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Thread: Carpal Tunnel & how do you deal with it? Wrist brace, surgery, therapy?

  1. #1
    Super Member dublb's Avatar
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    Last week the Dr. said that the strange & painful feeling In my right hand & arm was caused by a lack of blood flow to the fingers. Probably carpal tunnel. The wrist brace is helping a great deal. (I do not intend to quite doing anything, like quilting! Maybe change the way I do it but not quit.) I see the Dr again on the 7th of Oct.
    Do any of ya'll have it & what did ya do about it.

  2. #2
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    I had the braces made to fit my hand with the steel in them and sleep in them. Allows me a lot more of my day before the pain sets in. Also spread things out. Carpal pain is from repetition. SO I cut a while, sew a while, sew, take a stretching break, etc. Just to break up repeating the same motion over and over. It helps a lot

  3. #3
    Super Member donnajean's Avatar
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    Ditto!

    Quote Originally Posted by Zhillslady
    I had the braces made to fit my hand with the steel in them and sleep in them. Allows me a lot more of my day before the pain sets in. Also spread things out. Carpal pain is from repetition. SO I cut a while, sew a while, sew, take a stretching break, etc. Just to break up repeating the same motion over and over. It helps a lot

  4. #4
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    Carpal Tunnel is an inflamation of the tendons. Ice the area to reduce the inflamation , take asprin or Aleve to reduce the swelling of the inflammed area and reduce the pain.
    I prefer asprin as its been around a whole lot longer than other over the counter medications.

  5. #5
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    I have braces too that I wear at night. They help.But carpal tunnel is not a lack of blood flow, it is a compression of the nerves going through the carpal tunnel, a structure in your wrist. (BTW, even "pins and needles" is not a lack of blood flow, it is also a nerve problem.)

    too many years of quilting, knitting, crocheting, and mine was made worse by sleeping with my hands in weird positions.

  6. #6
    Senior Member marknfran's Avatar
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    Lot of solutions. Start with an aspirin a day if okayed by doctor; wear the metal hand brace available at most stores in different sizes (get the right size). Wear it whenever you do any lifting, and if it feels comfortable enough, wear it to bed. Soaking your hands up to the elbows once a day for about 20 minutes. As a last resort, surgery. My husband has both hands done (one at a time) when he could no longer ride his Harley. This was 9 years ago.....took about 4 months to get really back into great shape. He is thrilled he had it done...now 66 years old. Also, if you use the internet much, do a search on the carpel tunnel and you can get a lot of education.

  7. #7
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    I wore a brace 24/7 for 6 weeks and it cured mine.

  8. #8
    Power Poster lynnie's Avatar
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    did all three, had surgery so i can still quilt
    good luck

  9. #9
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    I wore braces and gave up knitting and crochet. Quilting doesn't bother me.

  10. #10
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    Also gentle physical therapy with tension band. Get a professional to show you how so you don't make it worse.

  11. #11
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    I meet with a group of ladies and we do hand applique and I'm also learning hand piecing. In the beginning of each session we do finger/wrist excercises to losen things up. You might try. I have a back disease and I do excercises to keep it from fusing together wrong. I can always tell when it's trying to fuse because it starts itching from inside.Good luck

  12. #12
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    Intially, I wore braces at night (have CTS bilaterally) and did physical therapy. I 'achieved' mine while working as an optician and also dog training. Once the inflammation went down (had to leave my job) I have been able to maintain a pain free state with regular stretches and exercise. Yoga has been good for both my wrists and my back problems. It does take a long time, though. I was initially diagnosed in 1996.

    I would definitely seek a doctor that has experience with CTS and conservative measures before surgery.

  13. #13
    Super Member Sandee's Avatar
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    Braces & ice.

  14. #14
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    I have it in both hands and have had it for many many years (I was a typist then secretary way back when and that's when it started). The doctor prescribed 600 ml Ibuprophen 3 X a day and to wear the braces. I wear them when I sleep. I did stop the Ibuprophen for a while but when I have flair ups I start back up for a while.

  15. #15
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ptquilts
    I have braces too that I wear at night. They help.But carpal tunnel is not a lack of blood flow, it is a compression of the nerves going through the carpal tunnel, a structure in your wrist. (BTW, even "pins and needles" is not a lack of blood flow, it is also a nerve problem.)

    too many years of quilting, knitting, crocheting, and mine was made worse by sleeping with my hands in weird positions.

    Exactly! I have had carpal tunnel problems in both wrists....it got so bad that at times I had problems holding a fork to eat with! And the pain....omg...unbearable. I opted to get them surgically fixed and have had no issues since. It was by far the best choice for me. The surgery is very simple with an incision about an inch long in the base of the palm, 5 stitches. I had a half cast (cast on the palm side of the hand) so I couldn't bend my wrist for a week with lifting restrictions for 6 weeks. The relief from pain was immediate. I would do it again in a flash!

