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I wanna play . . .

Posted by bj on Wednesday, January 6, 2010

So day before yesterday I was doing something stupid. I can't remember what it was, maybe reaching for a towel hanging on the back of the bathroom door or something dumb. And my left elbow just . . . locked. Didn't hurt or anything, I just couldn't MOVE it. It was stuck. I had to physically manipulate things with my right hand to get it to release. And THAT hurt. But then it seemed fine. Took my shower, got dressed, and then got to work. Only to find that my ulnar tunnel was on fire every time I tried to type or use the mouse, from around mid forearm right through the outside of my wrist and into my pinkie (yes, I mouse leftie.)

So of course the first thing that jumps into this FIDDLE ADDICTED BRAIN is Ohmigod! Can I still fiddle?

Notice that I didn't worry about all the work I have to do on my 'puter to pay bills this month. Notice I didn't worry about whether I could answer a client email, or do any one of the other tasks necessary for income producing. Oh no. Not me. All I worry about is Can I Still Fiddle?

Well, yeah, I can. For about five, maybe ten minutes at a time.

I have been doing ulnar stretches, and I've been using my right hand for mousing (though graphics work won't work that way for me, I'm used to doing it all lefty, even if I am rightie.) And I've been staying off the keyboard for the most part. I sit near the radiator, and I've kept a damp towel on top of it to rest my forearm/wrist/hand on for moist heat. That's all helped. Aspirin and turmeric have helped as well. And I'm bracing the elbow so that it can't bend much while I'm asleep.

Trying to figure out why it happened in the first place is beyond me. I know I've got damage in the hand and wrist from an old, old injury, and it's why pinkie stuff is very challenging for me, though I've gotten further with it than I ever expected possible. But I've never had that elbow seizing thing happen before. It was, quite literally, a bolt outta the blue.

So, meanwhile, I've been taking it very easy. Only working on the computer for a half hour at a time, with a ten minute break, not using my left hand much. And I completely changed my work posture so my elbow is much closer to straight than bent. And a much shorter work day. And only a few very short fiddle breaks. The minute I feel the least little twinge of numbness or pain, back on the couch it goes.

I've had ulnar issues before, but this is on a different level. Not good.

15 comments on “I wanna play . . .”

mudbug Says:
Thursday, January 7, 2010 @1:18:28 AM

Sounds like a little R&R is in order. Hope you get well soon.

brya31 Says:
Thursday, January 7, 2010 @2:54:06 AM

Well that sucks. I assume you are getting the snow that we are getting which makes for ample time to play the fiddle. When will technology allow us to upgrade a limb here and there and not cost an arm and a leg. <---I didnt even mean for that to sound funny, LOL

Arkansas Traveler Says:
Thursday, January 7, 2010 @3:54:12 AM

Take care of yourself... and put your feet up...
And get well soon...
'appy fiddlin'

FiddleCat Says:
Thursday, January 7, 2010 @3:57:23 AM

LOL brya. That could be a great slogan for some advertising company.

I'm not having problems with my elbow locking but it does get quite painful at night when I'm trying to sleep so I feel for ya. Between that the back of my hands ache and under the padding the of my thumb gets very cramped, not to mention my wrists from carpel tunnel and now my knees and shoulders decided to join in the fun. And I need to add in RLS. I'm thinking it's a winter thing. I sure don't feel this in the summer. Actually what seems to help me is a long hot bath and a glass of water with 1 tbs. apple cider vinegar. Not a cure all...but does seem to help.

bj Says:
Thursday, January 7, 2010 @6:21:12 AM

Rob, I work at home. Snow doesn't give me days off. And luckily we're not getting hammered like you are, though we're supposed to get a snow shower tonight.

Dee, if you do the apple cider thing (did you get that from me?) make sure it's organic from the health food store, and shake it up well. That stuff they sell in the supermarket has too much crap in it.

Thanks everybody! Things do feel better this morning, though I'm still going to take it easy for a few days.

bj Says:
Thursday, January 7, 2010 @8:42:41 AM

Well, it seems I can mouse left handed relatively pain free in my hand today. The pain has moved up into my upper arm! At least I can fiddle . . .

