Carpal Tunnel -- Feeling Sad :(

rivkadrFebruary 2, 2005

I just need to vent for a moment. I've been struggling with carpal tunnel in my right wrist for a couple of years now, and have been doing various conservative treatments during that time (anti-inflammatory meds, wrist splint, warm compresses, etc) which hadn't been doing much of anything to alleviate the numbness and pain. My regular doctor agreed that it was time to start looking into surgery -- I saw two surgeons, both of whom agreed that I had carpal tunnel and that surgery was the way to go, but for various reasons they were unable to do the surgery (my insurance has been a real pain in the butt about deciding who is "in-network" when it comes to surgery). So one of them recommended the guy I saw today.

His advice? Carpal tunnel surgery is pointless. I should stop using the computer altogether. Um...I'm a programmer. Talk about useless advice. It's a bit difficult to be a computer programmer without the computer aspect of it. He also recommended a bunch of treatments, ALL of which I'm doing already, which aren't doing much of anything. I'm feeling frustrated...I know some people have had the surgery and it didn't work, but I've spoken to many, many other people who consider the surgery a godsend. How can you say to a progammer, "Accept your condition, and stop using the computer??" I cried all the way home, because I'm so frustrated, and in pain, and I just want to be able to do my job.

I guess I'll have to try another surgeon, and see what they say.

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"His advice? Carpal tunnel surgery is pointless. I should stop using the computer altogether."

He's WRONG! For many people it saves their careers! Call the doc who referred you to him and tell them what the jerk said - he shouldn't refer people to that useless surgeon. Then ask for another referral to one who believes in giving the surgery a change.

And in the meantime - minimize your computer use as much as possible. Also, make sure your posture and arm position is as ergonomically correct as possivble.

Here is a link that might be useful: RSI Disorder page

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 9:51PM
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I agree. He doesn't know what he was talking about. I had it done on a Saturday and on Monday with my wrist in a splint, I was back to work using a calculator and typewriter all day. I forget how long I wore the splint, but when I took it off, my wrist was as good as new. That was over 25 years ago. If you put it off too long, the nerves may be permanantly damaged and the muscles in your hand may lose the ability to function.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2005 at 10:32AM
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I had the surgery almost five years ago, and it was definitely necessary. But I still have to be careful. The mouse is my problem, so I switched to a trackball. Even so, I use it with my other (left) hand more than half the time, to minimize strain to the injured hand.

Sometimes typing bothers it, but not usually.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2005 at 10:45PM
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I took two months off from work two years ago to alleviate my carpel tunnel.I have no insurence,and even if i did,I have met too many people who have had surgery with out relief,so that will be my action of last resort.The time off really helped with the pain.I have been careful about the type of work I take on now .When I feel the pain,I brace up at night ,and take naproxin for the joint pain.i also back off heavy scrubbing.The real frustration for me is finding a vaccuum light enough to lift,yet strong enough for commercial cleaning.I am still searching.Good luck with the surgery.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 1:49PM
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I was diagnosed with the same thing 3 years ago and ago with with tarsal tunnel. I mean I was in pain all the time. I work at a prison and I was on second shift where I had to do a lot of writing (wrist movement) and I stood a lots in dorms/walking (developed tarsal tunnel, both specialist recommended surgery. I said no. I changed shift and I have not had either problem since. My wrist was swollen all the time and I couldn't drive because the pain was so bad it almost caused me to wreck my car, plus, most of all I did a lot of praying.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2005 at 9:03PM
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I'm new to this forum, but this topic isn't new to me! I had both wrists released surgically 10 years ago, and the right one is back to where it was presurgery. It's been like this for about 9 years. I have to wonder if my doctor waited too long on my right, and it caused damage that will never be fixed. I find wearing my "hard" splint at night helps, and just resting it on flair days helps. I have also been taking Glucosamine Chondroitin helps tremendously too. Keep on top of this, do what you feel is right!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 8:19PM
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Time for an update: I've seen a new surgeon, and he's sending me to have nerve conduction tests next week. Based on those tests, he's going to come up with a course of treatment, which could include surgery or cortisone shots.

The wrist problems have stayed about the same -- but lately, I've gotten tendonitis throughout my entire right arm, likely because I'm holding/using it strangely to compensate for the pain in my wrist. When I see the surgeon again late next week, I'm going to talk to him about it -- but does anyone have any suggestions about what to do in the meantime? Do I ice it, or heat it?

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 2:54AM
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I use ice. I am surprised that someone would recommend heat. You can use ice up to 15 minutes at a time. I have an ice pack with velcro that wraps around my wrist. It really helps.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 2:45PM
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Try any of the sports creams - Ben Gay, Theragesic, etc, - liberally slathered all over both arms. Wear a long-sleeved t-shirt over it.

I have found that alternating ice and heat workks well. Ice for the inflammation, heat to relax the muscles.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2005 at 10:09PM
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Good news, or at least I think it is: I found a really good doctor, and he had some nerve conduction tests run. I apparantly do not have carpal tunnel! Instead, I have something called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome -- basically the nerves near my shoulder/neck are getting compressed, and that's what is causing the tingling/numbness, and pain throughout my arm and wrist. The good news is, it can be treated with's hoping!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2005 at 3:51PM
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