Alex Ries

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imagine Nation -

How a sec­ond opin­ion got to the root of this artist's pain

What was the prob­lem?

It be­gan with an ache at the base of my thumb, and de­vel­oped into shoot­ing pains in my hand. Then the pain mi­grated up­wards. Some days the area around the shoul­der blade was so painful I was un­able to sleep. I never dis­cov­ered the cause, but it seems my work­sta­tion was too low for my height, which re­sulted in bad pos­ture.

How did you treat it?

I went to a phys­io­ther­a­pist, who di­ag­nosed early stage carpal tun­nel syn­drome. I was re­ferred to a hand sur­geon who per­formed X-rays and more phys­io­ther­apy. This went on for months and cost a con­sid­er­able sum of money, but had no ef­fect. I then went to a new prac­ti­tioner whose stud­ied my shoul­der area, now the fo­cus of much of the pain. I was sent to a sports clinic, which con­ducted MRI scans and X-rays, and dis­cov­ered a mi­nor cer­vi­cal disc her­ni­a­tion. The hand pain had been caused by the spinal cord in my neck send­ing pain down my arm. My work­place had my desk re­built un­der the su­per­vi­sion of an oc­cu­pa­tional ther­a­pist, who sent me to a neu­ro­sur­geon. I was told to stop all phys­io­ther­apy ex­er­cises and to sleep on my back with­out a pil­low to straighten my neck. The pain then rapidly dis­ap­peared.

What’s your ad­vice for any­one suf­fer­ing sim­i­lar prob­lems?

Pain in your drawing hand might have its ori­gins in the spine, so have your work­sta­tion care­fully set up and your pos­ture cor­rect. You might have to get a fourth opin­ion to find the cause of a prob­lem. See an­other spe­cial­ist if you aren’t mak­ing any progress, and en­sure that they look at your whole body, not just the lo­ca­tion of the pain.

Alex is an illustrator and con­cept artist who spe­cialises in bi­ol­ogy, zo­ol­ogy and re­al­world tech­nol­ogy.

www.alexries.com

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