potter, new mom, history of tendonitis

by Rachel
(St. Louis, MO)

I am a 31 year old part time art teacher, part time stay at home mom. My baby is 11 months old. I have also been throwing pottery 3 years. Wedging clay and the pressure of centering clay on the wheel does cause a lot of strain on my wrists. I have not done any pottery for 5 months (school started and busy with baby)

**This new wrist issue started 2 months after stopping pottery, therefore I think it is more baby related than pottery.

I did have tendonitis in my left thumb area 2 1/2 years ago. I wore a splint and took a break from pottery and it went away. That time it was any movement of my thumb that hurt. Picking up kids, washing hair, grasping anything, sent shooting pain through my thumb area.

Now I have a problem with both hands but much more so in my right. It started with numbness at night in my fingers. Then it was pain and numbness at night. Now I wake up hourly and end up sitting up in a chair to get rest. It is extreme tingling and numbness in my thumb and three large fingers, and shooting pain through my fingers, wrist, and forearm (sometimes to my elbow).

I used to be able to get up and walking around or moving it made the pain go away. Now it just slightly lessens when I get up. Also it is really affecting my right hand during the day. It is constantly lightly numb in the thumb and three fingers and my grasp is weak. My arm goes all numb when putting on make-up or brushing my hair.

I've been wearing splints for 2 weeks at night.

I went to the dr and was diagonsed with wrist tendonitis. I still wonder if it is carpal tunnel.

What do you think?


Joshua Answers:

Hi Rachel.

I think that you have nutrient deficiency from being pregnant (and just living life) and that you have some wrist/thumb tendonitis, and that you have impingement happening up at the front of neck/shoulder/chest (arm goes numb when brushing hair).

I think you're at the far end of the spectrum of the Pain Causing Dynamic and the Tendonitis dynamic.

Your tendonitis didn't go away 2 years ago, just your pain went away.

Some questions:

1. When things go numb at night, is it when are on your back, your side, face down, all of the above?

2. Do you think the numbness and pain come together, or are they 'separate', if that makes sense.

3. How was your pregnancy? Did you have any symptoms during?

4. Describe the numbness in fingers. How often, how long, how bad, etc.

5. Any pain/numbness in the forearm/arms?

6. I assume you pick up the baby, how's that? Better/worse than brushing your hair?

7. Overall health?

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.
And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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