Thursday, April 24, 2008

And Now, To The OTHER Extrem(ities)

I thought it was bad news when my forearms started getting sore after too much knitting and/or keyboarding.

'Oh no', I thought to myself-- 'I'll have to knit and blog less! How sad is that?!'

And so I started knitting and blogging less. Reluctantly. This goes without saying.

After cutting back a bit on my hobbies, it seemed like a good time to try some strengthening exercises for my arms and wrists-- you know, to get things all nice and strong so that my pain threshold would be much higher the next time I felt like knitting an afghan or two. I went back to the place I used to work for some physio and was told to do some reps using cans of beans as a weight.

One mighty pound of weight. 'Ha!', I laughed. 'What sort of wimp needs to start off with one pound weights?'

Needless to say, given my cocky attitude, after a week of the strengthening exercises, my forearms were such a mess. It hurt to lift that stupid one pound can of beans. At my next physio appointment, I was demoted to a can of tomato paste for my exercises. A half pound of resistance. I burned with shame.

I thought it was really bad news to get kicked back to a half pound of weight for strengthening exercises. I felt wholly below average in the forearm strength department, and plus-- the exercises were getting in the way of me knitting and blogging. I started to find that my arms would hurt after only 10 or so minutes of knitting or typing. No good. At all.

Things got even worse when the half pound of weight proved too much for my VERY IRRITATED tendons. I was shocked at my own weakness and felt a very pronounced dislike for that can of tomato paste. How could something so small and benign induce so much pain?

I was given night splints at my next physio appointment. I was told to stop doing my strengthening exercises altogether and to also stop things like knitting and... well... typing. BUT FOR THE SAKE OF THIS POST, let's pretend that I was only told to stop knitting. Which I did. Reluctantly so. I also started wearing my chic 1980s Madonna/early '90s rollerblading fashion splints to bed. (They're black with an 'athletic' mesh on the back. Very hot, I can assure you, in an early 90s kind of way.)

The funny thing was, after a week of wearing my splints to bed, my forearms felt WORSE, not better. I was then put into full-time splinting, save for showers and hand washing. That was last Monday.

At my appointment today, after a week and a half of breaking in my splints like a new pair of shoes, we determined that my forearms are, in fact, not any better at all. What does this mean, exactly? Well, it means that I've probably got a little bit more than bilateral tendonitis going on.

We've already eliminated pretty much everything that could have been aggravating my arms (save for typing. That's my job, even if I'm doing it a lot slower lately in these giant-- but sexy-- splints). So we've determined that I most likely have some scar tissue on my nerves and/or some nerve damage proper.


No knitting. As little typing as I can get away with (so brace yourself for a possible drought in the blogosphere). I can't even chop vegetables or do a SuDoku puzzle at lunch! (I love SuDoku.)

This blows.

The only upside to this (aside from being able to singlehandedly bring back some early '90s fashion... now where did I stash my fluorescents and ripped denim??) is knowing that this HOPEFULLY should not be permanent. After my nerves and tendons have calmed down a bit (OK, a lot), I should be able to do those pesky exercises and to work my strength up to the point where I'm able to do the things I enjoy in moderation. Plus, if the splinting, massage, ultrasound, arnica treatments, and/or anti-inflammatories don't work, I do happen to know from past experience what really helps with the tendonitis:

A 3 month holiday in Europe. Doctor's orders.


granolagirl said...

Having been through the exact same experiences with my painful knees that no one could diagnose and lots of expensive physio couldn't fix... I sympathize completely.

I hope you get to knit again (I would cry if I was told to give up knitting).

Have you tried acupuncture? Its the one thing that worked for my pain and swelling.

suzen said...

guh. i had the exact same thing with my left arm for years. at its worst, i had a constant throbbing pain for over three months straight. it's no fun, that's for sure.

i think what saves me now is that i don't type as much as i used to and knitting doesn't aggravate my arms as much as typing ever did. however, i have a sexy flesh-toned splint i wear when i have to force my left hand to rest. splints are hot.

i hope you feel better soon! maybe this forced break means lots of reading time? xo

Wednesday L said...

I've seen Suzen's arm things. They're hott indeed. She wore them on the first day of school, and everyone thought she was the coolest kid around.

Maybe the physio people gave you the black mesh ones because they knew intrinsically somehow that you'd listened to Madonna You Can Dance Remix on repeat as a youngster... If you are fierce like SheRa on the inside, you better look the part on the outside, yo!

But that sucks about the pain. Do you ever try just holding your hand above the pain for awhile when it gets going? I think I've avoided ye olde carpal T at least 5 times by doing that.

Anyhow, you must be sick of everyone's witch remedies...

I love you, and hope you feel better soon!


Tangerine Dreams said...

Nooooooooo!!!!! What a drag. I'll miss your funniness. Maybe type with a pencil between your teeth? Craig has the same issue which sucks because I'm always like, "Marty knits you know" and then he raises is stumps and says "I want to be like Marty but I can't with these". But, rest does help me and he was seeing this gorgeous chiropractor in Calgary that helped him but too bad we couldn't bring her out here with us :( She squished his forearms a particular way. I didn't ask too many questions.