Thank you!! Ice for Tendonitis and Thumb Pain

by Michelle S.
(Castro Valley, CA, USA)

I went to see one of the best hand surgeons in SF who diagnosed me with deQuervain's. He was a good doctor and was frank enough to tell me that he did not recommend giving me a cortisone shot because of the location of my pain -- and I was hoping I would get a shot that day and imagined myself instantly pain-free!

Instead, he advised rest, prescribed a NSAID and a thumb spica splint to use at night and told me if things did not get better, surgery would be the next resort.

Being a piano player, I was terrified of the thought of surgery.

I stumbled upon your website as I was looking for some natural relief or cure. I read all your articles and I was skeptical at first because it all sounded too simplistic.

But then being a licensed PT, I knew very well about the benefits of ice. So I figured, ice treatment is harmless enough so why not give it a try for seven days, as you recommended.

I followed your sugestions and iced the base of my thumb all day, even while I was at work. Today's the seventh day. I must say I feel 80-90% relieved from the pain that I'd had for 2 months that remained at a 7/10 level (with 10 being the worst) and would not go away.

Thank you for this
website and for your sharing your own personal experience with tendonitis. I believe your success story was what convinced me this might work for me, too.

I hope many more tendonitis sufferers will come across your site and find relief as I did.


Joshua Answers:

Hi Michelle.

You're welcome!

Tendonitis, regardless of it's location, responds well to cold. It might not 'fix' the pain dynamic (although it might) but it absolutely reduces pain levels. Which sometimes, is good enough.

Surgery for tendonitis....ick.

Are you ice dipping, or ice massaging, or just putting ice on?

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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Comments for Thank you!! Ice for Tendonitis and Thumb Pain

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Mar 15, 2011
DeQuervain - Thank you!! Ice for Tendonitis and Thumb Pain
by: Anonymous

Thanks for responding.
In the beginning I did both ice massage and putting ice on it every one to two hours. Since the pain has gone down considerably I just put ice on it.

Now, in my second week of treatment, I only ice it in the morning after I wake up and just before I go to bed and put my splint on.

It still aches in the morning but once I start shaking my hand and moving my thumb around within a matter of seconds the pain drops to a 1/10 from a 5/10.

Hope this helps other deQuervain sufferers!


Joshua Comments:

You're welcome!

Might want to consider continuing to work it hard for a while, even though symptoms have reduced. There's a lot going on under the surface of the skin, keep it moving the right direction.

Apr 13, 2012
by: Sara K

Been looking through your website - I have tendonitis at the base of my thumb/wrist (ouch as I type!) and this comment is reassuring- I will try the ice treatment too.

Was just told to put an ice pack on the area for 20mins by a physiotherapist so this ice 'dipping' idea is new to me, but can't hurt to try it. Is it an unconventional idea if a physio isn't recommending it?


Joshua Comments:

Technically yes it is 'unconventional' since a PT isn't recommending it. PT's all recommend pretty much he same thing, and they're the mainstream. Doctors prescribe PT, etc.

'Unconventional' doesn't mean bad or less effective compared to 'conventional, by any means.

Ice packs are part of the 'standard of care'. Prescribed and recommend regardless of the situation, regardless of whether it's the best strategy or not, regardless of whether it's effective or not.

IMHO, ice packs don't get deep enough, and if you ice pack for 20 minutes you're wasting about 18 minutes of every 20.

Ice dipping and ice massage is the way to go, as far as I'm concerned.

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