I have small hands. A pair of small hands can only be so strong. In addition, my hands are weak. In high school I did things that require frequent hand strength. I maneuvered my fingers over a flute for three music classes per day. I strummed my hands over a guitar at nights at home. For homework I typed essays with my hands and for procrastination I typed Facebook posts. I also did lots of yoga (downward dog can be harsh on the Weak Hand) and played bowling.
By the end of high school I was having symptoms of carpal tunnel. I could no longer play flute without feeling tingling sensations, trembles, and overall discomfort, in my hands. I tested for carpal tunnel, but the results were negative. I met a series of doctors and physical therapists who attempted to help me by giving me certain exercises to do and new hand-wear to wear (wrist guards, bands, etc.)
I graduated from a performing arts high school for playing the flute. I stopped playing it shortly after. My carpal tunnel symptoms soon began to fade. I spent the summer doing less hand activity than I had ever not done before. I was mentally preparing to leave my Life As I Knew It for a college life in Maine. I left my flute, guitar, bowling ball, and sun salutation in the basement. It’s been over three years since. Although my hand problems disappeared from my mind, they never actually left my body. I only stopped continuously aggravating them. In reality, I never discovered what the problem was behind my weak hands and I never found a solution.
This past winter my father’s chiropractor examined my arms and hands and told me that they are the arms of an eighty-year-old. I am twenty, and this is horrifying to be told. The chiropractor found excessive amounts of fibrotic tissues in my forearms, triceps, shoulders, and neck. These types of fibrotic changes are common in the muscles of long distance endurance athletes. But I was never an athlete. The chiropractor felt the muscles in my arms and explained to me that my muscles have lost mass and are weak, that they are unbelievably tight and need to be loosened up. He taught me some exercises I can do to help build up my arm strength, as well as open up its tense tissue. After a month of his exercises, my hands have been feeling better.
Currently I have been doing exercises to try to help make my weak hands strong. I have incorporated these exercises into our January wellness calendar. I am proud of the maintenance I have been doing for my hands as they have truly done so much for me. I will do some hand exercises after I finish this sentence!