I have a baby, and Wrist Tendonitis. Can I injure myself further?
I'm a new mother and have a classic case of wrist tendonitis- both wrists, on the inside just below my thumb across my wrist bone. I've been icing when I can (remember, I have an infant) and heating at night. I've opted not to take any pain relievers as I am nursing and would prefer not to.
My question is whether or not I can injure myself further if I use my hands/wrists even though they hurt pretty terribly? Particularly in the morning, when I wake up and need to nurse my daughter- the pain is so bad, but I have to pick her up, I can't just let her lay there and cry.
Sometimes I worry that I could do some severe damage by continuing use despite the pain. Will my tendons eventually get stronger and the pain will dissipate? Or is this more of a chronic issue? Could I snap a tendon? Could I permanently lose mobility? Please help ease my mind and give me guidelines.
Congratulations with the new baby!
Sorry about the wrist pain. Let's talk. Ironically, I was just up in Seattle.
So, let's see.
Wrist tendonitis in both wrists, with definite thumb pad involvement. And of course you need to pick up and hold your child a lot. That is obviously hand intensive.
A. Good call on the anti-inflammatory drugs. They don't work anyway.
B. I wouldn't use heat. For you right now it just increases the inflammation and pain, essentially.
C. I'm guessing you're icing the traditional way, with an ice pack, and leaving it on for a while a couple times a day.
Stop that. It really just isn't the right tool for the job.
To answer your questions:
1. Technically yes, you can continue to injure yourself. But really, I wouldn't think about it like 'injury'. You're probably not doing enough to actual damage the tendons.
Having said that, it may be much more usefull to imagine that you are in a spectrum. From happy healthy pain free tissue, to the other end of the spectrum that is dry, crunchy, brittle, and very very unhappy.
I don't know that that was very clear, let me try again.
ONe end of the spectrum is pain free, lots of circulation, the nervous system is relaxed, the muscles are relaxed.
The other end of the spectrum is tight muscles, constant tension on the tendon, less circulation, pain enhancing chemical and metabolic waste product trapped in the area, the nervous system panicking and trying to protect you but actually making it worse.
I don't think you are so much injuring yourself as moving farther along the spectrum.
It can be reversed, but you have to use the RIGHT tools.
2. Unless you use the right tools, it is unlikely that your tendons will get stronger thus making the pain go away.
It's not a problem of weak tendons. It's a problem of a Downward Spiral of increasing pain and tightness.
All Tendonitis dynamic is chronic. Which means it is incredibly unlikely that it will go away on it's own. And, you can make it go away, again, with the right tools.
4. Unless you have some weird freaky genetic abnormality, a previous significant rip/tear of the tendons, lift pianos for a living, or have a 200 lb baby I can't even imagine the possibility of your tendon snapping.
5. Permanent lack of mobility, or permanent tendonitis?
If you don't do the RIGHT things to reverse your Pain Causing Dynamic, then it's likely that this will continue to hurt, and get worse. That's just the way the body works.
Right now you are in an acute phase. In a perfect world, this would just get better and go away.
However, you can expect it to continue to hurt, and get worse. Tendonitis doesn't 'heal' like we expect it to.
And again, it's not so much 'injury' as a progressive mechanism/dynamic that builds on itself and gets worse.
Even if the pain gets less, the mechanism is still in place, and it's likely that even if you rest and get 'better', if you start using your hands again it will be right back.
1. Did you have any wrist/Carpal Tunnel symptoms during pregnancy?
2. Have you had this wrist pain before?
3. What do you usually do with your hands, for work or hobby?
4. Any other injuries, or health issues?
5. Easy pregnancy, rough pregnancy?
What To Do Right Now
Answer those questions, read the pages Pain Causing Dynamic and Process of Inflammation.
Then learn How To Reduce Inflammation.
Find the Ice Dipping directions, and follow the recipe. Even with a baby you can dip often. If you are at home all day, keep the Ice Dip going all day and dip every time you walk by.
The more you dip, the faster your pain will be down to acceptable levels, or even better than that.
Start with that. Answer the above questions, start the Ice Dipping and ask any questions or share any observations about that.
It's not the total answer to Wrist Tendonitis but if you actually do it, you'll be very very happy. And then we can go from there to eliminate the Tendonitis in your wrist.
Talk to you soon.
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Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert