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How do folks here deal with joint pain- especially hands...


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I was doing finishing work last week with EDM stones on a fullered piece, since then the joints on my right hand have been singin' the blues. (Please don't say "Get stronger", I'm over 50 and about as strong as I'm ever going to get, I have a sneaking suspicion it's downhill from here.)

Any favourite old family remedies going around?

Regarding stones, though, I knew I should've started with a coarser grade (began with 320 vice 220) but I was waiting on my order to get here from MSC and in a hurry to get a piece out the door.

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Preventative maintainence is the best. Breaks and stretching. You can find good simple stretches online that you can do at the bench. Good ergonomics. Once a problem develops it can be treated with massage(up through arm and shoulder), and warm, moist heat.

Arnica cream.

 

Jim

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See if you can find some capsaicin cream at the pharmacy. The only problem with rubbing some on both hands is when you rub your nose or eye or pick your teeth. This stuff has some good potential for action compared to the typical "atomic balm" and has no odor.

 

The source of the pain is a lifetime of use of your hands. Don't forget the occasional hot water soak.

 

Some folks are noticing that taking fish oil for their cholesterol has improved their joint pain. At least the above are worth trying rather than visiting the sawbones right off.

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Good advice from Jim and Mike. Stretching is very effective. I would add epsom salts to the soaks. I don't like using drugs, but I've found that using an NSAID like Alleve for 5-7 days will break the inflammatory cycle and make me feel better for weeks, sometimes months.

 

Proper hydration is also critical - and only water counts.

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Thanks for the tips. I do stretch and all that. Haven't thought about the capsaicin, worth a try. I imagine if you have cuts on the hand it's also a no-no. Fortunately, when I play the fiddle, the right hand just has to saw away, it's the left that has the difficult bit.

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Some of the secondary effects of my health problems may apply here. My continuous use of increasingly stronger (fentanyl now), Opiate-based pain medications throughout the last decade or so because of my spinal issues has caused my testosterone production to drop to 30% of normal.

 

A couple years ago, I started noticing joint pain in my fingers, hands, elbows, etc., but thought it was simply the osteo-arthritis spreading. About 6 months ago, my Doctor ordered a set of blood tests and discovered the testosterone problem. He put me on a testosterone gel that you smear over your shoulders and upper arms every morning, and by the second day of use, all of that joint pain that I thought was arthritis was gone. Totally. And it hasn't come back.

 

I'm not quite your age, so yours may very well be arthritis, or some other issue. But, it is a well known fact that as we age, we lose our capacity to produce testosterone (mine just happened to be amplified by the opiates), so next time you get bloodwork done by your Doctor, it might not be a bad idea to have them check your testosterone levels. The gel (Androgel) is just an alcohol carrier, and evaporates completely within seconds, so there is no lingering smell, or stickiness involved.

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interesting thread. my hands are falling apart on me from years of rock climbing training.. finger pull-ups, stupid stuff like that. I just turned 40 and fear for what my hands will be like in 10 years. Right now it's only bad in the morning....

 

Thanks for the head's up Sean.. I will check into that.

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Hi Al

 

every ones quite unique in terms of genetics and environment... so what may work for some, maybe not for others

 

as you get older, it seems inflamation is poorly controlled in the body..

 

what i've found helps for me is omega-3 oil... take 1 tablespoon in the morning and one at supper time... if you look into it, our modern grain based diet is pure BS... only been around since civilization started about 12000 years ago... (so to put it biologically, we've had no time at all to evolve to eating this diet....it is a modern idea )

-- don't believe what i say... go on science daily and research all the peer review studies

http://www.sciencedaily.com/search/?keyword=omega+3

 

not to mention less brain shrinkage when you get older... etc

 

 

G

 

ps.. becareful with some fish oil... some has very high vitamin A... that is a vitamin you may want to avoid as it can be toxic

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Hi Al,

I can relate to your hand problems. I will be 57 in May, And the past 3-4 years arthritis has hit me pretty hard.

After playing Hockey for 30 years, many years of full contact medieval combat, and 30 years as a landscape pro., I have had many-many serious joint injuries.

I have tried ALL sorts of homemade remedies, and some work pretty well, but a year ago my Doc. put me on an old arthritis med called 'Meloxicam'. It has been the single best thing that I have tried. It relieved all my non-injury joint pain. You may want to ask about it.

