Peace at Hand's Healing Blog

Wrist Splints and How Not to Use Them

Posted on February 17, 2010 in: Advice - Tags: RSI, treatment

One of the really interesting things about massage is how client types seem to come in waves.  If I see one runner with piriformis issues, three more will probably follow.  Lately, the issue has been repetitive stress injuries of the wrist caused by overuse of the computer, like carpal tunnel syndrome.

The most common treatment I hear about is splinting the wrist.  Sleeping in a wrist splint is absolutely a good treatment for RSIs. 

Typing in a wrist splint is not. 

Let me repeat that: Please do not wear your wrist splint while you are typing on your computer.

I hear of people doing that all the time, and what really floors me is that they claim to be following their doctor's advice.

Maybe doctors really are advising patients to type in wrist splints.  On the surface, if you are looking at the wrist in isolation, I suppose it might seem like a good idea.  But--stop for a second and remember that song about how the wrist bone's connected to the arm bone and consider what has to happen if we force the wrist in to a fixed position and then continue typing.  Other muscle groups (or other parts of the same muscle groups) are brought in to play, doing work that they weren't designed to do.  Its like using a screwdriver as a hammer.  It can be done, but its a really good way to break your screwdriver.  I promise you that if you type in wrist splints for hours a day for a few days running, you are going to hurt in places that feel totally unfamiliar to you. 

And my question is why.  Why should we develop a treatment plan for one issue that is only going to create new issues in other places?  It doesn't make sense.

The real treatment for a RSI is to stop doing the thing that caused the injury in the first place.  I realize our society isn't built in a way that often allows us to stop working, even when our health is at stake, so if you aren't going to stop typing (or doing whatever it is that caused the problem), at least minimize it.  If the problem is on your right side, look at tasks that you can begin doing with your left.  Brushing your teeth.  Holding the phone.  Carrying your coffee cup.  You would be surprised by how much strain you can relieve just by moving small but frequent tasks to your "good side."

Keep the splints, but wear them around the house when you aren't using your hands, and absolutely sleep in them.  Sleeping in them is key.  If you need to type or carry on with those fine motor tasks, look for soft braces.  Something that will give you a little compression and support without having a solid splint built in to them.  A quick trip to CVS should be able to supply you with what you need, and once you're looking at the options, the two types of braces will be obvious.

If you are one of those people who is under doctor's orders to type in splints...well, I would never tell a client to ignore something that their doctor told them to do.  What I suggest is this: Call your doctor.  Explain to them why the splints might be bad, and ask what they think.  Do a little research, and then do what feels right to you.

But mostly?  Don't type in a wrist splint.

Upcoming Massage Events at The Yarn Spot

Posted on February 26, 2010 in: Uncategorized - Tags: events, seated massage, classes

The Yarn Spot has just released their latest newsletter and calendar of classes, and Peace at Hand will be joining them for a number of events!

Seated Massage: 

 Sundays February 28th and March 14th


Fifteen minute sessions are $20 and thirty minute sessions are $40.  Walk-ins will be acepted as time permits. 


Physical Wellness for Handcrafters:

Level 1

Learn stretching and self-massage to protect against injury or support existing conditions.  Special attention is paid to the hands, wrists, arms, neck and shoulders.

This class has been extremely popular over the past few months (thank you all for signing up and being enthusiastic!), and we have added another session by request.

Sunday, March 14th from 11:00-12:30

Class fee: $30

Level 2

Building on the skills taught in the level 1 class, we will contiune self massage and begin to evaluate your personal knitting style in order to spot potential problems or address discomfort.  More advanced stretching and anatomy may be discussed.

Students should bring a swatch or simple project in progress to work on during class.  Please try to limit yourself to projects for which you will not need to reference a pattern.

Tuesday March 9th from 6:30-7:30 

Class fee $30


Infant Massage Instruction

A new class at The Yarn Spot!  In our two-class series, you will learn the benefts and core ideas of infant massage, as well as basic massage strokes to sooth, comfort and bond with your little one.  Infant massage class can also be a great opportunity to meet and be supported by other new parents. 

This class is best suited to children who are not yet crawling. 

Please bring whatever "props" you might need to be comortable sitting on the floor with your baby.

Wednesdays March 17th and 24th from 10:00-11:00

Class fee: $70, which includes a voucher for a seated massage


Contact The Yarn Spot at 301-933-9550 or via email to register for any of these classes or events.  Hope to see you there!