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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Message Board
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Old 11-19-2008, 02:28 PM   #1
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Question about Physical Therapy and Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Hi everyone,

On Monday I went to see my doctor after having experienced weakness, numbness, pain, tingling and burning in my left wrist. I've had difficulty holding objects, clenching my fist, writing with a pen and turning a key in a door. I'm left handed, so this makes performing simple tasks difficult at best.

My doctor diagnosed me with a severe case of carpal tunnel and recommended surgery. She also gave me a splint which I am supposed to wear 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

I asked her if I could try physical therapy before surgery and she agreed. She recommended 6-12 weeks of therapy.

My question is, have any of you had physical therapy for severe carpal tunnel? If so, how long was your treatment and how effective was it?

For those of you who had carpal tunnel surgery, are you pleased with the results and have your symptoms of numbness, weakness, pain, tingling and/or burning completely subsided? How long did it take before you were able to have complete use of your hand after surgery?

dreams in neon

Last edited by dreams in neon; 11-19-2008 at 02:29 PM.

 
Old 11-20-2008, 03:47 AM   #2
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Re: Question about Physical Therapy and Carpal Tunnel Surgery

dreams in neon,
In my opinion you've gone too far. Physical therapy would probably be a waste of time. I think you should go ahead with the surgery. I had cts for 5 years and it was to the point of dropping at least one thing a day without trying. If you've been told to wear the splints all the time, that's the clue I had that you need surgery. I can't see where the physical therapy would help that much. I had surgery in 2005,had a relapse and did physical therapy about a year and a half later. I kept telling myself that that I didn't have a relapse that bad. The pt is just stretching exercises and eventually strenghthening exercises. They can be painful but in a a good way. And the ones I had to do were time consuming. Three times a day I had to do 5 exercises 20 times each. Then I had to do rubber band exercises and roll my hands on a super ball in between the bones of the fingers. I seemed to be making progress (keep in mind this was after surgery), then my mom fell and broke her hip and my pt stopped. I had to take care of her. I'm now looking at a possible second surgery on my hands.

 
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Old 11-20-2008, 07:11 AM   #3
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Re: Question about Physical Therapy and Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Johands,

I don't know how long I've had CTS, but I've reached the point where I'm constantly dropping objects. I'm also starting to get shock-like pain that shoots up my elbow several times a day.

My doctor referred me to a neurologist to further discuss the symptoms I've been having.

I'd like to avoid surgery if at all possible, but if it is my only recourse, I'll have to consider it.

I've heard there are two types of carpal tunnel surgery -- open release and endoscopic.

From what I've read, endoscopic surgery has a faster recovery time, so if I decide to have surgery, I'm going to ask my neurologist if I can choose that option.

I should also mention that I'm totally blind, so I use my hands more than sighted people do and am hoping to return to full function with my left hand as soon as possible.

If you have any additional comments you'd like to share, I'd be interested in hearing them.

By the way, I've been wearing a splint for the past 2 days and it is doing absolutely nothing for the pain, weakness, numbness, burning or tingling.

Thanks for your reply.

dreams in neon

 
Old 11-21-2008, 09:54 AM   #4
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Re: Question about Physical Therapy and Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Neon, You can try physical therapy but in my opinion, you have gone too far. I think surgery is the only thing that will help, but who knows? What I experienced isn't what you might be able to achieve. Open surgery is recommended many times because I'm told that the endoscopic doesn't always work. I had open with both hands and if I need more surgery I'll opt for open again. Open surgery is where they cut open your hand (while you're asleep) and they cut the ligament. Endoscopic is where they make some incisions and then slide the knife under those and cut the ligament. From what I've read online, endoscopic doesn't always work. Good luck and keep in touch. With open surgery, you will be in stiches for 10 days to 2 weeks and don't plan on ever doing all the things you do now that contribute to cts. You have to make lifestyle changes with either surgery or you'll have cts again, like me.

 
Old 11-21-2008, 05:52 PM   #5
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Re: Question about Physical Therapy and Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Johands,

Right now I feel like I'm stuck with my CTS and have no options. Of course, there is always open surgery, but from what I've read, recovery takes several months up to a year. Quite frankly, I'm worried about having the surgery for fear that it won't help my symptoms. I'm also worried that if something goes wrong, I won't have any use of my left hand. Several websites indicated that some patients who have surgery don't experience complete symptom relief. I don't know. Perhaps my expectations of surgery are too high? I'm still trying to make up my mind and am having trouble accepting the fact that my CTS has reached the point where I need surgery.

dreams in neon

 
Old 11-24-2008, 10:46 AM   #6
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Re: Question about Physical Therapy and Carpal Tunnel Surgery

I met a man once who told me his doctor said that if you let it get bad enough, you'll wake up one morning and your hand will be dead. I don't want to scare you and I think that this is an extreme situation, but for me I should have done the surgery way before I did and I should have let my hands heal longer than I did (which was about 6 months). We were going to sell our house and I had to help move heavy objects in order to remodel. There was no one else to help move these items and I knew that I was doing damage when I did it. Don't let yours get too bad and if you have sugery, take care of your hands and be careful what you do with them.

 
Old 11-24-2008, 02:24 PM   #7
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Re: Question about Physical Therapy and Carpal Tunnel Surgery

Well, I'm afraid that I've already reached the point where I have to proceed with surgery because the weakness, pain and numbness are just too much for me to take. I discovered today that my left hand is also quite sensitive to the cold, but I don't know if that has anything to do with CTS. I've already talked to my neurologist and am currently awaiting a surgery date.
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Last edited by dreams in neon; 11-24-2008 at 02:27 PM.

 
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