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Anybody Else Get Pouty?

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I just finished a right bloody marathon of underglazing that spanned a week (worked 12 hours straight yesterday to finish on time), and this morning, the arthritis in my hands was so bad that I couldn't straighten my fingers for almost 30 minutes without searing pain. I know I was a really dumb guinea for working so hard, but you guys know what deadlines are like--without mercy.

 

I'm feeling kinda pouty about the whole thing. I'm only in my mid-30s, and my hands are already hosed (not even getting into my back!). Anybody else ever get this way? It's just frustrating and nobody I know here really understands. I just can't quit clay. I'd die inside.

 

Whehkkkk... ;.;

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I don't even wanna list all my health problems and I am 30. I have been going to the hospital every week for 7 straight years, since I was 23. The number one thing I do to keep myself happy and to keep others around me happy, is to understand that complaining about your pain helps no one. In fact, if anything it brings you down. You have to search for the great things that you get to do because your alive and the pain is just a reminder that you are alive. 

 

Each and every day you have to try hard not to complain. In fact the more you do this the more you will realize how strong you are and how people around you are pretty soft. It makes me giggle when people talk about their headache being so bad. 

 

So don't be pouty. Be thankful that your hands work good enough to write this post. Then be thankful that you got to spend 12 hours straight doing something you love. Do you know how many people get to do that? Not very many people. Kick back, take a break, and look at your masterpieces. Life is full of hard times, but the more you look at your hard times, the worse they become. !

 

Focus on the great things, not the bad things!

 

<-- my two cents.

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*cyber hug*

 

Thanks, Grype. That was a great post. :3 I think I'll just sit on my bum for a well-earned break. I'm super tired--was up until 6:30am babysitting my Fred. He's in my living room, so I like to watch him for a few hours to make sure all is right with him.

 

Castlevania, it is! ^_^

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Work smart. Really pay attention to your body position while you are working. Sometimes just moving the piece higher up so you're not bent over makes a work of difference. Check how you hold your shoulders while working. Are they shrugged up, or loose and relaxed? When working for hours at a time, small stresses have huge impacts.

 

I just started throwing standing up 2 weeks ago. Makes a world of difference. And my work table is at standing height, too. Makes glazing a lot easier when I don't have to reach down all the time. If I need to do some sort of detail work, I put the piece on a banding wheel and sit on a stool, which puts the work at chest or shoulder height depending on the stool. This allows me to keep my back straight and shoulders back while working.

 

Sorry to hear you're hurting.

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I started working out with a 15lb kettle bell, same weight as my bowling ball. Mostly this was for the wrist and the arms, but I have noticed that it helps finger cramps and stiffness. Something about the swinging while gripping stretches the fingers. On another side, my wife has arthritic hands also, and finds that when she crochets regularly her hands hurt less. I guess that old adage use it or lose it is true.

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.... After 12 hours of doing the same thing over and over and over again, your hands hurt???.

Good grief, of course they hurt.

Bet your back hurt, your arms hurt and your brain hurt too!!

If you were working under OSHA rules, your boss would be getting charged with something.

 

You are not, so it's up to you to take care of YOU.

If you want pottery for a lifetime, listen to your body and take care of it. It is your most precious tool.

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Chris is right, what you are doing is a prescription for breakdown. I'm surprised you managed 12 hours.

Only you can structure your work so that it doesn't have a detrimental effect on your body.  Reconsider that points Neil makes, he covers them all.  If you follow his advice, after a rest, when you go bask to work you will actually work longer over time, since you won't have to deal with the time off for breakdown recovery.

I'm 60 and clay is my 4th career, the others were body killers, so I am very careful to space my breaks and work position etc.. so that I last.

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Great advice. Learn to pace yourself and take short stretching/relaxing breaks every few hours. Like Clay Lover, pottery is my fourth career and its only part-time as I'm still working at my second and third careers of being a fitness instructor and teaching in a college, which are both very physical. My first career as a pharmacist was actually the hardest physically and mentally and lasted more than 30 years, so I learned very early about pace, etc. BTW, I'm 66.

 

- Paul R.

