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Author Topic: Arm updates  (Read 23105 times)
« on: October 19, 2014, 05:24:50 PM »

Chaotic Neutral Cartoon Gray Fox Mage
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Virmir
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Hello!

Very many people ask me how my arms are doing on a very frequent basis.  Here is a status update and general arm facts.

- There are a great many ups and downs, and progress cannot be measured on a day to day, or even week to week basis.  Doctors' appointments and tests are scheduled many weeks apart, so there are usually no new developments except on a month to month basis.

- Comparing this month to last, the right arm is definitely better.

- For the past two months or so, I've been extremely light on the right arm.  Whether it is actually healing or just feels better because I haven't been using it is up in the air.

- It has been suggested that there may be a pinched nerve in the right elbow or something.  I have an appointment with a specialist about this and will likely need more tests to confirm.  I probably won't know for sure for another several weeks.

- Much of my inactivity is actually due to my left arm.  Doing my day job, drawing, and especially one handed typing all with my left are extremely taxing and cause it to hurt sometimes, so I have to cut back while the right is still in " no use" mode.  (I write longer posts such as this using voice recognition, by the way.)

If in the upcoming weeks I receive adequate evidence that not using the right arm is helping it heal, I will continue to do so.  However, if not, I will go back to light usage like I was doing in August and save strain on the left.

I will try to provide an update at least once a month or so!
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Gray Fox Virmir
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2014, 05:29:39 PM »

Chaotic Neutral Cartoon Gray Fox Mage
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Virmir
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I had an MRI done on the right elbow, which was normal, meaning no damage to the tendon.  Because an earlier EMG (nerve test) was also normal, the specialist I'm seeing is thinking the tendon is becoming inflamed due to the abnormality with my arms that some people here may know about.  Basically my radius and ulna are fused in both arms, meaning I cannot turn my wrists upside down.  The shape of the bones are slightly weird two, apparently.  This has never bothered me before though, so I'm not so sure this is the real problem myself.

Currently the plan is to try a new anti inflammatory medication for a month and see if that makes a difference.  I'll also be easing back into drawing a bit more and seeing how that goes.
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Gray Fox Virmir
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2014, 06:13:57 PM »

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Selden
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I prescribe a splitting headache for the radius and ulna.
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2014, 08:50:08 AM »

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JohnAdams
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Haven’t seen an update in this section for a bit – has the arm actually started to become a little better or are you still in the same type of discomfort as before? I would wager that this is actually just enough to make you want to pull your hair out, very frustrating.
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2014, 10:00:59 PM »

Chaotic Neutral Cartoon Gray Fox Mage
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Better than where I was a month ago probably, but still have a ways to go yet.
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Gray Fox Virmir
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2015, 12:30:59 AM »

Chaotic Neutral Cartoon Gray Fox Mage
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Virmir
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I figure I should make a fact post to cover all the things I went over in chat the other day and elaborate some more.

What I definitely have

I've always had radioulnar synostosis, which means my radius and ulna are fused.  This means I can't rotate my wrists from palm down to palm up.  This has never really caused any pain or problems for me before besides it being awkward accepting change.

My current symptoms

Right arm-- This is my drawing arm and where it started.  Primarily pain in the elbow on the inside, occasionally moving up the arm to the wrist (although the wrist has not been bothering me lately) and very often the middle and ring fingers.  Doing pretty much anything at all with these fingers, sometimes also involving the pointer finger, causes pain in these fingers and/or the elbow.  Elbow and wrist movement also aggravate it.  Pain also comes and goes randomly.  I've taken to taping my pointer, middle, and ring fingers together often to avoid provoking them.  Fortunately the thumb does not seem to be affected, so I can still grasp things somewhat.

Left arm-- Not as bad as the right, but gives me trouble as well.  This one has pain randomly on both the outside and inside of the elbow.  I'm sure the pain on the outside is from straining it back in July overcompensating for the right.  Unfortunately it's pretty much impossible to completely rest this arm since I have to live somehow.  Recently it started showing symptoms similar to the right, including the finger pain, which is when I decided to put the full stop on drawing.  If you don't see me in chat on any particular day, it's because the left arm is bothering me too much despite the foot pedals and voice recognition, since I don't touch the computer with the right hand at all.

What the specialist thinks

Most doctors that I've seen admit to having no clue what is going on.  MRIs and EMG (nerve tests) have come up normal.  The specialist I most recently saw thinks that the pain is from gradual wear because of the synostosis and is something I'm going to have to live with.  I'm not terribly convinced by this because doing some research on this does not suggest pain is a common thing.  Plus he was doing things like grabbing my right arm and saying "I'll bet this has been causing you pain on the outside of your elbow" and I was like "noooooo, that one is the inside."

