Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Changes and questions

You may have noticed the photo in my title header at the top of my blog. Blame laze for not having a header image until now; it's something I've been meaning to do for several years. Yesterday one of my best friends in the world, Patty, showed me her new blog about her life as an actor in LA, and I was inspired by the photo in her header to take the time to look in my photo library for an appropriate image.

The current image is a photo my friend took of me two years ago during a marathon cooking session, chopping up a storm and breaking down chickens and whatnot. Now that I cook for a living, it seems rather appropriate. I'm not sure I dig the size of the photo, but I'm tweaking the html so bear with me. I'm also test-driving some new features around these parts. Change is good.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering if there are any cooks out there who have advice about the wrist and finger pain I've been having due to kitchen work. Have you experienced this? Barring painkillers, are there any ways to alleviate the pain (stretches, wrist supports, etc)? Are wrist supports even practical in kitchens? Any help would be much appreciated.


ariel88 said...

I'm not a cook, but I've found that yoga helps with wrist pain from things like typing and other tedious things involving my hands (I work in a lab). I find that having to support most of your body weight on your hands in a lot of the poses does a great job of stretching out the ligaments around my wrists.

conoat said...

I agree with ariel. also, since i use my hands to make my living aswell, I know that keeping them in working order keeps me eating! that being said, I hit the gym a lot so Im sure that helps, if you dont have time for that, I would get one of those springy hand exercisers or a stress ball and when youre watching tv or not doing anything just make it a habit to use it. In no time youre for arms(where all the muscles that operate your hands and fingers are) will be conditioned and strong enough for a night of endless prep.

Anonymous said...

Take ibuprofen or use an icepack for the swelling. Those are growing pains. Your fingers and wrists will become stronger (especially your saute hand) and the pain will cease.

~Carrie-Carrie~ said...

eek i hurt my wrist at work when i first started too - i got a wrist brace, and took some nsaids. Don't take too much nsaids though, they're bad for your liver, but i wear my brace once in awhile - whenever i feel it bothering me.

And no, there is no brace comfortable enough for the kitchen. The brace i had completely immoblized my wrist and thumb. It was totally un-rad.

Jassmond said...

I miss the work but I don't miss the pain. I used to have a shot of grappa an hour before I was supposed to be awake, down a litre of Lurisia and do mock push ups to stretch my wrists out. Follow this with an extra 50 minutes of sleep and at least you'll feel indulgent if not better.

I came up with a wrist stretching tooth brushing regime as well but it would be hard to describe.

Jill-O said...

You could have de Quervain's tenosynovitis. How can you tell? Make a fist with your hand and then tuck your thumb under your other fingers, pull gently on the thumb with your other fingers. Feel excruciating pain? Then you have de Quervain's. I'm getting over it these days, but it has taken about 6-7 months and I still feel it sometimes. I don't wear my brace much anymore, but I still often wake up with stiff fingers.

What I did/Dr. told me to do: Take 3 ibuprofen 3x/day for a few weeks (if you can handle it) and get a brace to wear when not at work (even at night in bed). Careful with the yoga, I go regularly, but had to wear the brace for months, even on class.

Ingrid said...

Thank you all for your advice! I had no idea there were so many wrist pain sufferers out there.
@conoat: I'm looking into getting a stress ball, sounds like a good practice.
@Carrie: That sucks about the wrist brace! I was hoping it wouldn't be too bad, but then I remembered how annoying it is to have a band aid on during service, much less a full wrist brace.
@Jill-O: I don't think I have de Quervain's... I tried the thumb under the fingers thing and I don't feel pain. The pain usually comes in my knuckles when I try to make a normal fist with my left hand (my saute hand). I may look into getting a brace for outside of work though.

amelia said...

I've been a line cook for seven years and I just came from the orthropod's office... It's tendonitis. A swelling in your fingers and a difficulty gripping things? Like opening jars? I know where you're at. My doctor says wrist braces. More at the end of the night than during your shift, to rest the tendons. There's also a prescription anti-flammatory cream they can give you. None of the nasty NSAID side effects, goes right to the problem because you just rub it in your hands.

I'm trying to track down a rumor that there's a food-safe wrist brace... I'll let you know if I do. (I graduated Western Culinary in '03, so enjoy Portland, I miss it!)