Thursday, June 16, 2011

Listen to Your Body

I've been out of commission. On Saturday, I was working some 14g wire and I ignored the little twinges of pain. By Sunday morning, I was regretting that oversight.

About 5 years ago, I had a nerve induction study done (I forget what it's called) and found that I have moderate carpel tunnel syndrome in both wrists. It was part of a larger group of tests I was having done that didn't relate to CTS, but I wasn't a bit surprised.

The first time it bothered me was when I was pregnant, many moons ago. It dissipated after my daughter was born and I didn't think of it again for years.

I took a part time, seasonable job about 20 years ago. Within days of using a pallet jack, I had full blown, painful symptoms. I saw a doc for it, who knew right away what it was. After talking about it to some people at work, I learned it was common to many people, mostly with the women I spoke with, though. It seemed it was really popular to get the surgery for it. Well, I'm not fond of surgery, especially the thought of having a mistake made on my hands, so I looked into other things.

The doc recommended exercises which really helped. But, what helped the most was a wrist brace that he gave me to wear at night. Whenever the CTS bothers me, I sleep with the brace for several nights and the symptoms begin to dissipate. I was told that the body is real good at healing itself given the chance and that the brace allowed that to happen while I was sleeping. It really works for me and I still have and use that same brace when needed.

I've have never had to use the brace while working. I try to be careful and listen to my body. I am usually pretty good about it- except for when I work with large gauge wire. For some reason, maybe because I get creative tunnel vision, I seldom pay attention to the rare times when wire work bothers me.

When I am working, I take breaks to flex my hands and I usually stop if my hands get sore. But, on rare occasions when I'm in the zone and ignoring it, I pay the price, as I did Saturday.  I didn't touch any wire till Wednesday and I wear the brace at night. I'm on the mend now.

I know for some people, CTS is much worse and can be devastating. I count myself lucky that I only have moderate nerve damage, which is still considerable, yet, manageable.

I had intended for this blog post to be very informative, but I'm not a doctor and if you have CTS then there isn't much I can tell you that you can't find online already. So, maybe this is just an excuse for my being absent. :)

On the plus side, I went hiking on Monday and didn't think about wire. On Tuesday, I also evaded wire and the temptation and spent the day with my grandson and his school graduation ceremony. By yesterday, I managed a few easy pieces. Wonder what I'll get done today? Whatever it is, it won't be involving 14g wire!

The following examples are what I was able to accomplish yesterday. They were pretty easy on the hands. 


  1. What a coincidence - I also just rediscovered the black rubber tube, bracelets are the idea.

    I love the earrings, in particular the first pair. It is so... bauhaus baroque. ;-)

    More coincidence, just two days ago I came to the conclusion that wireworking with higher gauges than 0,6mm or maybe 0,8mm is not for me, because of pain in my hands. I will have to do whatever I want to with the thinner wire. Will be an interesting challenge, though.

    Get well soon, Tela! Be careful with those most precious tools, your hands.

  2. The material looks like tubing but it really resembles leather more. It is solid extruded pvc. I like to use it instead of leather because it wears better and longer, the color doesn't come off, it doesn't stretch out from wearing it and I can poke holes in it. :) I'm going to make a few more today and take it easy on the hands because you are right, they are my most precious tools.

  3. Hey Tea, I have missed you. Please listen to your body and especially your hands. Be gentle with your self.

    Cool earrings!

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