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Hands Problem


jessen and amber: sorry it has taken me a little while to get
back to you about the challenges you’ve had with your hands and
arms. amber, here’s some general suggestions for you and
(actually, they are tips for everyone!), jesse, i know what it is
like to have carpal tunnel and tendinitis (great hand therapist,
huh? actually between doing hand therapy which is quite hard on
the hands and arms, and jewelery, i got myself into quite a
pickle! that is why i came up with the lecture series teaching
jeweler’s how to care for themselves, because i had to figure out
the stuff first hand!) i’m glad some of your symptoms have
subsided (i.e. the carpal tunnel), but sometimes inflammatory
syndromes (tennis elbow), can persist even though we aren’t doing
the job. i find my tennis elbow on the right side acts up when
my right shoulder and neck complex becomes tight. when i can get
that stretched out, my elbow doesn’t hurt.

it is a challenge to make jewelery keeping the body relaxed and
a lot of it has to do with chair height and how often you are
taking breaks. most people take breaks every few hours (when
there body’s start screaming). actually, you should take a break
every 15 minutes for fine tasks (i.e. using the foredom -
anything where there is a tight pinch). you should take breaks
every 30 minutes for larger tasks or when sitting at the
computer. if you can, each time you take a break you should
actually GET UP from where you are seated and stretch. a one
minute stretch break helps considerably after 15 minutes of work,
2-3 minutes after 30 minutes. if you are going to stay seated,
you should at least shift your posture every 15 minutes. many
people will use gloves because they think that helps for holding.
actually, it detracts. i use clamps whenever possible. i wrap
all of my handles with anti-vibrational material (i.e. saw,
foredom handle, solder tip) as it helps decrease the amount of
force required to grip and absorbs any shock. you can get this
from the supplier north coast. their number is 800-277-6826.
you can get the catalogue from them or order this material
directly - it is called VISCOLAS handle kit for $29.95 (item
number NC73625 for $29.95.). this has helped me a lot. regular
gentle stretching of the neck, shoulders, arms, hands and back
helps considerably. whenever possible suspend tools overhead (i
even suspend my soldering cord to take pressure off of my arm).
i never hammer directly on metal. i coat the surface with tool
dip and still get great effects. if you have tendinitis, be
careful how you lift. when you lift all the time with your palm
down (or do most of your tasks with the palm down, it will
aggravate that area called “the tennis elbow” if you can lift or
do things with the palm up, the muscles and tendons used are
actually on the inside of the elbow.

hope this helps. any other questions, feel free to contact me at
@marci_r_lebowitz. marci