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Thread: Handquilters.... what to do for thumb pain?

  1. #1
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    I've been handquilting 3-4 hours every day for the past couple of weeks. After a hour this morning, my thumb started hurting so I stopped to do some other things. Do any of you have that problem? What have you tried?

  2. #2
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    For me, time is the only thing that helped.

  3. #3
    Super Member CloverPatch's Avatar
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    yep, bout all you can do is rest it. I have found way to change the way I sew, but it usually just means I end up with more sore parts. They best thing to do is rest it and let it heal. Very hard to do, i usually piece during those times.

  4. #4
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    I don't know. My thumbs don't give me any problems. Must be that we each have a different way in hand quilting. Sometimes my left hand right under the thumb hurts (arthritis) :(

  5. #5
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    Quilting doesn't bother my thumb. Sometimes my wrist will hurt, mostly from using a mouse on the computer, in which case I start wearing a wrist cast to keep it straight. I stop quilting for a while, too.

    You might try aspirin or Tylenol, and then rest it.

    Janet

  6. #6
    Senior Member denise d's Avatar
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    I recently started getting thumb pain while quilting, but I am not sure why.

    I took a couple of days off and took some NSAIDs. It felt better, but I have projects to finish, so yesterday I quilted again... today it hurts.
    :(

  7. #7
    Super Member cctx.'s Avatar
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    Wash dishes tonight in warm water, that should work some.

  8. #8
    Super Member klgreene's Avatar
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    I see a chiropractor. It's amazing what they can do. I very recently fell off my sewing chair. Dumb move! I thought I sprained my wrist, so just wrapped it. After almost two weeks the pain was still there so just went to my chiropractor. It was jammed, he sneeked up on me and unjammed it ( that was yesterday) today, I am going to do some sewing, which I haven't been able to do for almost two weeks. He adjusted my fingers as well. No pills, no doctor telling me it would take a while to get better....just and adjustment and I feel really good. Works on my shoulders too after sewing to long.

  9. #9
    Super Member seamstome's Avatar
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    Soak your hands in warm dishwater or go to Bed Bath and Beyond and buy a parafin bath. Usually used with manicures if you know a hairdresser, she might have one.

    You put your hands in the warm parafin and it coats your hands with a wax. The wax will hold heat in. Will soothe the joint.

    Or you can use a thumb plica splint when you are not quilting to allow it to totally rest. This looks like a carpal tunnel brace with a plastic insert that molds to your thumb. The splint holds your thumb.

    Of course you can take something like Advil and use icy-hot or Biofreeze.

    Finally try taking some hylaronic acid. Injuv is a popular brand name.

    And you can certainly go the to chiropractor if it is jammed :-D If it is inflamed, I usually prescribe acupuncture versus adjusting.

  10. #10
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    Acupuncture is a wonder! Highly recommend it. We have a wonderful GP in town that also does acupuncture. I get a gangleon cyst on my right hand above wrist if I do alot of handwork for a week..paraffin and brace helps alot.

  11. #11
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    Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or Aleve if is is otherwise ok for you. Rest and 20" on, 20" off, 20" on of ice. These are to reduce the inflammation, which is causing pain. Chiropractic, acupuncture, CST also likely to be helpful.

  12. #12
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    I'm a reflexologist, so I am coming from that direction. Have someone massage your hand, using a drop of olive oil to reduce friction. His thumbs should be on the back of your hand, his fingers doing little rotations on the palm. Then, his fingertips should stroke the palm, wrist to knuckles. This should be relaxing. Next he should make circles on the pad below the thumb. Press with index finger and thumb between your index finger and thumb in the fatty area. It may hurt- a little pain is alright, don't get carried away. The pressure can be constant, or he can press and let go several times.

    Still with me. Have him use his thumb and index finger to stroke between the long bones on the backside of the hand (one finger on back of hand, other on palm). He should now be able to crack your knuckles easily as he lightly twists your fingers a little.

    He then runs a finger or thumb on the underside of your arm from your wrist (near thumb) along the bone about half way up the forearm. You'll find sore spots. He should massage your forearm.

