Oh the pain. - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-24-2008, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
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Oh the pain.

So I'm 38 which to me is still young I guess, but my back and hands tell a different story some days. Anyone else have a back that when it goes out can bring tears to your eyes? How bout a pain in your wrists (it alternates) that barely allows you to make a fist, let alone use tools.

Fortunately the back problem was resolved 80% once I stopped putting a wallet in my back pocket, but the damage will always remain and I still have to be careful. It usually doesn't go out when I'm lifting, believe it or not I can do it bending over to brush my teeth.

The wrist pain I have no ideas, maybe carple tunnel?
PS, I loath the doctors office, so no I haven't had anything checked out. That would be too easy. Besides how else am I supposed to con the wife into a massage?

I guess until something falls off I'll keep the little blue pills going on the really bad days.

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post #2 of 13 Old 12-24-2008, 06:51 PM
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Take care of that back, or the little blue pills won't do you a bit of good. Go see the doctor. At your age, everyone has back pains from time to time. You have to learn how to manage them when they show up and what to do to try and avoid them. Once I retired from the fire service, my back has gotten better. My doctor told me part of that comes with age. Once you hit close to fifty, you start getting arthritis which does away with some of the back pain, but compromises flexability. I haven't noticed that so much. I normally do some brief stretching exercises each morning before I get out of bed. Helps immensely. Wrist pain could be the start of C/T, again, go see your doctor. Catch it before it gets any worse.
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post #3 of 13 Old 12-24-2008, 07:30 PM
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You may hate Doctors but as stated - at your age you should not be having those kind of problems. Back pain is something that can stay with you the rest of your life if not taken care of - I have a crushed disc in my back and it effects me about the way you stated, except when I go down - its for 3 days at a time. As far as your hands and wrist - carpel tunnel - is nothing to sneeze at. If you keep dropping things, your fingers go numb - and you have neck pain - you could very well have carpel tunnel. Neck pain - as was explained to me - your pain can transmit up and it will go to the back of your neck - with my operation on both hands - the neck pain stopped - about 90% of the hand pain except - you never get back your ability to use your hands like you once did - so take care of yourself - there are certain things we only one or two of - as you get even older - you need all the help you can get.


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post #4 of 13 Old 12-24-2008, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I agree these things are something that should not be just bandage up with OTC drugs and a grin and bear it attitude, but the dark truth is that when business dropped off (almost two years ago now) I could no longer swing the benefits so I'm on my own for the time being.

My wife and son are covered, but I've been taking my chances. It stinks when you build a modest life around a steady economy and then the faucet suddenly gets turned off. Going back to a full time job with bennies isn't an option because the pay is not there and from what I understand, the jobs aren't either.

The lowest quote I got for health ins. for a family of three was somewhere in the area of $1300 a month. It's amazing how much we take for granted the things that have always been. I've already bandaged myself up a few times and definitley don't go running to the doc for the flu.

From what I hear though, our new president is going to fix it...

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post #5 of 13 Old 12-24-2008, 09:09 PM
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I know the feeling. At 40 my eyes starting getting bad. I have artharitic in my back as well. It doesn't affect lifting much as I work as hard as I allways have. I can lift the 80lbs bags of ready mix all day long and not be sore the next day. Somewhere around 40 is when my C/T set in to both hands. It started by me dropping tools alot. Then it was the hands going numb. Then the palm side of the arms swelling and hurting to the point I couldn't rest my arms on the arm of my recliner. Yea I went to the doctor. He said you have C/T, quit doing what you do and take an Aleve once a day. Well I quit using a hammer and a screwdriver and most of my problems went away. I use a cordless driver and screw everything. I still have a hammer in my tool box, but it's just for looks. The palm sander still give me a fit though. Yep getting old itsn't any fun.

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post #6 of 13 Old 12-24-2008, 09:26 PM
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Don't feel too bad. I'm 39 and two years ago I was put into the hospital and told I had a bad heart. No heart attack but it wasn't pumping like it's supposed to. After about a week in they got my medication figured out and sent me home with a strict no salt diet. It's been almost two years and my heart is back to within normal range. I can have salt again but really need to watch it, you know stay away from processed stuff and never pick up a salt shaker.

I didn't have any insurance and racked up a $20,000.00 dollar doctor and hospital bill. I'm making payments. Don't like it but what other choice do I have.

I still have to support my family. Work is getting scarce but like everyone else a normal job won't pay the bills. It doesn't take much to survive but a 9 to 5 won't cut it.

Do one thing at a time, do it well, then move on.
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post #7 of 13 Old 12-25-2008, 07:33 PM
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Well I can't help but throw my two cents worth in here....

It is my firm belief that the profession you chose when you (we) were young men has a huge impact on how well your body holds up. Spend your days in a cube farm where the most strenuous thing you do is lift a new jug of water up to the cooler, and chances are you'll never go through most of the things some of us have.