I totally agree with Sean. Keeping your testosterone up is another way. I haven't had to try the steroid route yet, but if you play very hard games a few times a week, like marshal arts, or something like that it can help.

I have big problems with my fingers and hand when I do a lot of file work on tsuba, with needle files. Last year I parilized my hand for 4 days overdoing it with the files. That was scary. Now I try to take a lot of breaks in between the hours of tiny file work.

The winter doesn't help a bit! For sure, up in your area.

Edited by Mark Green
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Some of the secondary effects of my health problems may apply here. My continuous use of increasingly stronger (fentanyl now), Opiate-based pain medications throughout the last decade or so because of my spinal issues has caused my testosterone production to drop to 30% of normal.

 

A couple years ago, I started noticing joint pain in my fingers, hands, elbows, etc., but thought it was simply the osteo-arthritis spreading. About 6 months ago, my Doctor ordered a set of blood tests and discovered the testosterone problem. He put me on a testosterone gel that you smear over your shoulders and upper arms every morning, and by the second day of use, all of that joint pain that I thought was arthritis was gone. Totally. And it hasn't come back.

 

I'm not quite your age, so yours may very well be arthritis, or some other issue. But, it is a well known fact that as we age, we lose our capacity to produce testosterone (mine just happened to be amplified by the opiates), so next time you get bloodwork done by your Doctor, it might not be a bad idea to have them check your testosterone levels. The gel (Androgel) is just an alcohol carrier, and evaporates completely within seconds, so there is no lingering smell, or stickiness involved.

 

I am in the same boat and have used bio-indentical* testosterone for two years now. There are an estimated 7 million men just in the US that are undiagnosed with low testosterone. Unlike menopause that comes on fast and furious, low T happens very slowly and the symptoms usually get treated as an individual disease. High cholesterol, hypertension, hyperglycemia, depression, loss of bone density, loss of muscle , loss or diminished sex drive and weight gain are the major symptoms.

 

A study done at the local UW in conjunction with the Veterans Hospitals showed that men 45-50 with low testosterone have an 88% chance of being dead within 14 yrs.

 

One of the major benefits of testosterone replacement as mentioned above is your recovery ability. And that includes inflammation from repetitive motion damage. And that is one of the reasons athletes use high doses of testosterone (anabolic steroids). They can work out and not be sore so they can work out again the next day. And of course building lean muscle rapidly.

 

 

Since I started using it I feel 15 years younger, have more energy, better overall mood, very little post exercise pain, weight loss after 20 years of no succes, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol.

 

So it's worth getting it checked, don't be embarrassed because you can't stop it and it will happen to every man. The smart men will get it checked and use it before others and gain the benefits.

 

There is a lot more to the story and I hope everyone does a few minutes of reading up about it. Since I have prostate cancer on both sides of my family I have a 50/50 chance of getting it. Low testosterone is also linked to prostate cancer. There are only a few conditions that testosterone replacement is not safe.

 

 

*Bioindentical hormones are the herbal and amino acid preparations sold over the counter. They are prescription only and prepared at most compounding pharmacies.

Edited by B Finnigan
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Al,

 

If your pain is in the muscle then I think that you know what to do. If the problem is your joints then I would recommend a Glucosamine / Chondroitin Supplement. This will help lubricate the joint which greatly helps reduce the pain involved. I doubted this for years but finally tried them. I have used them for many years now and have proven that they do work. ;) Nothing will cure bad joints but it makes getting older much easier to deal with. (It will take 30-60 days to get into your system and make a difference.)

 

Gary

Edited by Gary Mulkey
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And FWIW I have worked in physical rehab for 20 years and you want to use ice on most inflammation. Heat usually makes it worse even though it feels good at the time. Ice neutralizes the inflammatory chemicals and floods the tissue with natural anti-inflammatory steroids since your brain senses frost bite starting.

 

And as mentioned above many times prevention is the best way to go. I always have 2-3 projects going on and rotate around so I am not using the same muscles. And my limit of hand sanding or filing is 20 minutes then it's 2-3 hrs before I do any more. It's not worth the pain just to finish a knife a couple days earlier.

