Be Pain Free This Winter
Now is the time to take care of the hand problems that hold you back. Meet the new year with open arms.
Even hand therapists get broken bones… JoAnn Keller, OTD, OTR/L, CHT NEWSLETTER
INSIDE: • EVEN HAND
A year ago, on New Year’s Day 2017, I smashed my left thumb while sledding on a big snow pile in Canada. Since I’m a hand therapist, I was pretty sure right away that it was broken, and an x-ray at a walk-in clinic confirmed it. Through the convenience of modern communication, I was able to text a picture of the x-rayto a friendlyhand surgeon, who confirmed that it didn’t need surgery…. But it would need to be in a brace for at least 6 weeks. I made my own custom thumb protector!
THERAPISTS GET BROKEN BONES… • DON’T LET HAND PAIN RUIN YOUR WINTER • HAND EXERCISE
It was difficult to wear a brace (thankfully on my left hand!) and do all of my regular tasks as a hand therapist, as well as to ride my horse and take
Photo By: Amy Enderle
care of the house! During that time, I also went on a scuba
divingvacation withmyfamily. It was hard tomanage mywetsuit, gauges, andmask withmybrace, but I was able to get enough done that I still enjoyed the diving! The experience as a patient with a hand injury gave me renewed empathyfor what our clients go through. Some key reminders: 1. WEAR THE BRACE: It was critical to protect the injured and healing bone to let it heal as well as possible. 2. MODIFYACTIVITIES CREATIVELY: Istilldidmany things“normally”, though not everything. I was able to do some tasks by doing them one-handed, or in a different way than usual. 3. SKIP THE IMPOSSIBLE: There were some things, such as deep house cleaning, that just had to wait. 4. IT TAKES A LONG TIME – although the bone was
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“healed” in 6-8 weeks, my thumb remained stiff and painful for months. Even now, a year later, I haven’t forgotten the injury, though it does continue to improve. Get the help you need – from doctors, therapists, family, and friends – tomakeyour time as a patientasbearableaspossible! And always remember – it takes 12-18months for almost any significant injury to heal.
Don’t Let Hand Pain Ruin Your Winter
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common reason people have to miss work, and one of the most common causes of worker’s compensation in the country.Whenyou fingers won’t move howyou want them to, andyour hands hurt even holding upyour coffee cup, thenyou know it is time tomake a change. Thisyear, overcomeyour hand and wrist pain bytaking action. Many people attempt to cope with old hand and wrist injuries by simply resting when the pain strikes. Unfortunately, this doesn’t do anything to prevent the pain from coming back in the future, and it isn’t always easy to take a day when your hands decide you need it. You can take control of your hand and wrist pain by working with a hand therapist to address the underlying issues that are causing carpal tunnel syndrome. Wearing braces on your hands and wrists at night and while at work can also be very supportive and may help alleviate pain. No one likes relying on pain medication to get through a day at work. This is the year to let that pain finally become a piece of your past. Talk to your hand therapist for more information about how to overcome hand and wrist pain for good.
It is time to wave good-bye forever to the hand pain that has heldyou back for so long. Ifyou feel as thoughyou cannot get a grip due to the chronic pain in your hands and wrists, then you should know thatyou are not alone. Hand pain is incredibly common, and unfortunately many people who struggle with hand pain believe that there is nothing they can do about the nuisance. Asyouapproachthenewyear, it istimetotakecontroloveryour hand pain and say goodbye once and for all to the cramping and stabbing sensations that leaveyou feeling uncomfortable so frequently. Hands Up: Recognizing the Problem Carpal tunnel syndrome is not exactly uncommon. More than three percent of the population of working Americans develop carpal tunnel—frequently as a result of the job that you are doing throughout the day. Anything that requires repetitive motions of your hands can cause carpal tunnel to develop. This includes common office-job tasks, such as typing.What’s worse, standard household tasks like doing the dishes, raking the lawn, and even cooking dinner can exacerbate the pain, which means that after a short bit of time you could find just about all of your daily tasks more difficult to handle.
SIMPLE TIPS FOR SHOVELINGSNOW
Patient Spotlights “Kind-hearted!” “My therapist informed me well in the dos and don’ts of healing, was considerate of my pain tolerance and helped me not rush the healing process. My therapist was kind- hearted and truly values her patients and puts their well- being first.” - Stefan H. Enjoy A Cup of Happiness!
Snow shoveling can lead to a number of health risks for many people, from back injuries to heart attacks. The following tips can help keep you safer when you set out to shovel: Warm up. Warm your muscles before heading out to shovel by doing some light movements, such as bending side to side or walking in place.
Push rather than lift. Pushing the snow with the shovel instead of lifting can help reduce the strain on your body. Lighten your load. Consider using a lighter-weight plastic shovel instead of a metal one to help decrease the weight being lifted. Consider multiple trips. Consider shoveling periodically throughout the storm to avoid having to move large amounts of snow at once. Keep up with snowfall. Try to shovel snow shortly after it falls, when it is lighter and fluffier. The longer snow stays on the ground, the wetter it can become. Wet snow is heavier and harder to move.
What is it about hot chocolate that makesus feel sogood?Aside from itsability toelicitnostalgicfeelings of a “warm snuggle in a cup”, it is also good for you. Chocolate, and particularly dark chocolate, contains many vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and biochemical compounds – all of which give our body a satisfying health boost. It decreases risks of heart disease,
Hand Exercise Helps With Weakness and Pain
Hold a ball of putty in the palm of your hand. Squeeze the putty. Reshape the putty into a ball. Repeat. Hand Exercise www.simpleset.net
lowers blood pressure, and increases the microcirculation in your skin (thus warming you). Chemical compounds in chocolate trigger the brain to release endorphins and serotonin which induce feelings of calmness, and reduce pain and stress. But a good cup of cocoa also has a lot of calories so enjoy in moderation. Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa • 2 oz. quality dark chocolate (or to taste) • 1 C milk • 1 tsp brown sugar • 1 T heavy whipping cream • 1 pinch cinnamon Heat milk to just before boiling. Add brown sugar and stir till dissolved. Stir in dark chocolate till melted. Stir in whipping cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.
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