Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Contrast Hydrotherapy and You!
Since I know I'm not the only knitter out there who's poor little wristies get all pooped out, I wanted to share a technique I've had a little bit of success with. I'm certainly not back up to my prior knitting capacity, but I'm doing a far sight better with hydrotherapy than with all the braces and stretching and resting alone. (Jury's still out on the arnica cream... I don't use it regularly enough or in controlled enough conditions to know if it's helping at all.)
Recently I got a professional massage, a sort of make-up massage for the one I was too land-sick and sunburned to get when I was in Hawaii last year. I made sure to find a guy who claimed to know a thing or two about carpal tunnel. While the massage was pleasant, the effects weren't terribly long lasting... you'd need long, daily hours with a jackhammer to make any real impression on my back. But he recommended this technique:
Get two buckets, deep enough to accommodate your arms up past your elbows. I couldn't find buckets at Fred Meyer, so I ended up with trash cans. Just as good.
Fill one with ice and cold water. The masseur said "a full bag of ice" from the grocery store, but no way am I paying for ice, so I've been keeping a plastic bowl full of water in the freezer. It does an ok job.
Fill the other with very hot water, just barely tolerable (make sure to test for tolerabilty before you start dunking your hands.)
Starting with hot water, submerge your arms up past the elbow, and wait somewhere between 1-3 minutes (time recommendations seem to vary wildly.) Then plunge them into the cold bucket for 30sec-1min-ish. I usually do a cheater's 3 minutes (I count to 180, but too fast) and an honest 30 or 40 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Or so. Like I said, every source of information about this technique says different things, so I'm sort of making up the times as I go. Same with frequency...aiming for every other day, but it's sort of messy and I'm lazy. My arms tend to feel sore afterwards, but better overall.
You have to be careful- there are some conditions/medications/etc that mean you shouldn't do this (my blood pressure's a little low so it does make me a tad woozy to have all my precious blood in my arms, but as long as I stand up slowly and go rest until my arms stop being all red and tingly, it's fine.) Do some research before you start, I don't want to be responsible for anyone keeling over. But overall, it's a very cheap and safe and seemingly effective therapy and definitely worth trying if you're in my boat and trying to avoid (or avoid paying for) things like cortisone and surgery.
Recently Discovered Tip 2: Heartburn that Tums doesn't fix? Vinegar. Seriously. I have no idea why, but it works sometimes. Most sources say a spoonful of apple cider vinegar, but that's gross. Just put some balsamic on bread.
RDT 3: Turn your head sideways while typing... it makes the sudden appearance of letters way cooler than usual. Ok, that one's probably just me. But the other two tips are probably legit.
Labels: damn wrists