When I first started my therapy consulting business, I typed all my reports by hand. This put quite a lot of strain on my hands and in fact led to tendinitis in my wrist. I felt excruciating pain at the base of my thumb and all the way up across my forearm to my elbow. My doctor told me to stop working on the computer and to give it a rest. He also said that I might need surgery to heal it properly. No way was I going under the knife. And no way could I stop typing for very long; after all this was my livelihood at stake.
Not only did my pain interfere with my work, it also caused me to stop lifting weights and stop doing yoga poses that required me to bear weight on my hands. I just couldn’t accept all this disruption in my work and exercise life so I set out to do something about it–without surgery!
First, I actually did ease up on the typing and exercising to rest my hand (this also helped my back, but that’s another story). As any good therapist would do when the pain started, I applied ice to my wrist for about 5-10 min. twice daily. A neat little trick is to take a piece of ice and rub it strongly into the painful area; I learned this tip from a fellow therapist friend. It really gets the ice down into the tissues much more effectively than simply using an ice pack. I also took an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the pain and swelling.
Second, I did a little research and came up with some hand and wrist exercises to gently stretch the painful areas. This eased my pain somewhat and further started me on the path to recovery.
I found a simple and flexible resting splint that I could use at night and I was also able to wear it when I typed. This enabled me to work.
The next area to tackle was my exercise program. At first I could not bear any weight on my wrist without a great deal of pain. I adapted yoga poses where I could and this helped. I then located some padded protective workout gloves which I still use not only for yoga poses like Down Dog, but also for holding hand weights during weight training. These strategies helped me to get back to exercising without pain and without doing more harm to my wrists.
With these simple strategies, my hands have steadily healed, enabling me to resume my work and exercise activities–all without surgery.