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Pain in arms

(11 Posts)
kkgirl Sun 17-Nov-02 17:28:03

Nothing at all to do with pregnancy, birth or having kids, but has anyone experienced pains in shoulder, elbow and hands.
Since late yesterday my arm has felt heavy, painful and hurts from shoulder down to wrist.

I have had it before and put it down to computer use, but it has gone away if I put a tubigrip on it, but I woke up with it this morning and it hasn't got any better.
Just laughing at myself am 43 feeling like 103!
Any suggestions or experiences?

janh Sun 17-Nov-02 17:41:17

kkgirl, I get elbow pain - it's like tennis elbow, which I have had before, also not from tennis - I put it down to too much mouse activity too, and sometimes I do wake up with it feeling much worse. My arm is a lot weaker than it used to be too, I have to carry heavier things with the left.

What I have discovered lately is that if I make a point of keeping the elbow bent at night whenever I wake up (quite often) it feels a lot better in the morning...I sometimes wake up with my arm dead straight and then can hardly move it as it has stiffened completely, and it aches on the top of the bent elbow, IYKWIM.

As to solutions, though - giving up the computer is the only thing that springs to mind - noooooo!

janh Sun 17-Nov-02 17:42:58

PS When I had tennis elbow before (I used to do market research and spent a lot of time walking about with my right arm bent tight holding a clipboard) my GP's only offer was a cortisone injection, which I declined! (It did get better when I stopped doing the clipboard.)

SnoobyKat Mon 18-Nov-02 07:09:30

Hi kkgirl, Know what you're talking about. Worked in the computer industry for 15 years so suffered from this a lot. Only solution I found was

1. using a non-standard mouse (i.e. touch pad on a laptop or rollerball or some of the ergonimically designed mice you can find in specialised computer stores)

2. exercising every 2 hours i.e. stop typing/mousing, sit straight in a chair, start with neck stretching (back/forward/side-to-side), then shoulder-rolling, then hand exercises as follows.

For hand exercises, press hands together (as though praying) firmly for 10 seconds then relax, repeat 10 times. Then lace fingers, reverse hands and push away from body stretching arms, relax, repeat 10 times . Then roll hands at wrists, inwards 10 times, outwards 10 times.

Whole thing should only take about 5-10 mins but must be repeated at least ever two hours while working at a computer.

PS tried the tubigrip. Did work temporarily to relieve symptoms while working but problem didn't go away.

kkgirl Mon 18-Nov-02 17:46:43


Thanks for your post. What I don't understand though is that it is only in my right arm, and I am left handed and have moved my mouse so that I use my left as I was using it on the right.

21stcenturygirl Mon 18-Nov-02 21:29:09

kkgirl - had the same pain in right arm and hand from when DD2 was a tiny baby and she spent most of the time in my arms asleep (day and night!). When she finally slept on her own, the pain didn't subside. Went to the Docs and it turned out it was my neck that was the problem and not my arm. I had an x-ray and some physio and it's a lot better now.
However, don't wish to alarm you but the x-ray diagnosed mild arthritis (and I'm only 37!).

kkgirl Mon 18-Nov-02 23:22:18

21st Century Girl

In that case I've had it. I'll be 44 next birthday. I'll tell you its all downhill after 40!!!!!!!!

SnoobyKat Tue 19-Nov-02 04:57:01

Mmm, often difficult to tell where exactly the problem stems from. Like 21stcenturygirl it could be a problem with your neck position (is your screen high enough or are u looking down all the time?). Why don't you check it out with your doctor?

The difficulty with this type of thing is that the muscles and tendons are all linked together and strain on one part can cause pain somewhere else. I definately had tenysinuvitus (repetitive strain injury) from too much mousing and a poor keyboard position (like all techies I never learnt to type properly!!!!!)

Just had to change my working habits. (of course problem much better now - not working unless u call looking after a 13month DS work :-) )

Check it out with your GP just in case. BTW it took me a month of exercises for the pain to subside and I only started with them when the pain became permanent (it was worst when I woke up in the mornings - could hardly move my hands). Worst thing was? ... I should have known better - wrote my final year uni paper on Ergonomics in the Workplace. Just goes to show that I should practise what I preach :-(

kkgirl Thu 28-Nov-02 18:08:36

Strangely pain in arms has disappeared. I wore a tubigrip most of the day and all night for a few days and then booked a doctors' appointment. That must of scared it off.

zebra Sun 19-Jan-03 23:41:47

Just noticed the RSI threads.
I've had it for ~7 years; caused by computers and playing guitar. I had to give up on guitar and doubt I could ever work fulltime on computers, again, but am glad I can at least work on 'puter 2-3 days/week. I wear splints whenever I'm at a computer.

Things that helped me, may help others:

200-300mg vit B6/daily, for 3 months (this has proven effective in clinical studies for carpal tunnel syndrome).
Therapeutic massage for tendonitus/tenosynovitus-- immensely helpful. I guess it just breaks up scar tissue. See somebody who normally massages athletes. My husband can do it now I understand what works.
At the computer, keeping my elbows by my side (ribs) when I type, and my wrists no higher than my elbows, consciously making sure my shoulders are relaxed. Forget whatever positioning they tell you is supposed to be ergonomic; if you follow the "ergonomic" advice, you can't keep your elbows down by your side, and your wrists may be higher than your elbows. Arms won't be able to relax in this so-called ergonomically "correct" position. I often have the keyboard in my lap; it's exactly right.
Wearing splints at the computer, and any other time I had/have the familiar aches.
Trying to type more gently -- less hammering, please!

I still have some pain in my arms, some days, but it's pretty manageable nowadays, from the worst days when even brushing my teeth or writing a note were quite painful.

robinw Mon 20-Jan-03 06:38:08

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