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Sunday, March 08, 2009

I need advice about how to self treat de Quervains tendonitis

I fell over a small wagon in the dark and I suppose that I tried to stop the impact with my hands which were palms down and arms bent at the elboe joint against my body.

I knew there were no bones broken but due to the severe pain through my thumb and wrist bone( on the tumb side) also when I bend the hands back the wrist joint hurts a great deal, I went to and had them X-rayed anyway.

The specialist barely touched my hands, diagnosed it as De Quervain's tenosynovitis and sent me to his therapist who put a compress of heat on for ten minutes, five minutes of ultrasound , ten minutes massage and another ten minutes of cold compress. This , after five sessions has done very little and been very expensive.

I am trying to continue my own treatment. I found the cold to be more damaging. So I am bathing them in hot water with epsom salts, traumel creme,tiger balm and I bought a massager with heat.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Gary Responds
Thanks for the additional information about the injured wrists and about your occupation and lifestyle.

De Quervains would seem to be a reasonable diagnosis. The problem has probably been percolating below the surface and the fall stirred it up.

There are a number of approaches to be taken which, in combination, should bring about a full recovery:

  • Please can you get an updated blood test to determine your blood iron and B vitamin levels. If any of these are not close to the upper range of "normal" then you need to do a deliberate programme of boosting these. I can advise how to go about this, if needed, once you have the blood test results.
  • It is possible that your adrenals are over-stimulated and may be nearing exhaustion. High chronic levels of cortisone soften bones and ligaments and cause joint and muscle pain. You are drinking too much caffeinated tea. This is no good for the adrenals. Please go for at least 10 days without any sources of caffeine at all and then do not start up again. consider going on an adrenal support programme. Refer here for more about adrenal fatigue.
  • Please ensure that your diet has more variety in quality fresh natural fats and oils. Excessively low cholesterol levels may contribute to your fragility. Please get a blood test of your lipids and send the results to me for analysis and advice.
  • Take vitamin C and glucosamine and chondroitin daily
  • Take schuessler tissue salts that contain calcium fluoride, silicaea, magnesium phosphate and calcium phosphate.
I am not a fan of mechanical massagers. It is much better to employ the services of a professional masseur and to have the arms thoroughly massaged from shoulders to fingers only once a week. Let them settle between sessions. Of course, there will be much attention during the massages placed on softening up the annular ligaments about the wrists and other areas of chronic pain. Please refer to my many articles about this kind of therapy and similar ailments to De Quervains for more information about massage.

Combined with good nutrition, massage gives wonderful results after about three weeks and ongoing.

I see little pint in any more exercise than what you are doing in your job and daily living. There is no point in exercising structures that are weakened, inflammed and poorly nourished. As vitality is restored, your ability to use your wrists ever more vigorously duing every day activities will increase. Then, you might consider some more deliberate strengthening work.

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Unknown said...

What are your opinions about wearing a thumb brace during recovery? I just had a baby and have de quervains tendinitis from improperly lifting my baby with my thumb out in an L shape. Do you recommend a way to lift baby without aggravating tendons more?

Gary Moller said...

De Quervain's is common in new mothers and for good reason: Stress and poor nutrition.

You may need a brace to help it settle but it is essential that you get massage to to muscles and tendons of the forearms and hands - both arms.

You also need to ensure there is quality protein, fats, oils, vitamins and minerals in your diet. There's heaps of information on this site about diet and massage.

You need to ensure there is adequate iodine, magnesium and pyridoxine in the diet by way of supplements. Again, you will find information on this site about these for conditions including de quervain's.

Rest alone does not work. Nutrition, massage and exercise are the solution!