Tilt, Swivel, and Pop: Wrist Malady Gone Serial

New Mom Syndrome.

It took three doctor appointments to reach the above terminology and apparent expertise of my condition. Very unusual to wake up in the morning and move my hand only to have things under the skin slide, cross-over and pop. The occasional shooting and crippling pain came later and was the reason why I pursued further doctor visits.

If you are not fortunate enough to visit the occupational therapist whom I had visited, I wanted to offer a few tips beyond what your primary care physician might say.

Your PCP might say:

  • If referred to a specialist, bring along your child so they can see how you lift him/her.

If you can leave your little one at home, do so, because the specialists know what they’re dealing with. Based on mine, they have seen it before, a stand-out style of tendonitis.

  • Apply ice packs 4 times a day for 20 minutes each.

If you are not a stay-at-home mom, this might be doable, but I preferred the specialists offer. She advised a cold-ice massage that takes about a minute per wrist, and I’ll review the method in further detail below.

  • Use a general thumb spike brace until then.

Yeah, it might help for a day or two but if the material is not rigid like a custom brace, eventually you’ll fight against it and cause more strain to the area. There were technical terms the specialist tossed my way but I don’t want to misuse them.

The main things I wanted to leave you knowing is this is a common condition of new mothers and I had not read of it before though I subscribe to e-mail newsletters with weekly updates on advice for child-rearing. As you can see from my GoodReads account, I am a reading fiend and often times will read advice books though I never came across wrist pain connected to caring for my child.

My specialist told me there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. However, I have read online at Mommy Thumb:

If you’re feeling some discomfort, perhaps the single most important thing you can do to prevent further irritation of the wrist tendons is to modify how you lift your baby, says Dr. Carlson. “Instead of picking your baby up under the arms, try to scoop him up by lifting under his bottom,” she advises. “Keep the palm of your hand up.” This redistributes pressure that can aggravate the tendons when you lift with your hands in an “L” shape (with your fingers on baby’s back and your thumbs on his chest), a position that puts most of the strain on your thumb and wrist.

Finally, I hope it never reaches the extent for you as it has for me. Perhaps, the ice-cold massage will help keep yours at bay.

Cold-Ice Massage: In their office, they froze water in paper cups and tore off to reveal the ice so they could have better grip with their fingertips. I have not had much issue with bare ice cubes though they do slip from my grasp occasionally. Four stages during application: Freezing, Burning, Aching, and Numbing. (Aching for me apparently involved shooting needle pricks along nerve cells but abates after doing this process four times a day.) Place a towel underneath your arm and relax it on a firm surface. Start ice on skin beyond the area of inflammation, soreness, and/or swelling and then work your way onto the area of discomfort. Slide it around, the ice melting as you progress through the four stages in a couple minutes or less. (I end up shifting in my seat a bit due to the discomfort of these stages but this process is much more freeing than sitting around with an ice pack for twenty minutes at a time waiting for gradual effects to take place.) Gently dab dry.

I hope this provides illumination to those who need it as well as an opportunity to go about your day.

What PCP and specialist can agree on is the condition is not permanent and will go away on its own as your little miracle gains more independence. Until then, may you grin more with less bearing it.


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