  16. #16
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    I had it in both hands - after the nerve testing was completed, they recommended surgery (I did wear a brace at night from the time of diagnosis until the day of surgery). The good thing about surgery is that I have had no recurrence in the last 15 years. However, that may not work for everybody. Bottom line is to talk with your doctor to get all the options available and decide what's best for YOU.

  17. #17
    Senior Member SharonTheriault's Avatar
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    I did all the exercises, pain relief meds, braces, etc. I had surgery on the right hand, later on the left. NO PAIN SINCE!
    Would I do it again? In a heart beat.

  18. #18
    Super Member Mad Mimm's Avatar
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    I was diagnosed with bilateral CTS - had release surgery on both hands several years back and have been symptom free ever since. I am much more careful about my ergonomics now - have been a keyboarder for most of my career so Dr said I was due for it. :(

    Still, surgery was the answer for me. I am happy now and able to hold a needle for more than 3 minutes (used to be my fingers were totally numb by then! Bindings took forever and FORGET about handquilting!)

  19. #19
    Senior Member Robinlee's Avatar
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    I take herbs and on occassion wear a brace if I really over work it (this past winter when we moved). Kelp and Horsetail grass. I've used it for the last 14 years or so.
    Both my sisters had surgery and still have problems. Me, I do the natural thing, HERBS.

  20. #20
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    I decorated wedding cakes for 30 years, groomed and showed Persian cats, did all sorts of needlework, and worked most of my life at a typewriter or keyboard.

    The pain and numbness got so bad I finally had surgery. It was a walk in the park. I had been terrified of it because of cast and 6 week downtime. I used my hands to make a living. All that is changed now. A simple incision in the palm of my hand, a bandaid and a couple of stitches. The pain relief was immediate, but the numbness in my fingers continued because I waited too long and had permanent nerve damage.

    Finally, after two years, the feeling is coming back in my fingers and I can do needlework again. It was done outpatient and I could kick myself for not doing it years ago.

    My left hand is not so bad but I would have the surgery in a heartbeat if it got as bad as my right hand was.

    For me, surgery was the right answer. And I would do it again without a second thought! Good luck.

  21. #21
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    I started with the wrist braces every night and after they stopped working, I had surgery. I did my right hand first since it was the worst and then a few years later did the left. I have to say that the second surgery went much better than the first - I think I need to see if I can have the right one done over (not that I want to - more like I need to).

    It did help tremendously for the first few years. The second one (left wrist) has a much smaller scar and seemed to heal quicker - I used two different docs (the second one operates on a lot of the Redskins - should have gone to him for the first one too!) Meghan

  22. #22
    Junior Member chiaraquilts's Avatar
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    Lots of good advice here.I also have it both hands- I had surgery on the right hand about a year ago, the left hand is coming up/ The splints are very helpful, it is very important to wear them at night as your wrist and hand will naturally flex while you are asleep, which is the worst position. The best one I found was at Walmart, it is pink and grey and designed for women's hands- very comfortable and well finished so no chafing or rubbing.

    The surgery was a breeze, less than a dentist visit. Stayed in my street clothes, was out with light anesthesia (no breathing tube etc) for less than 20 minutes. No cast, some mild weight restrictions for a few days. HOWEVER- it does take some time for the tendon to heal, and during that time it will hurt if you lift something too heavy. Fortunately it doesn't do any damage- you can't "undo" the procedure- but it is something to be aware of. I found that with 3 months I could about 90% of normal things, now it is perfectly fine.

    Once the splints stopped working- pain waking me up even with the splints on- I decided it was time for surgery. Wish I hadn't waited so long!

  23. #23
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    I handled workers compensation claims for 35 years. The bet advice I can give you is to see a hand specialist. A neurologist or plastic surgeon who specializes in CTS is best. Stay away from chiropractors, I have never seen a positive result from them. An ortho that is a hand surgeon is also good, but often rush to surgery. If you are at the beginning it is possible they can get the inflammation down. The typical treatment in our neck of the woods, has been using the splints and anti-inflammatory meds. It is necessary to follow dr's orders because the inflammation can be minor, but will flare again if you stop the meds too soon.

    If there is no improvement they will talk surgery. But there are a lot of cases where surgery is avoided. So hopefully you have a good doctor.

  24. #24
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    I did it all and finally after years, had surgery which helped immensely. However I warn you, I waited too many years to get my first hand done and have some permanent nerve damage. Also don't trust a doc that said it was lack of blood due to carpal tunnel. Carpal tunnel is nerve compression. So go to a specialist and get an accurate diagnosis please.

    Kat

  25. #25
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    Left hand first for surgery because I am right-handed. I wanted to see how bad it would be, both surgery and recovery. Piece-of-cake! Neurosurgeon and just three stitches at the wrist. Put ice on it for a day and was gentle with it and no pain meds needed. Got the right hand done as soon as possible. No regrets.

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