FiddleCat Says:
Thursday, January 7, 2010 @9:43:44 AM

No I knew about the health benifits from Apple Cider Vinegar since one of my chickens were sick a few years back. Someone had mentioned about giving that to her and it help. Then one thing led to another and I did some research and wa-la. Anytime I'm feeling blah or run down I'll drink about a glass a day for a week. Helps alot And yes I got the good kind.

Catgut.Laboratories Says:
Thursday, January 7, 2010 @12:39:53 PM

Take fish oil !!! stuff is amazing for reducing inflamation. that, and no animal fats, especially red meat until your healed.

bj Says:
Thursday, January 7, 2010 @1:48:29 PM

Oh, I forgot about that fish oil thing, and I've got some in the cupboard. Thanks! FYI, I also chew fennel seeds when I take that stuff. Fennel seeds are a natural body/breath deodorizer. Good for you AND lets you eat as much garlic as ya want. :-)

Ozarkian DL Says:
Thursday, January 7, 2010 @7:01:35 PM

GWS...BJ, get well soon.

ChickenMan Says:
Friday, January 8, 2010 @9:26:07 AM

BJ, sometimes my mouse hand/arm experiences pain, often when I'm not sitting quite close enough and have to extend my arm a little AND rest my hand on the mouse pad. Happens when I play games. I know you make your living with the computer - is that a variable you are looking at?

bj Says:
Friday, January 8, 2010 @9:51:34 AM

That was the first thing I looked at, to see if things had shifted.

Oddly enough, night before last I slept with that knee brace just tight enough around my elbow that it kept me from sleeping with it bent, and yesterday things were better. So last night I didn't bother, and today, though not as bad as a couple days ago, things are not as good as they were yesterday.

So it may be a combination of reasons. And it's just going to take time. I've been doing everything that might affect it, including computer work and fiddling, in really short spurts, with a lot of rest in between. And I'm going to continue that for the next week, along with all the stretches and sleeping with my elbow braced.

Things are better. I can feel, though, that they're still not quite right.

Tennessee Tom Says:
Friday, January 8, 2010 @4:55:54 PM

Hi BJ,

Sorry to hear of the ailments. Not sure how a nerve could cause your arm to lock-up, but I'm not an orthopedist.

I've had problems with my left elbow for years. I think it's a "golfer's" elbow issue, but I do not play golf. I think it's just an old sports injury. I've found that fiddling tends to exasperate it a bit, but using a shoulder rest definitely helps. I think the real trouble is with weight-training, though. Musta done some damage a while back.

In any case, it sounds like a rest is in order. Maybe you should take a little break (yeah, I know). You might find that when you come back that maybe your arm is better, and also your playing might improve. Sometimes it helps to walk away from things, and you get new ideas when you return.


fiddlepogo Says:
Friday, January 8, 2010 @7:39:12 PM

Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery!!!

Sounds like your doing lots of good stuff for it- it all works together.
Another angle:
200 mg of Vitamin B6 a day (in a B multi) helped a LOT when I had carpal tunnel originally.
Vitamin B6 helps build the myelin sheaths that protect yer nerves.
I think the principle would be the same here.

Another thought out of the blue:

Could scar tissue be an issue?
(unintentional rhyme, but I'll take it!!! ;^D)
If there's some kind of treatment to shrink scar tissue now,
and I think there is, maybe it could open up a passageway for the pinched nerve
a little wider.

bj Says:
Friday, January 8, 2010 @7:57:21 PM

Thanks, Tom and Michael.

Tom, the pain and nerve issues came into being after the elbow seized. If you look at pics of where the ulnar nerve bundle runs, that isn't at all surprising. And I'm prone to ulnar problems since I have connective tissue damage that causes it, and I do computer work, which can add insult to injury.

Michael, I did up my B6, but you have to be careful with that. B6 does accumulate and can eventually become toxic.

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