Wednesday, November 14, 2012

RSI or Repetitive Stress Injury

RSI.  Ever heard of it?  Maybe you've heard of carpal tunnel, which is a type of repetitive stress injury.  Well, I don't have carpal tunnel (at least I don't think I do), but I definitely have some RSI going on in my forearms and wrists.  Talk about painful...and highly annoying.

Last June, when cleaning the kitchen at the school where I work part-time, I did some way overboard scrubbing trying to get everything cleaned for summer shutdown.  The lead cook had simply stuffed pans in the storage room and left without cleaning a thing.  In fact, she hadn't really cleaned anything all year long...but that's a different story. 

Well, after four hours of scrubbing my arms were somewhat numb and dead feeling (kind of like how you feel after running a marathon) and I went home tired and exhausted to take a nap.  When I woke up my arms felt like they were on fire with pain from the elbows to the hands.  Lots of pain killers, some proDHA and some heat packs later, the inflammation went down and over about a week the pain went away and I felt better.  I didn't really think about filling out a worker's comp claim as school had closed for the summer and I was busy with everything else.  (Yes, I'm filling one out now and will try and find a competent doctor.)  With all the hassle of legal issues this summer, I didn't really do any sewing or computer work so that let my arms rest which really made a difference.

Unfortunately, after only 2 1/2 months of work (okay September was full time as I was filling in for an open position along with my shift), my arms and wrists are back to hurting--although, thankfully, not anywhere near as bad as back in June.  I've got a brace coming for my right hand (if I like it, I'll snag one for the left) and a book that, hopefully, will teach me some exercises and ways to avoid making things worse.  But, it does mean a major cut back in my extra online activities and sewing.  Which stinks big time.  Scissors...rotary cutter...not my friends right now!  Christmas is going to be hard to get ready for even with having already cut out most of my sewing projects.  (I've even got some already sewn, so that's good!)

I've got some projects already done and photographed still to share and some projects all cut out which I should be able to sew together after a bit of rest, so hopefully you'll still enjoy reading my blog.  But I would love to hear any great tips or advice you have for healing up RSI.  I really don't think the permanent use of pain pills and braces are a solution.  I'm thinking of trying some acupuncture, therapeutic exercises and such to actually heal the problem, not just mask it.  After all, I want to continue sewing and quilting and doing the things I love.  So bring on the suggestions!
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