Ever since I turned 50, my hands have been giving me problems. First it was de Quervain’s Tendonitis, which got so bad that I was in a brace for 9 months and then had to resort to surgery. Most recently, it was trigger finger, in which my finger seemed to have a painful mind of its own, and would vibrate and snap against my will. Surgery was suggested for that, too, but how many tendons can one cut before losing functionality?
As a last resort, I went to an acupuncturist, and now my finger is fine. But during one visit I lamented that this kind of thing would keep happening to me, and I need my hands to type this blog. She told me something very interesting.
She said as we get older, we tend to curl our hands more and more, and that plays hell with one’s tendons. It made me think of a desiccated leaf in the Autumn of its life. Curling. Shriveling up.
Now, I’m no doctor, so I can’t tell you how accurate this is, but after she told me that, I began looking at people’s hands. And I did notice, in a purely unscientific way, that young people seem to hold their hands flatter than old people do.
After that, I started doing hand stretches. Bending my fingers back as much as I could. And while driving, I’d place my hands flat on the steering wheel instead of curving my fingers around it. (Of course, I only did that when it felt safe to do so. I’m not encouraging you to be reckless.)
And I’ll be darned if I’m not feeling an improvement in my hands. I mean, a serious improvement. I’m going to keep this up.
Since then, I’ve noticed I also tend to curl up in my shoulders and feet, too. I hunch over the keyboard. I curl my feet in bed. So I’m stretching those areas as well. If my work schedule weren’t so weird, I’d get back into yoga. When I did yoga, I felt great.
Still, I’m opening myself up. Flattening myself out. Flexibility is important. I wouldn’t want to shrivel up before my time.