Thursday, 10 April 2014

Epicondylitis - Breaking It Down!

The best part of my job is when I see the theory of bodywork being applied into every day living. There is no point reading all the books, learning all the techniques, getting to the lectures and hanging out with the cool kids in the industry unless it changes the way people look after their bodies.

Yesterday I was reading Lilith's blog on her website Old Maiden Aunt and seeing that her Doctor had diagnosed Epicondylitis in her arm and so she was having to cut back her work by half. Not good at all as Lilith is a wonderfully talented dyer of luxury yarn and I love her work - she needs to keep going, so this blog is dedicated to her!

If you have Epicondylitis, all of this is relevant to you as well; go make a mug of something you like and sit down for a good read!

Today we are applying some nerdy anatomy and home-care treatments to a common problem that keen knitters, spinners and dyers experience - epicondylitis. 

As many of you know, I love to knit! A couple of years back I wrote a blog all about Tennis Elbow based around my knitting a sock. Well, Lateral Epicondylitis is treated just like Tennis Elbow. So why am I writing on the subject again? Well, it's a big long techie word that would be nice it if was broken down a bit.

You have two Epicondyles in your arm; a lateral (outside) and medial (inside). They are just above your elbow in your humorous, or upper arm bone. These tiny bits of protruding bone form the attachment sights for you forearm muscles that link into your hand and finger tendons.

The Lateral Epicondyle gives a home to your Common Extensor Tendon, which is the thick band of tissue that runs into the muscle fiber of your Extensor group. You can see them move on the hairy part of your arm and these are the beasts that cause Tennis Elbow. They allow you to bring your hand upwards in a 'Halt' sign and stretch your fingers out.

The Medial Epicondyle is where you find the Common Flexor Tendon. This tendon flows into your flexor group on the inside of the arm allowing you to clench your fist and bring your hand bring your hand inwards. When the Common Flexor Tendon gets grumpy with life you find you get Golfers Elbow.

So, we now know what an Epicondyle is and that when it hurts we are feeling the tendons fire off and give pain around that area.

The last part of the word is Itis. There are loads of Itis's out there - tendonitis being one of them, but all it means it inflammation.

Putting it all together Epicondylitis simply means inflammation of the epicondyle.

Home care is really important to us knitters, spinners and dyers (of which I am simply the former). There is simply nothing better than massaging it out each day; not just around the elbow, but also the forearm, wrist and hand, as well as the upper arm and shoulders. I personally like using Arnica Oil as it is a very nurturing, herbal based oil that can help with chronic pain (pain that is present for anything over a few weeks).

Chronic Pain takes a bit of time to get on top of. Rest surly helps, but the massage and the added benefit of heat also helps to improve things and take the pain down, relaxing the muscles and aiding the flow of blood and lymph to the area to help remove all the rubbish.

For other tips I put together the blog Happy, Healthy Crafting last year. It's aimed for us hobby crafters, but after re-reading it if you are in the creative/textile industry at all there are habits mentioned that can easily be built in to improve your over all wellness on a daily working basis. The only habit I would add is the massage daily if you are using your hands this much, as 10 minutes at the end of each day is a small amount of time to dedicate to keeping your income flowing!

I hope that this has helped break down the mystery of the long words, given you some food for thought and helped you on your way to helping yourself!

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