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Al,

 

If your pain is in the muscle then I think that you know what to do. If the problem is your joints then I would recommend a Glucosamine / Chondroitin Supplement. This will help lubricate the joint which greatly helps reduce the pain involved. I doubted this for years but finally tried them. I have used them for many years now and have proven that they do work. ;) Nothing will cure bad joints but it makes getting older much easier to deal with. (It will take 30-60 days to get into your system and make a difference.)

 

Gary

 

And fish oils with high EPA oils.

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yes... what Brent says about ice ! i usto have a sore back in the small of my back from forging or grinding... by the end of the day it would tighten up to the point that i had to sit down... inflamation way out of control..

- now it just ice it and with in 20 min, i'm back at the grinder..... and its been happening less and waaaay less

 

tried the nsaid stuff, didn't help .... ice did !

 

 

ICE... the cool way to do it

 

G

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I tanked my elbows pretty good carrying really heavy stuff in a stupid way. Or at least that's what I think I did. I'm doing the glucosamine, and have for about 6 weeks. I'm not sure it's helped, though the pain has gotten better, particularly at night. I using this as an excuse to eat lots of salmon too, because as Greg points out- I should be subsisting on fish, cheese, eggs and mead. ;)

 

If it isn't fixed by Spring I'm going to go for some heavy bee-sting therapy by wearing short sleeves when working the hives. ;)

 

Mark, these danged elbows have really put me off of the polearm, Argh! If I stop fighting I might go all low-testosterone! :P

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Icing is great for inflammation(too much fluid from injury). Muscle tightness and stiffness are a different animal and respond well to moist heat and massage to bring blood to the area.

 

Jim

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Muscle tightness and soreness is inflammation and heat is never indicated. That is very old info. It will only increase inflammation which slows down the healing process. 1/3 of the people I treat are those that over did it and then put heat on the muscle(s). Then in 24-48 hrs it gets worse and they end up seeing me.

 

Yes it does fell good thus appearing to help but you're just setting the stage for more problems.

 

Info about not using heat from Johns hopkins

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There may be a number of causes for joint pain. Sometimes my joints hurt (worse in winter) and I find a cold shower (as in no hot water at all) helps.

There are diets that are suppose to be anti-inflammatory - some may work, some may not. They tend to be low in meat, high in unprocessed fruits and vegetables and nuts with the grains being whole grains.

Larger tool handles can help as well (easier to grip).

 

ron

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It's always best to see your doc and find out what it is and then decide your treatment course. Whether it be western medicine or complimentary or in my case I use both.

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Brian that’s a good article which covers icing well.

 

Here’s another discussing when icing and heat are appropriate. Icing and Heat

 

I would edit my initial post to differentiate between the two, stressing moist heat for chronic, not acute, situations.

 

Having gone to exceptional PTs and massage therapists with long term results, I’m only relating what I’ve found works for aiding an aggravated chronic(not acute) condition. I agree that heat is counterproductive when inflammation and swelling, due to acute injury, is the problem, when judicious icing is very helpful. I do find moist heat very helpful to relieve muscle tightness due to overuse, before it becomes an acute situation affecting connective tissue.

 

I’m not an expert, just relating what has been tried-and-true for me as prescribed by pros that get results. I would recommend everyone consult their own trusted pros.

 

Jim

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My wife is a PT and I find that when I do EXACTLY as she says.. then I get better. Usually it involves some sort of exercise, quitting or taking a rest from what makes it hurt, immobilizing the afflicted spot for awhile, icing (sometimes ice/heat combinations), ibprofen, and improving my posture. It's amazing what improving your posture does for you.

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A study done at the local UW in conjunction with the Veterans Hospitals showed that men 45-50 with low testosterone have an 88% chance of being dead within 14 yrs.

I had a Doctors appointment this morning, and mentioned that study you're talking about.

 

He knew about it, but added that they don't yet know if any of the replacement techniques make any difference in the mortality rate. In other words, even though my latest blood tests showed that the gel had returned my testosterone levels to slightly above normal, the fact that it is a replacement, rather than natural production, may not affect the mortality rate.

 

Oh well. Gotta die from something... ;)

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something i've thought about on and off... is doing a post on blacksmith bladesmith health... and what people do to remain heatlhy and active .... afterall we don't have any kind of healthcare and the nature of the craft exposes us to alot of potential harm... whether is burns,dust,or repetitive injury etc

 

could be interesting

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