to spell out on this list the power of stress. Stressors can be psychological or physical but they all involve significant hormonal and nervous system changes (especially in the autonomic nervous system). These changes are INVOLUNTARY – you don’t “think yourself” into anything – they are extraordinarily powerful, and we in the safety world have to be aware all the time that they happen (to us too!). If you are getting short-term flare ups it MIGHT help to take some exercise – a long walk type exercise not violent  exercise and not of the affected part. Does anyone find this beneficial?

Answer 5:  Pam, Kleeneze and/or Betterware sometimes have clever little gadgets for peeling and chopping vegetables, and any other task which requires a combination of gripping, applying pressure and moving your hand (for example Kleeneze’s Lid Lifter that features different size ‘gripping jaws’ and adjustable handles to cope with lids large and small and is ideal for those with weak wrists. Their brushes are also first class). Unless you have a helper who does the cleaning for you, first class equipment and powerful cleaning agents that do more work than you do, seem to be the best substitute to me. I still have a couple of their catalogues.

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