Sore, Stiff, Swollen Hands

Discussion in 'Health and Medical Topics' started by csengineer13, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. csengineer13

    csengineer13 New Member

    I have been working at UPS for a little over a month now, and I have come to the obvious realization that it's not an easy job. I am a loader, and I am constantly receiving nicks and bruises from our incredibly :censored2::censored2::censored2::censored2:ty rollers -- which I'm fine with. However, I can't get over how stiff, sore, and swollen my hands are every morning. On both hands, my hands are swollen in the morning, have limited range, and hurt to use when I attempt to grasp anything or stretch. It is particularly bad on my right hand where my scanner constantly bangs/digs into my knuckles -- leaving an array of cuts and severe bruising. I tried using gloves for a while, but the volume of packages my PD handles had them ruined and unusable in less than a week.

    Any/all help appreciated! Even simple tricks and tips :-)
  2. Monkey Butt

    Monkey Butt Obscured by Mirrors Staff Member

    Unless you are in your 50's, you should take this as a sign that the physical nature of a job at UPS is not compatible with your body.
    It will probably only get worse over time and maybe become a chronic health issue.
    Does arthritis run in your family?
    Do older members in your family have these same issues later in ttheir life?
  3. wkmac

    wkmac Well-Known Member

    After reading your post I got curious so I searched and found this at the Mayo Clinic website. I'm relaying it mainly for the last paragraph which gives some exercises to do that might help. Can't say it will or won't but give it a try for a week or so and see if you noticed any change for the better.
  4. gingerkat

    gingerkat Well-Known Member

    The first thing I am going to suggest is that you take a trip to the doctor. With the nicks and cuts you say you have, you very well could have an infection. If that is the case, that could be the cause of swelling. Please go see a professional to see what is happening. It could be nothing, but it could be something serious.

    As a person that has had numerous surgeries on both of her hands, you better take care of them.

    Don't ignore your body when it's screaming at you for help!
  5. DriveInDriveOut

    DriveInDriveOut This Is The Last Stop

    The only "trick" is ibuprofen, and hand exercises for carpal tunnel.

    I had the same problem for a few months at first. Sometimes when I woke up in the morning, I would even get a tingling numb sensation in my hands. I had never done a job that required constant gripping. My problem improved on its own over time. My hands are huge compared to how they were when I first started. There are over a dozen muscles in the human hand, maybe you're just giving them a good workout without enough time off in between.

    The cheap arse straps on the finger scanners are always too loose, and bang up against my knuckles too, it is really painful after a while. Try just holding it in your hand for a while instead of strapping it on if the pain gets too bad. Or get your sup to switch it out for a scanner that doesn't have a 5 year old strap on it. A lot of times when I complained about the scanner not having a good strap, or the battery constantly dying, or the actual scanner not having a holster, he would just say fine don't worry about scanning....most don't really care.

    Since you just started, I'm guessing a trip to the doctor is out of the question, as it was for me, since you don't have health insurance yet. I took ibuprofen everyday before work for the first 6 months I worked here. The repetitive motion of moving your wrist the exact same way to scan a thousand or so times a day, could be bringing out a genetic disposition to carpel tunnel. Doctors would first try getting you to do hand exercises, then medication, then steroid injections, then surgery as a last option.

    I hope it works itself out for you like it did for me. Sometimes I feel like a darn gorilla with these huge hands. My chances of being a pianist are shot, curse you UPS.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  6. gingerkat

    gingerkat Well-Known Member

    Please be careful of ibuprofen or any NSAIDS. People often think that just because something is over-the-counter, that it's safe to take on a regular basis. Your body is different than the person above, so I would not recommend taking that much ibuprofen without a doctor telling you to do so. What many people don't realize is that taking NSAIDS over a prolonged period can irritate the stomach lining, create gastric ulcers and do damage to other organs. Some people never have issues, and others it's quick. I took a fairly high amount of NSAID's per the doctors and ended up with :censored2: in my stomach and had to have stomach surgery. My stomach lining is gone and to this day I take about 4 different medicines to try and relive some of the pain I have. I am not allowed to take any kind of NSAID - EVER again. Please be careful.

    The only thing that you can do to help Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is to keep your wrists straight and from bending. Repetitive motion causes internal swelling, puts pressure on the nerve, and then causing it to become trapped by the transverse ligament. Doctors will also tell you to definitely wear wrist splints at night, because our wrists naturally bend inwards while we sleep.

    I know it's probably a money issue, but seeing a doctor really is the best thing for you. If your hands are causing you so much discomfort, it could be something a little more serious than CTS. Good luck and I hope your hands get better on their own.
  7. Monkey Butt

    Monkey Butt Obscured by Mirrors Staff Member

    ​Thanks for not calling DriveInDriveOut a :censored2:.
  8. DriveInDriveOut

    DriveInDriveOut This Is The Last Stop

    I prefer personal massager. It's classier, you can get them from brookstone after all.
  9. gingerkat

    gingerkat Well-Known Member

    LOL, I'm trying to keep my "spicy" personality a little less spicy these days - haha. Plus it isn't that troll that we all love to hate or I would have called him something special.
  10. Integrity

    Integrity Binge Poster


    The first course of action that I recommend is that you report any cut that you receive at work regardless of the severity.

    This is in compliance with Safe Work Methods and Injury Reporting Procedures.

    Everyone should report all cuts to their hands that they receive at work regardless of the severity of the cut.

  11. cynic

    cynic New Member

    If you're open to Eastern medicine you may find some relief with reflexology or acupuncture. I'm solidly grounded in Western medicine with all the surgeries I've had but I go at the end of every week to a relexologist get the kinks out - AKA unblocking your Chi. Tremendous relief for my hands/forearms and lower back and feet. I suggest this from 31 years of studying the twelve meridians of the body.