Here are a few helpful tips for artists to manage and relieve wrist pain.
As an artist, do you notice that your wrists and hands don’t work as well as they used to? Do they feel stiff and clumsy, Perhaps you experience numbness and tingling. You might outright have wrist pain. Do you find it frustrating that your creativity is hampered? Continue reading to learn how to manage and relieve your wrist pain.
Causes of wrist pain
Frequently, repetitive stress is the cause of wrist pain. This comes from the way you hold your paintbrush, your pencil, or the way you bow your violin. Your grip and the repeated movements can put tremendous strain on the tendons and ligaments, causing injury and inflammation.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel at your wrist. Inflammation in this narrow space can easily put pressure on your median nerve. Pressure causes the symptoms of pain, numbness/tingling, or weakness in the hands. The repetitive motions that painters, sculptors, draftsmen and other visual artists perform day in and day out leads to this compression.
Arthritis can be of 2 main types: rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or osteoarthritis. RA is an autoimmune condition where your body attacks its own joint tissues. Usually symmetrical joints are affected, so you will experience symptoms in both wrists. Osteoarthritis occurs after repetitive stress has been occurring so long that the joint structures have begun to deteriorate and break down.
Ganglion cysts can occur in your joint spaces and can cause pain with movement. Sometimes they disappear on their own, other times a surgical procedure is necessary.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to manage and relieve wrist pain to keep it from impacting your life and your work.
The way you hold your tools can aggravate your symptoms. Your grip on them can pinch your median nerve. Many artists find that using thicker-handled implements creates less pain, such as brushes with a larger handle. If you can’t part with your favorite brushes, consider wrapping the handles with a self-adherent wrap.
Pencil grips like memory foam are another option when you are drawing or painting.
Pay attention to your posture as you work. It may take some time to get used to, but don’t hold your brush like a pencil. Watercolorists often paint flat on a table, but inclining your surface even a little bit will make a difference. If you work while sitting, make sure your back is fully supported and your knees are slightly lower than your hips. Also notice if you are leaning forward or holding tension in other parts of your body. Strain in a different part of your body can cause you to tighten up in your wrists and hands as well. No matter what position your work in, take frequent breaks to stretch or move around the studio.
Stretching Your Wrists
You can relieve the pressure on your wrists. Here are 3 basic stretches you can do before you begin your day. You can also to them to warm up before working, and at regular intervals throughout your work session.
Keeping your wrist in a neutral position can help to reduce the impingement of your median nerve. This is what a splint is designed to do. Splints are commonly available at your local drug store. Wear your splint even when you are not experiencing symptoms. Wearing a splint at night gives your hands a rest and prevents flexion and overextension of your wrist during sleep. Make sure you wear it properly so your don’t injure yourself further.
Acupuncture for Wrist Pain
A recent study showed significant improvement in patients suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome who received acupuncture therapy. These patients not only had less pain, but the inflammation of the nerve causing the pain was improved. Make sure you find a fully licensed practitioner who will design a customized treatment plan to properly treat your specific condition.
If the idea of needles scares you, I offer Shakuju Therapy. This is a unique and gentle method performed without inserting needles, so you won’t have to experience any more pain.
Are you looking for a painless acupuncture experience for your wrist pain?
Call my office today to learn more about how I’ve been helping patients address their health concerns and to see how I can help you.
Acupuncture Red Bank