Healing through Mobilization

2014-11-11 09.23.30

Handmaster Plus 3-Pack Set for hand exercise and rehabilitation. The balls and finger bands are 3 different densities. The light blue ball is the softest. I have graduated to the medium density red.

I am thrilled that my thumbs have been steadily improving in function since I started using this Handmaster hand exercise system two weeks ago in an effort to mobilize my way past thumb swelling and pain and limited range of motion. Simple things that were painful or impossible have become easier. Yay!!

2014-11-11 09.43.29

One of the numerous simple tasks that requires function of the thumb. If the thumb is swollen and painful applying pressure and pulling the knob to start the washing machine hurts.

I love simple innovations that improve quality of life. This one costs about the same as one physical therapy co-pay. I do the exercises various times during the day, sometimes while I am outside enjoying a walk. The first couple of squeezes can be a little painful but then the pain eases up. It is worth noting that the stretching of extensor muscles with resistance is as (or more) important (in my case) than the squeezing/gripping part of the exercise–effectively balancing the 18 muscles of the hands.

I am lovin’ these.


Report: Six-Weeks on AIP–Part 1


Things that are worse:

  • Right hand thumb pain and swelling, with some days better than others. Currently I am improving from a peak thumb pain setback a couple of weeks ago, but overall the right thumb swelling and range of motion limitation is worse than when I started the Paleo Approach (AIP). Sometimes I wonder if I might have “texting thumb,” tendonosis issues unrelated to RA. Not that I use my phone that much, but I wonder if it could also correlate with trackpad use–repetitive stress injury.
2014-10-03 22.02.32

Right thumb a week ago (10/6), some swelling and reduced capacity to flex (bend) at the knuckle nearest the tip of my thumb.

2014-10-11 10.34.51

Right thumb today. More swelling, more limited range of motion.

Things that are about the same:

  • Sleep quality and duration, usually great

Things that are somewhat improved:

  • Foot pain and swelling diminished. Pain/swelling is still mildly bothersome, but I can bear weight on both feet, even barefoot for short periods, without wincing
  • Dry skin diminished
  • Morning red, dry & glassy eyes diminished (possible Sjögren’s?)

Things that are much better:

  • Fatigue gone
  • Morning headaches gone
  • Periodic episodes of muscular weakness gone
  • Periodic shortness of breath gone
  • Energy level more consistently good
  • Parched mouth, excessive thirst cleared up (possible Sjögren’s?)
  • Cracked lip corners & sores gone (possible Sjögren’s?)
  • Dry lips diminished. (For years I have applied lip balm multiple times a day, now I only occasionally apply a touch of pure shea butter, maybe once every three days)
  • Successful reduction of thyroid medication from 90mg/day to 60mg/day