Hello my name is Dan Oldenkamp.
I am a Licensed Massage Practitioner and Web designer graduating from the Ashmead School of Massage back in 2001. As a massage therapist I wanted to talk about the dangers of repetitive stress injuries and the importance of self care to everyone who works with their hands.
Most of us are probably aware that Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) occurs when a repetitive task is performed with the wrist and forearm that causes strain on the forearm muscles. This tension presses down on the median nerve in the forearm causing pain and weakening the wrist.
Ergonomics and self care are our number one tools to a pain free work environment.
When people think ergonomics many people think of special keyboards and gel pads for computer mice, but it can be much more. It is important to start with an office chair with low back support and to be mindful of your sitting habits. Hunching over a stringing table for hours at a time with low light can strain the eyes and the lower back.
I recommending a magnifying work light, to limit your beading time, and to take breaks every hour.
An important part of self care is stretching and massage. Before I work with my hands I warm them up by stretching the range of motion at the wrist and the fingers slowing in every direction while breathing out. After I have used them for several hours I massage my palms and forearms holding onto my forearm muscles and rotating my forearm. This method is called the pin and stretch where you hold the muscle down and rotate the joint causing the muscle to release tension.
Another great use of the pin and stretch is to hold onto about 2-3 inches above your wrist while moving your wrist back and force apply pressure to the muscles from the opposite directions. You will immediately feel what I am talking about.
After long hours of hand work I will run my forearms under cold water. If your hands are often stiff in the morning consider a paraffin wrap for your hands. Paraffin baths are relatively inexpensive, especially if you split the cost with a friend.
Most of the things I have mentioned here are common sense, things that we all know, but often don't take the time to do. Your body is your most importing beading tool and it is important to take care of it to stave off osteoarthritis, CTS, and other joint pain. Combined with self care can be a great way to curb stress, calm the mind, and relax the body. Let's all take care, so we can do it for many more years to come.
I came across this review about a glove called the Thermogonomic Hand aid that helps with arthritis.
Check out the blog for her review.-Dan