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Old 05-10-2005, 08:29 PM   #1
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Sun-deep HB User
MILD Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?? Help!

My girlfriend recently got diagnosed witih Mild Carpal tunnel syndrome. However, it seems as though its CTS to the max. She is in consant pain and is unable to do anything. It has been about 11 days since she had it. Prior to that she never experienced any pain what so ever. I asked her to compare it to a migraine and she said she would rather have a migraine. Here is some age info on her and occupuation:

22 years old and is a full time student(engineer). Shes heading for physical therapy tommorrow but it seems like nothing will help. I got her vitamin B-6 because I heard that its possible that it may help reduce the pain in some miraculous way.

Just to sum up how she feels...
1)Extreme pain
2)Cannot do anything with her hands
3)The pain doesn't go away(except the left hand sometimes) and Advil doesnt help.
4) The consistent pain runs from hand throughout her arm->elbow and sometiems makes her shoulder uncomfy.


I'm extremely worried since she has finals in 2 weeks and has a job lined up for the summer at Intel....which may lead to a permanent posistion. Basically her professional career hangs in the balance!

Sorry for writing so much.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.

 
Old 05-11-2005, 05:49 PM   #2
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Re: MILD Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?? Help!

When I first had trouble with Carpal tunnel-doctor recommended me take 3 aspirins 3x day for several days to see if the inflammation would go away. It did help alot- (Eventually 10 years later-I did have to get the surgery. )Might ask her doctor what he thinks. Taking too much aspirin has side-effects-ear ringing, gastro bleeding etc--so I would first ask the doctor.

Good Luck

 
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Old 05-12-2005, 12:20 AM   #3
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Re: MILD Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?? Help!

Thanks pat52...I appreciate you sharing the information. So basically...from what I've read is that once you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome...there really isn't any permanent cure. For the 10 years you had it prior to the surgery...was your pain consistent? And were you always on aspirins?
Again thanks
And I hope all is well with you.
and to others who may read this...please share any information you have

 
Old 05-12-2005, 02:22 PM   #4
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Re: MILD Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?? Help!

I used the aspirin only when I had a "flare-up." My work involved repetition. I would wake up at night with my arm /hand numb. One night I woke up and felt like I had broken my arm. I could not turn door knobs to open doors, or hardly stand any movement to the wrist or arm without severe pain-that is when the doctor recommended the aspirin.
It was probably not until last year that I started to have severe pain in the arm / shoulder for days at a time and aspirin only helped for several hours- while working on the computer at work-my arm / hand would go numb. I wore splits at night and that helped some. My doctor told me I had both ulna nerve damage and carpal tunnel-after an emg was completed. He told me I had alot of muscle loss on my hand (on the palm around the thumb area) and if I waited too much longer -surgery probably would not correct the problem.
My sister also suffers from carpal tunnel and wore splints for years -she had it so bad - at times had a hard time combing her hair etc.. She went to a chiropractor and has had very good results. She does not wear the splints at all and the numbness has went away. Your girlfriend may want to try this.
I will say having the surgery helped with the numbness at night but I still have some weakness since the surgery. I have difficulty with my car seat belt(need to press button to release), or using my index finger to spray perfume etc.. it has been 5 months since the surgery. I didnt have this problem prior to the surgery. I am now starting PT. So the surgery also creates problems too.
Hope this helps-Good Luck

 
Old 05-12-2005, 09:41 PM   #5
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Re: MILD Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?? Help!

Hi Sun-deep,

Nice to meet you. I usually don't post on the CTS board, but your post caught my eye.