Mike can tell you....spend anything like 20 or 30 years in the fire service like he, Jeremy and I have, or in construction, or in labor or roofing or many of the other physically demanding trades, and you'll begin to feel it every day you get out of bed (right Mike? Jeremy?). In my 21 years so far, I've had a lumbar disc injury, rotator cuff tear and surgery repair, and not to mention the cumulative occupational diseases in the fire service.

Therefore, I consider every morning that I come home to my wife and kids and can get out to the shop on two feet, upright is a true blessing. I pray for the next nine years to go as fast as the last 21, and that I emerge relatively unscathed and generally healthy and ready to enjoy my retirement beginning at age 50. I think I will have earned it....

best wishes and safe and prosperous New Year to everyone!
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post #8 of 13 Old 12-25-2008, 09:25 PM
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hernias are a young man's disease - watch yourself.
spinal pain is miserable. i crushed a disc in my neck playing judo... i was in hospital in japan for a month and then flew to california to get laproscopic surgery - where they stick little cameras and tools in and cut away the herniation. surgery was great, but things will never be perfect. neck pain comes and goes.... no more heavy lifting (let alone judo) and most importantly, all lifting has to be close to my body. tools with a lot of torque - routers etc - sometimes play havoc. massages help some, but since the problem is with the disc and nerves, muscle massage only does so much. still... it *is* a massage... maybe that's why I live where i live!
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post #9 of 13 Old 12-26-2008, 12:08 AM
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Back pain can also be a precursor to many other things not necessarily muscle related. See a Doc. I see a DC from time to time for my back, works for me. Not sure if our male species was intended to walk totally upright , seems like most have back problems after 40+ ...
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post #10 of 13 Old 12-26-2008, 05:38 AM
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I would add, in conjunction with what Larrysch above says, that you want to know whether it is a hand problem radiating up to your neck, or a neck problem radiating down to your hands. your neck vertebrae, esp. around C6-C7, are notorious for sending pain, tingling and numbness down to your hands. Take a vacation to Thailand or Cuba, and get an MRI (vacation then pays for itself!)... see if those discs are bulging or what.
also, my wallet is so flat, I can't imagine it'd be a source of trouble!
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post #11 of 13 Old 12-26-2008, 06:21 AM
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A very young man like you should not be having those physical problems. If you do not get them diagnosed now and get a handle on them you will have much worse in the future.

Many back problems can be kept in check (if not close to cured) by the proper exercise. Twenty years ago I was having bouts of severe pain down my right buttocks and leg. It was so bad that when the pain hit I had to immediately sit down. At the time I owned a feed and seed store and was in the habit of carrying 50 pound sacks of feed and hay bales on my shoulder. I was in pretty decent condition.

I had the problem diagnosed. It was discs L5 and S1 becoming too friendly with each other. The doctor sent me to a physical therapist who put me on an exercise program. To this day I continue those exercises and keep the problem in control. Another less severe back problem I have is being kept in control with ice packs and exercise.Obviously not all problems can be controlled with exercise, but most can be moderated.

As already stated, the pain in the wrist could be any number of things. You are a little young for arthritis but it could be. There are some natural "remedies" that help with some arthritis, but usually these do not offer a cure. I have found that Glucosamine Chondroitin/MSM can be a help. For some reason in my case they seem to help the joints on the left side of my body more than the right side.

I guess that after all of that rambling my message is that you need to get a diagnosis. Then depending upon the results you can make a decision as to how to proceed. I understand that currently finances are limited, but delay could cause many, many future problems. You may also find that treatment could be relatively inexpensive.

My best wishes to you and your family.

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post #12 of 13 Old 12-26-2008, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the advice. You guys gave me some interesting perspective on an otherwise annoying problem. Fortunately it is something that doesn't plague me (yet) every day, and I have eliminated some things that I've become aware of being a catalyst for the discomfort. One of those things is doing any kind of work from a ladder for hours on end. When I use to do a lot of exterior trim work, I'd spend a couple days on a ladder and noticed this was one of the biggest offenders. Another was sitting at the PC for too long in a bad chair. (Since being married I don't do that anymore...cough!)

A trip to the doc is in line as soon as I can find one who maybe needs some nice cabinet work done in their office (sarcasm). I agree this could only get worse, but like most people, I only think about it on the days it's bothering me. Stress is another huge factor in all of this. I'm very aware that when the stress level goes up, so does the back and neck pain.

Thanks again.

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post #13 of 13 Old 12-28-2008, 02:20 AM
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I think it's criminal that you can't get affordable health insurance. I won't start on that rant (because I won't stop).

Anyways, the only other thing I wanted to say is that--if anything--heat can be a great asset to your back. While it sounds like an overly simplistic and obvious home remedy, the benefits from the increased circulation it causes cannot be overlooked.

Good luck, -SW
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