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Severe recurrent hand cramping
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Severe recurrent hand cramping

I am a 28 year old female, in good health and active.  I have recently begun to experience severe cramping in my hands, both left and right.  I am a stay at home mom, and I spend a lot of time outdoors gardening, and what not.
I also enjoy writing, and typing and macreme, and several other hobbies involving the use of both hands.
I have most recently noticed the pain while trying to grasp something.  I spent an afternoon gardening using a full length spade, then upon returning to the indoors, started sweeping, and experienced severe cramping in my hands.  I attributed it to digging all day with the shovel, and the broom being skinnier in diameter, my muscles reacted with pain....I don't really know.  I just thought my hands were tired.
Last night I tried to roll a high chair into another room and my left hand had sharp pain and cramping, just from gripping  it to move it. I am right handed, and experience cramping when writing, like a writer's cramp, but now I have the same type of pains in both hands. It feels like my hand tightens and curls, but I can move it fine, just with a lot of pain.  The pain goes away shortly, aside from some tenderness, which I generally massage it with my other hand. But the tenderness is still there, and it has started occurring more frequently in the past two months.  (it has been very rainy, and I wondered if that triggers it, like joint pains sometimes have been said to do)
any advise or information would be appreciated.
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Avatar_dr_f_tn
Hi,

It is possible that you could have repetitive strain injury.

"    * RSI healing generally cannot be achieved solely by medical professionals and requires active participation by the patient over a period of several months or years.[citation needed] The more the patient understands, the more likely it is that treatment will be effective.[citation needed] Occupational therapists, physical therapists, physiatrists, surgeons, and alternative medicine practitioners all offer diagnosis and treatment plans.
    * It is likely the partial or complete cessation of hand activity might be necessary for some period of time in order for healing to begin.[citation needed] Adaptive technology ranging from special keyboards and mouse replacements to speech recognition software might be necessary.
    * The medical professional may prescribe orthopedic hand braces, but warn against self-prescription, or further injury might result.
    * Medications: The medical professional might prescribe Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen to reduce swelling, or anti-convulsant medications such as gabapentin to reduce neuropathic pain.
    * Cold compression therapy administered by the patient, or perhaps immediately followed by TENS therapy administered by a health professional, circumvents occupational stress and may be one of the simplest ways to reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
    * Soft tissue therapy works by decompressing the area around the repetitive stress injury thus enhancing circulation and promoting healing.
    * Biofeedback can be used to reduce stress-related muscle tension in the muscles of the neck and shoulders.
    * Massage treatment (for acute pain and nerve trigger points). This is best administered by a trained therapist but self-massage is also sometimes helpful.
    * Active release techniques are effective in reducing RSI symptoms by releasing the tension of the muscles and nerves of the injured area. You would need to visit a certified ART provider to receive this treatment.
    * Stretches (for less acute pain and general maintenance). Many doctors will prescribe occupational therapy or physical therapy to rebuild strength and flexibility. Some sufferers find great relief in specific movement therapies such as t'ai chi ch'üan, yoga, or the Alexander technique.
    * Exercise: It has been shown that engaging in leisure-time physical activity decreases the risk of developing RSI.[2] Also, doctors often recommend that RSI sufferers engage in specific strengthening exercises, for example to improve posture.
    * Surgery. This is generally used as a last resort and is not always effective[citation needed].
    * Mind/body approaches. In the mind/body approach, RSI is not seen as a structural injury, but as a psychosomatic condition. Some RSI sufferers have had success with treatments based on this theory,[3] but it has not been widely accepted or systematically studied.[4]
    * Pause software. Such programs remind the user to pause frequently and/or perform practices while working behind a computer. One such program is Workrave, an open-source free program that assists in the recovery and prevention of Repetitive Strain Injury. The program frequently alerts user to take micro-pauses, rest breaks and restricts user to a predefined daily limit.
    * Switching to a much more ergonomic keyboard layout such as Dvorak.
    * Cold/hot therapy (For hand/forearm injury): Fill two sinks, one with cold water, one with very hot water. In the sink with the cold water, put enough ice in it to almost coat the top of the water. Place forearms and hands in cold water for a few minutes, then place forearms and hands in hot water for a minute; repeat for upwards of 30 minutes, and end on cold water. Not only does this soothe inflammation, but after a period gradually widens veins allowing for greater bloodflow.
    * Home remedies: Ginger is considered to be a natural anti inflammatory agent and can be eaten raw in small quantities. It also does not create indigestion unlike some inflammatory medicines."
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repetitive_strain_injury

You can also increase your calcium intake to above 1000mg per day, as cramping can occur as a consequence of calcium deficiency.

Do keep us posted with your doubts and progress
regards
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Avatar_f_tn
This does look like a good possibility of what it may be.  I really hope to not have to stop every few minutes of using my hands, because I really enjoy all the activities that I keep involved in.  I described my pain as carpal tunnel syndrome at one time, but I doubt that.  Repetitive Strain injury sounds very likey considering all the activities I haven't mentioned I have been doing in the last several years  ( building and drywalling my home, and playing a lot of guitar hero! and other working activities)
I am thinking I need to look up some hand stretches and exercises. perhaps adding calcium and ginger in my diet wouldn't hurt. ( I have used ginger in the past for nausea) Ibuprofen sounds helpful, I was thinking of using naproxen.
i would love to avoid going to the doctor here, but if I can't manage my pain reasonably at home, I will have to make the appt.
Is repetitive strain injury serious enough that I should go to see the Doc ? or should I try things at home first?
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Avatar_f_tn
Do the ends of your fingers turn really red when you bend them all the way and does it hurt? Are your finger swollen? And do you have weakness in both your hands? Sounds like were having similar symtoms (symptoms)
Jan42
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