What I think

Except for the finger pain, the right arm displays a lot of characteristics similar to what I've read about medial epicondylitis, or "golfer's elbow".  The left arm additionally seems like both this and lateral epicondylitis, or "tennis elbow".  Reading accounts of these, it's not uncommon for these conditions to take up to 12 to 18 months to heal.  I also see some similar reports of doctors not knowing what to do when confronted by these symptoms.  There is probably something additional going on with the fingers, especially since many videos of stretching exercises I've seen involve a wrist stretch where the wrist is pulled back by grabbing the fingers with the other hand.  Trying this caused significant pain for me way back in June, so definitely won't be trying this again.  It's possible that because of the synostosis, some tendons are weaker than normal or something.  Another problem is that many of the exercises out there to help treat these elbow problems require rotating the wrist, which I can't do.

The current plan

It has been seven months since I was first afflicted with these problems.  I've taken a few several week long breaks, but have been mostly continuing to lightly draw during that time.  I've stopped drawing completely for the past month, however, and to be honest have not been pleased with the results (although to be fair, the recent bump in the road was probably caused by stepping up the drawing too quickly in December).  However, I plan on taking at least another full month off before making any decisions.  In the worst case scenario, I'm going to just grin and bear it and draw anyway, but that would be several months of no improvement first.

Really, I just need one arm to completely heal and I'll be fine!
« Last Edit: January 23, 2015, 12:32:35 AM by Virmir » Logged

Gray Fox Virmir
« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2015, 04:54:14 AM »

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Fragmaster01
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Is there any issue in the shoulder area or neck? What sort of pain is it? Stabbing? Numbing? Throbbing? Does it seem to radiate from a specific point? Or just bounce about up and down the arm?

Also, now is the time to consider investing in sweet robotic fox arms, so that you can be one with the future.
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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2015, 12:04:44 PM »

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yarrick
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If it is tennis or golfer's elbow, you may be able to get a brace or something to help relieve it. My dad had golfer's elbow a few years ago, I'll check with him to see if there is anything he recommends.
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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2015, 11:50:03 PM »

Chaotic Neutral Cartoon Gray Fox Mage
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Virmir
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No pain in the shoulder or neck.  More of a dull pain when its in the elbow.  Can be tingly in the fingers.

Have been wearing braces on both elbows for nearly the whole time now.  They do help a little.  Unfortunately I'm now dependent on them as the pain gets much worse if I leave them off for a period of time.  Fortunately they are not a big deal to wear.

Going to get some robotic tentacles too while I'm at it.
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Gray Fox Virmir
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2015, 02:13:53 PM »

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Fragmaster01
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Yeah, that suggests some level of tendonitis. Does it change at all when taking anti-inflammatories(ibuprofen, naproxen) or anti-allergy(loratadine, benadryl)?
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« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2015, 11:05:19 PM »

Chaotic Neutral Cartoon Gray Fox Mage
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Virmir
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Anti-inflammatories possibly help a little.  I've been taking some prescription stuff for the past couple of months.
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Gray Fox Virmir
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2015, 05:58:55 PM »

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Fragmaster01
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Here is a general smattering of all sorts of therapy stuff: http://tendinosis.org/current.shtml

Now fill yourself with health! Sell your pain on the black market, for cash.
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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2015, 10:34:56 PM »

Chaotic Neutral Cartoon Gray Fox Mage
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Virmir
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Seems to mostly be info I've found already, but I'll give this a read and see if there's anything new here.  Happy Gray Fox
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Gray Fox Virmir
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2015, 05:35:07 PM »

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Fragmaster01
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Are you slowly improving? Do you fill with the passion of a reborn fox? If not, please assemble a list of tendons and/or ligaments to bludgeon into happiness. The beatings will continue until morale improves.
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2015, 11:04:30 PM »

Chaotic Neutral Cartoon Gray Fox Mage
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Virmir
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Right arm--no real improvement.  Although on the plus side I have been slowly increasing the exercises I've been doing from physical therapy (I had stopped completely for a few months to see if they were actually causing pain, but that was a mistake as the arm got incredibly weak during that time) and apart from squeezing the ball (which still causes significant pain if done more than just marginally), the arm is a little stronger now and not getting worse.

Left arm--perhaps some slight improvement, although really only the past week and there continue to be ups and downs, so too early to see.

The current plan is to continue as I've been doing throughout March except I'm going to start scheduling 30 to 60 minute drawing sessions for each arm once per week because it's not good to go too long without drawing and I don't think such short sessions spaced out like that will affect healing time much.

Actually when I do my exercise sessions every other day, at the end I've been slapping on a strict 5 minute drawing session with my left hand only (the right is not ready yet).  During the past two months I've almost got page 337 sketched!
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Gray Fox Virmir
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