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Old 10-12-2006, 10:50 AM   #1
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Repetitive Motion Syndrome

I know alot of you work in kitchens, so I thought I'd ask: Have any of you ever had to deal with any sort of repetitive motion syndrome? For about a week now, my thumb and first two fingers of by right hand will sometimes get this sensation that's a combination of falling asleep and discomfort ( not really pain, but it is uncmfortable). I did a small bit of searching and came up with this syndrome. They say over 50% of athletes get it, and it is common in the workforce for people who make repetitive motion all day long. It is the most common type of inujury in the US and is similar to or can include carpal tunnel syndrome.

I'm thinking this might have to do with the fact that I'm working 32 hours in a professional kitchen now, and doing a lot more knife work than I have done in the past. I think another thing that may have aggravated this is the fact that I was a child of the video game era, and grew up with games as a significant portion of how I get my entertainment. It escalated quite a bit for about 15 months during my sophomore and junior years of college when some guys I played Halo 2 with got involved in the tournament scene, and lets just say we played a lot of Halo2. Also my major requires about 95% of our work be done on computer, so I do a fair amount of typing.

What I'd really like to know, is if you have dealt with this, what are some of the treatments involved? From the few articles I read it pretty much involved not doing the things that aggravated the condition in the first place. Now I wouldn't be at all opposed to giving up gaming, but I can't exactly quit school or my job. How have you all dealt with this?

PS- I will be going to see a doctor sometime soon, to get a proper diagnosis.

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Old 10-12-2006, 11:10 AM   #2
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It could be a nerve issue farther up the line. I had a problem with tingling and numbness in a couple of the fingers on one hand and it turned out to be pressure on a nerve in my arm (above the elbow) from my sleeping position. The cure was to not sleep with my arm raised any higher than my shoulder.
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Old 10-12-2006, 11:23 AM   #3
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Sounds like carpel tunnel. It affects people in different ways.

My dr told me to lean over my desk and put my forearms on the table, then put my hands together as if in prayer. Keeping your wrists close to the table, push each hand backwards with the other one.

Does this make any sense at all? It has really helped me by stretching out the tendons and muscles. I do have to lift up my wrist to push my thumb and forefinger back and I feel the the tendons way up to my elbow.
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Old 10-12-2006, 11:37 AM   #4
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As Half Baked says, it sounds as though you may have carpal tunnel syndrome. I have/had it in both my wrists/hands. I had to have surgery on my left wrist about 2 years ago to relieve the problem. The surgery was really no big deal, so if your physician recommends it, don't be alarmed. I haven't had to have surgery on my right side because the condition is responding very well to anti-inflammatory medication, which I take twice a day.

You may experience numbness in all of your fingers except your little finger. That's because the median nerve, which is being compressed in the carpal tunnel area of your wrist, does not go to your little finger.

I most likely got CTS because I spend a lot of time typing - I'm a writer - and I also knit and crochet when I watch television or am riding in the car. Lots of repetitive motion, which is what causes/aggravates CTS.

For more explanation of the condition, go to this link: http://www.carpaltunnel.com/.

Best of luck.
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Old 10-12-2006, 11:51 AM   #5
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Yes! Definately have that. I've been on Celebrex for a year now..and it helps a lot. Hands still "go to sleep" when blow drying my hair though. It will get worse before it gets better. Half Baked is right about the exercises. If you can take over the counter drugs anything that has an anti-inflammatory in it you may get by for awhile. As it gets worse though..you might experience "nerve" pains. That is why I had to a prescription...and also because I'm allergic to aspirin I couldn't take the otc drugs. My husband is in the first stages of it. I think his is only from using the mouse! Good luck...I know the misery!
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Old 10-12-2006, 01:04 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies everyone. I think I need to get this checked out soon, and get it treated early. I'm only 21, so I think I had better keep this in check before it becomes a big hassle for the rest of my life.
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Old 10-12-2006, 05:21 PM   #7
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I believe once you build up those wrist muscles the pain will disappear. I think anyone who works in a kitchen has gone through this at one time, usually in the beginning or if you get a new knife. If you don't find any relief in a week or so, get it checked.
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Old 10-12-2006, 05:39 PM   #8
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I agree with Half Baked - it could be Carpel Tunnel. You definitely have to see a doctor because if it is that you may have to wear a special wrist and arm holder that keeps your wrist from hurting.

My girlfriend had an operation on both wrists for Carpel Tunnel and she is fine now.

It could be something else but you definitely need to see your doctor and he may send you to a specialist.
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Old 10-12-2006, 06:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue
I believe once you build up those wrist muscles the pain will disappear. I think anyone who works in a kitchen has gone through this at one time, usually in the beginning or if you get a new knife. If you don't find any relief in a week or so, get it checked.
In the case of true carpal tunnel syndrome, exercise would have little or no effect on reducing discomfort or have limited effect. As my physician explained to me, the median nerve - which goes to the thumb and all fingers except the pinkie - repetitive motions cause a plaque-like substance to build up in the carpal tunnel. This narrows the carpal tunnel, which then puts pressure on the median nerve. As this condition worsens, the nerve becomes inflamed and pain and numbness set in.

By the time I had surgery on my left wrist, there was enough plaque and inflammation that the doctor was afraid I'd sustained nerve damage. Because of the severity of the situation, he had to cut deeper and clean up a lot more area than he'd anticipated. It wasn't until some time after the surgery that he was able to determine my nerve wasn't harmed. The nerve had a lot of healing to do.

Let me explain, too, that before he recommended surgery, he did prescribe some limited exercises and had me wear a brace. Neither of these helped.

My mindset when it comes to my health is to be very conservative, so I like to weigh all other options before resorting to anything as serious as surgery. But, sometimes, that's the only recourse.

At any rate, college_cook, it would be cheap insurance to have it checked out before it becomes a serious problem. If it's something easily treated with exercise or a course of medication, better to find that out, too.

Best wishes.
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Old 10-12-2006, 06:12 PM   #10
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I think I've got the carpo...

Repeatititive stress issues in the kitchen can be an issue sometimes. Just linke in anyline of work I suppose. But it is nothing a bourbon can't take care of.:D
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