I'd like to offer you my experience if I may. I too have mild CTS, dx'd a couple years back from years of waitressing. My right hand is worse than my left hand (I'm right handed of course!). It's good that your girlfriend is going to PT, that will be the best thing for her. She will be doing strengthening exercises that will limit her swelling and therefore decrease nerve damage. Also, she should be given hand splints by her therapist. If not, go buy them. Any good pharmacy or store that sells health aids. You can ask your pharmacist or your doc where to get them. The best splints are the ones with the metal splint inside the cover. You should get the lace up or velcro splints, but it is important to get the ones that have the metal (the metal is soft enough to bend to better fit the hand) in them that can be removed so you can wash the cover. The splints should be worn every night while she sleeps. I was told this by my therapist, "wear 'em every night!". Of course I skip nights. Also she should wear them whenever she is going to be using her hands where they will be used to "support" something that weighs more than her hands. Like a book, or she needs to use them when she is using her hand for any length of time, as long as they allow her to be functional. There are other braces that she can use while typing, these are made out of elastic or nylon. They slip over the hand allowing the fingers and thumb to be exposed and they have an extra amount of material that covers the wrist area. The nylon/spandex hand "splints" have a velcro closer that wraps around the wrist. You want the material to be secure around her wrists but not so tight they leave impressions. This way she can use the computer or hand write easier than with the metal supported splints. Also, the PA at my pain clinic used to work for an Orthopedic doc and she told me a little trick that her Ortho doc taught her to pass on to her CTS patients. You take a towel, not a bath towel, but like a facial or hand towel, and you wrap the towel around the elbow area while the arm is straight, making sure that the elbow is in the middle of the towel. Kinda like you would wrap it in an ace bandage. Okay so now you have this towel wrapped around her arm. Now use some kind of thick tape, like duct tape and secure the towel just enough that your girlfriend cannot bend her elbow, but not too tight of course. Just secure enough so that she can't bend her elbow and so that the towel will not fall off. You do this at bedtime only. Reason? I'm sure you are thinking, huh? Well, my PA said that while you sleep you bend your arm which causes the circulation to be cut off and the nerves compressed therefore causing CTS to worsen. Does your girlfriend wake in the morning complaining that her hands are numb or sore? This is why. Using the towel will keep her arm in the same position and won't let it bend so the nerves aren't pinched. This is the very same reason to wear those metal splints while she is sleeping. They keep her hands in their natural position and not curled or bent so that the nerves are pinched.

And yes, CTS will progressively get worse over time. But going to PT and doing her little finger exercises will help prolong her need for surgery, as will the splints and the towel trick. Keeping her hands and wrists supported are important as is keeping her from pinching those nerves. The neurologist that did my CTS test told me that CTS is caused by compression on the nerves either originating in the shoulder or in the elbow. Did her doc tell her where the nerve compression originated? Most common is from the elbow. She also needs to make sure she pays close attention to any increase in numbness, loss of hand function, loss of strength in her hands, or if her pain level increases, and tell her doctor.

So go get those splints (both kinds), do the towel thingie and I wish her luck on her finals. I remember how stressful finals were! I went to college in my late 20's, before there were computers. They were called "Word Processors" back then! I couldn't afford one, so I hand wrote all my term papers and then typed them out once I perfected the handwritten draft! It was awful! No wonder I have CTS. Then, I graduated with a BS in Management only to find out, I sucked at Managing! I am good at delegating though! I'm a worker bee, but I like being the Queen Bee, but I would rather have a Manager tell me what to do, that way, if something bad happens they get blamed! LOL Besides, I'm not that tolerant of some folks and I'd be telling people "to take their little purses or whathaveyou and go home" so much I'd end up having no employees. So yeah, I suck at it. But I'm a dern good waitress! It's my calling for sure, but do to a lot of illness and debiltating back problems I can no longer do what I love. I can't do much of anything really. So I admire your girlfriend, finishing school and just starting out in the work place. How exciting, for both of you! I wish you luck and happiness.

Oh and about meds. I use Aleve, it seems to work the best since you can't trust those prescription anti-inflammatories. I was recently given a prescription for an anti-inflammatory med called Arthotec and it supposedly doesn't have the nasty side effects the others do. But I still use Aleve, works for me.