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Hey, finally a topic i am an expert on as I have had multiple hand surgeries and hand physical therapy due to arthritis and a hereditary disease. Here are some hints:

 

Get a pair of hand heating mitts. They  are used by spas but are basically pocket shaped heating pads that you can insert your hands in. feels great. I got mine on line but they are probably at Bed Bath and Beyond. not expensive.

 

Consider a parrafin melted wax bath.  Again, bed bath and beyond. You have to give it time to melt the wax, then dip your hands in a couple of times, cover with a plastic bag and let the heat soak in.  Physical therapy places do this but no reason not to get your own. we had one donated to our studio and i have my own. Maybe $35.

 

I have a prescription to a topical pain cream called "Voltarin".  Its an ibuprophin pain reliever that absorbs through the skin rather than taking a pill (which also works)  but the cream is good. gotta get it from a doctor. my hand physical therapist mentioned it and i asked my doctor to prescribe it. My internist uses it himself and considers it safe if you are ok with ibuprophin. (advil)

 

I have a little hand massager that I use on this one bunged up finger.  Its called a mini vibrator (no snickers please) but it relaxes the sore spots and helps this 63 year old. Cost about $20 and available on line or at medical supply places.

 

There is a way to put a coating on your paint brushes and tools that makes them sort of soft to the touch.  Again, my hand therapist told me about this and I have not done it but we have talked about doing a seminar on how do do this since I have lots of artist friends and we all beat up our hands.

 

I get a cortisone shot in my right thumb joint once or twice a year.  It really helps the pain but you can't do it really often.

 

I wear gloves sold for weight lifters and bike riders that have padding in them but the finger tips are missing.  Can't really squish clay in them but would be fine with a paint brush.

 

A hand therapist can make you a custom brace for a particularly troubling area. I have one for my right thumb though i don't use it much. It just keeps you from  moving that digit in a way that is damaging.

 

You will have to get a doctor's prescription in order to see a hand therapist for any of this pt stuff.  they are like a pharmacy and can't give you what you want without a prescription.   maybe you could go to a minute clinic place to get a nurse practitioner to prescribe something like the Voltarin. there are other such creams that are supposed to be really good but have to be custom compounded.

 

Take care of those little paws.  One of these days I am going to set up a seminar with my hand therapist for all my artist friends to learn how to take care of our hands. All of us that are middle aged and beyond have hand discomfort to one degree or another. 

 

Rakuku

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p.s.  I have also decided to "save" my hands for art mainly. So I don't do gardening much any more and I now pay someone to clean my house. Not an option for everyone I realize but consider how much you use your hands every day. Hubby does the gardening to the extent it occurs or it just doesn't get done. Big deal.  He understands how much my hands hurt and helps with scrubbing my raku pieces. 

 

I wear the weight lifter gloves for driving and other chores. I bought a very expensive pair of purple Itallian leather gloves that are butter soft and heavenly and wear them to walk the dogs and other things that require gripping. also got some cheap ones that I can afford to mess up.

 

Some times I use a little wrist brace that you can get over the counter at a drug store that helps support wrist.

 

Rakuku

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I strongly second Chris!

 

Every deadline, every buck you earn isn't worth overworking hands that are arthritic Guinea. You are still young. Do you want to be unable to move your fingers at all in a few years time? I would cut down working hours immediately if I were you. Bath your hands and wrists in warm water and sulfate (maybe you can get a sulfate emulsion from the pharmacy?). Be more responsible with yourself. We like you Guinea, that's why we have to rant with you sometimes....

 

Sorry you hurt :(

 

Evelyne

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What a lot of replies in a short space of time!

Me too arthritic hands (+ toe, lower spine & hip). Rt thumb currently v sore - I think trying to centre a lump of clay that was too dry has set it off.

Yes to topical anti inflammatory cream, localised heat, gentle finger and hand exercises. Yes to mixing up the work. Wrist brace at night can help.

Pilates for lower back. I'm much more comfortable standing, but have to sit to throw. Might do more decorative work standing though - sitting for any length of time makes my back and hip stiffen up (yes to 60 yrs old!) Totally agree - to use it or lose it.