    Stretch your hands, opening them up and closing them several times. Next, massage from the base of the skull to the center of the upper back. With all of this done, lie on the floor facing the ceiling. Put your arms out so you resemble the letter "t". Bring arms straight up so the hands meet. Drop back into the t. Do this twenty times.

  13. #13
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    Biofreeze works well for me. A little more expensive but worth it! Just takes a little and you don't have to rub it in.

  14. #14
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    Rest & aleve!

  15. #15
    Senior Member bunniequilter's Avatar
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    Keep at it and it will go away.

  16. #16
    Super Member IBQUILTIN's Avatar
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    Cobroxin gel - get it at Walgreens. Greatest stuff out there

  17. #17
    Member barney's Avatar
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    I find exercise is the best solution (for almost everything). I use a tennis ball to squeeze and flex the fingers and it helps a lot.

  18. #18
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    WoW!! You all have a lot of wonderful suggestions. I rested it yesterday..... did dishes in hot water, massaged the hand and did flexing exercises. It feels some better this morning. The joint right next to my wrist is always tender and if I knit it will get so sore that I can hardly move it. So, something is going on in there. I probably will check with a chiropractor or my medical dr. Thanks you guys..... you all always have great suggestions for what to do.

  19. #19
    Member DoxieFive's Avatar
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    At one point, I "over did" my thumb by pulling and pushing my needle through a seam allowance. My thumb really hurt for quite a while. Now I have a small pair of pliers that I use for tugging the needle through difficult areas. This helps a lot.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by klgreene
    I see a chiropractor. It's amazing what they can do. I very recently fell off my sewing chair. Dumb move! I thought I sprained my wrist, so just wrapped it. After almost two weeks the pain was still there so just went to my chiropractor. It was jammed, he sneeked up on me and unjammed it ( that was yesterday) today, I am going to do some sewing, which I haven't been able to do for almost two weeks. He adjusted my fingers as well. No pills, no doctor telling me it would take a while to get better....just and adjustment and I feel really good. Works on my shoulders too after sewing to long.


    I like your curing method. I know that many people truly don't believe in chiropractors, but I know from experience that they were my blessing more than once. No pill can cure everything. I go regularly just to keep myself in shape. Oh, yes, I also go the a regular MD, depending on the circumstance. They both have their place. My opinion of course. Marge

  21. #21
    Super Member chamby's Avatar
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    While on this subject ladies. What finger cot do you recommend for your thumb while hand quilting? I have been using the fingers out of platex gloves but I seem to continue to stick my thumb.

  22. #22
    Super Member abdconsultant's Avatar
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    My hand surgeon told me the first sign of arthritis can show up in the thumbs which radiates up the arm, go get an injection of cortizone hurts like heck, but then its ok for 6 to 24 weeks.

  23. #23
    Super Member lisalovesquilting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chamby
    While on this subject ladies. What finger cot do you recommend for your thumb while hand quilting? I have been using the fingers out of platex gloves but I seem to continue to stick my thumb.
    I use the rubber cots that are use at the post office or in offices for sorting papers. You can get them at Office Depot or stores like that.

  24. #24
    Super Member hairquilt's Avatar
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    Oh Maura, just reading your post made me almost slide out of my chair I got so relaxed just thinking about it!

  25. #25
    Super Member Baloonatic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by klgreene
    I see a chiropractor. It's amazing what they can do. I very recently fell off my sewing chair. Dumb move! I thought I sprained my wrist, so just wrapped it. After almost two weeks the pain was still there so just went to my chiropractor. It was jammed, he sneeked up on me and unjammed it ( that was yesterday) today, I am going to do some sewing, which I haven't been able to do for almost two weeks. He adjusted my fingers as well. No pills, no doctor telling me it would take a while to get better....just and adjustment and I feel really good. Works on my shoulders too after sewing to long.
    So, you fell off your sewing chair...I hope you didn't spill any of the wine on your quilt project dearie!

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