Again, good luck and I hope I helped you some. Sorry the post is so long, mine usually are. I just like to make sure I cover all the bases when I try and share information.

Here's wishing you and your girlfriend a good spirit,
tk

 
Old 05-13-2005, 12:40 AM   #6
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Re: MILD Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?? Help!

Thank you so much TK!!
I really appreciate your input and wishes.
My girlfriend(Lisa) actually went to PT today...and she said it HURT very badly! It seems as though its getting slightly better...

And tommorrow I will use the towel therapy and see how it goes.

Again your help is much appreciated

I wish they didn't have computers now then she wouldn't have this problem! Technology is taking us down! lol

I wish you the best...
and I will keep this updated
but for now I am cramming to study

Thank you
Sonny

 
Old 05-13-2005, 09:45 PM   #7
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Re: MILD Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?? Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun-deep
Thank you so much TK!!
I really appreciate your input and wishes.
My girlfriend(Lisa) actually went to PT today...and she said it HURT very badly! It seems as though its getting slightly better...

And tommorrow I will use the towel therapy and see how it goes.

Again your help is much appreciated

I wish they didn't have computers now then she wouldn't have this problem! Technology is taking us down! lol

I wish you the best...
and I will keep this updated
but for now I am cramming to study

Thank you
Sonny
Sonny,

You are so welcome! I hope my info helps. I know the towel trick sounds funny, but my PA swears by it! I usually don't have the problem of bending my arms when I sleep, so I just use my splints.

I agree about Technology, but hey, ya gotta keep up right! I didn't get a computer until 2001, talk about banging your head against the wall. I wished my computer would grow ears so many times so I could shake it like you shake someone's head! I'm better now, still not too "tech savie" but I hooked up my own router and use my laptop wireless! Yeah!

Oh and about the PT your girlfriend is going to. It will hurt, like the dickens, at first, but it WILL get better. The only way to fix pain is to work past the pain. Don't give up, and if she is assigned exercises to do at home, help her with them. If I had to do some PT exercises in between my appts, I always rewarded myself with something if I did all my exercises like a good girl.

I'll be interested in hearing how she's doing and how ya'lls finals went. Is this your graduating year? What line of work are you going into? How exciting! You have everything ahead of you. That's so wonderful. I hope you and your girlfriend will be the young folks who get a chance at making this world a better place. You have the power.

Okay, I sound like a mother now. Well, I probably could be your mother, my son is 25.

Good luck and I hope your cramming doesn't make your brain explode! That's what I always felt like at finals. Like your brain canNOT hold one more piece of information.

Peace,
tk

 
Old 05-14-2005, 12:57 AM   #8
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Re: MILD Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?? Help!

Hey TK,
We took care of one final and have 4 more to go!!! aah! and Her second PT visit was also painful but I told her it will be fine...and i told her to do that towel thing the PA recommended to you. So hopefully it works out...

Well I graduate in 2 more semesters with Microbiology/Chemistry degree and she is graduating in Industrial and Systems Engineering this semesters...which is why this thing couldn't have come at a worse time. She had a job set up and everything and now it seems like she won't even be able to comb her hair without have lots of pain. But it will be all okay in the end. Main thing is for her to get better.

And making this world a better place is going to be HARD. But we'll give it our best shot :-) I am in shock that Arnold is cutting back on education even more....haven't really followed any politics recently so I have no idea whats going on...but i'm shocked with his decision...oh and yeah im from california

take care
-sonny

 
Old 05-14-2005, 06:33 AM   #9
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Re: MILD Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?? Help!

If she has been diagnosed then I am assuming she had an EMG performed and she truly has CTS. She will need to have surgery to correct this. The splint therapy and vitamins are only temporary solutions. The surgery takes about 45 minutes (or less if done laparoscopically), and the recovery period is 3 weeks. After a week postoperatively, she will be able to use her hands for minor things (no lifting though). She would be happy after having this surgery to relieve her pain!

 
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