 

Nice little community of shared aches and pains, along with joys and pleasures of working with mud!

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, I don't have a whole lot to add to what has already been said/advised.  But, I do want you to be encouraged by the fraternity of 60+ year-olds who have their own physical challenges who are working in clay right now. I am there as well...learning to manage pain following a traumatic accident at age 29 means that I am not even attempting 12 hour sprint clay sessions, but I do manage to get things done that give me great personal joy.  Go for the joy!

 

Castelvania made me laugh...I'll be borrowing that one.  While you are kicking back, perhaps Guinea should take another read at The Tortoise and the Hare :rolleyes:

 

-Paul

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Guin, TAKE BREAKS... if you don't were going to use the plastic off some lettuce and roll it in our hands over and over and over just to hear you scream for it LOL.... I did that before I fed my lil pigs when I was younger, they loved some veggies with it too.. Boy they could get loud...  Any ways, the only person that can take care of you is YOU !!!

 

Warm water and Epson salt works wonders for me...I use warm water when I throw , just feels good...

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Sarah, I'm going to chime in here and lecture you about taking breaks!!! **waggles finger in your direction in an admonishing fashion** I broke my back in 2008 while building our house. The pain was unbelievable for the first two years, but with time and determination, I pretty much have a handle on it without resorting to pain medications. The big key for me is to take frequent breaks from whatever I'm doing. Be it sewing, pottery, gardening.....yadda, yadda, yadda.... 

 

Asking your body to perform any given task for 12 hours straight is a definite recipe for pain. No matter how old (or young) you are! So, take care of YOU! I'd like to see you here for many more years to come too!

 

On a side note: I had to do a double take on the title of your post. I thought, at first glance, that you had asked "Anybody else get POULTRY?" I was about to shout out "Heck yeah! I've got 22! What do you want to know?!?" LOL  Hey! There's an idea....take a break and come out to meet me and my gang. Nothing beats chicken therapy! We're just a quick 15 minute drive from your place! :lol:  :D

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I think everyone is entitled to get pouty every once in awhile. We age, our muscles get sore, our bones creak, our hands hurt. Painting is probably the worst thing on our bodies. You are sitting in the same position for hours.  You're fingers are clinched around the brush for hours. Yes, take breaks. Shake your hands to loosen them back up. Run warm water over them. 

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If you use the computer a lot, try learning to use the mouse with your non-dominant hand. It will save your good hand for the important stuff--clay work, of course.  BTW, I love your underglaze work you are a really talented artist.

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guinea, you have to take all the advice above and actually do something. thank you for starting this, all the advice is great.  you are helping other people just by posting the question. i am going to get the warming gloves as soon as i get done here.  and get extra large ones for my feet.  taller work surfaces make a huge difference.  and getting up and down frequently is a good way to work, too.

 

my former neighbor is a massage therapist.  she pointed out to me the nerve that runs through the area we called the "funny bone" at my elbow.  she manipulated it somehow and my hand stopped having spasms.  and to prevent having another i no longer make fish in my palm. having to peel my right hand fingers back from the taco shell they had formed on their own was a wake up call.  she also said that anyone can ask a therapist for help with a specific problem and be told where on the body a helpful nerve runs.

 

there was one at a clay center open house who did hand massage.  she fixed my hand after i had stupidly tried to open a sliding window while lying in bed and reaching backwards over my head.  i now use a bamboo back scratcher to do that since the window is my headboard.

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D'awww, gee guys...

 

Thank you all so much. Seriously. I was amazed there were so many replies! ^_^ I feel the love and am a happy guinea.

 

I have some epsom salts and I'm gonna soak my paws in them. My back is just something I gotta deal with--I'm going in for an MRI on Tuesday, actually, to get my spine re-checked. Been feeling some numbness in my legs every now and again, so...I'm a worried little rodent. :'(

 

Crusty's lettuce comment sent me into fits of laughter. :D We guineas demand veggies!

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Aww crap Guinea. I'm so sorry. I just saw your post over in the "challenge" thread that you don't like to be addressed by your birth name......My bad! So, so, SO sorry! Won't happen again, I swear! :unsure:

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