Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, part 3
Treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome – there are several options when it comes to relief of carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. Always check with your doctor and they will help you make a plan to suit you.
There are non-surgical treatments such as drugs that can ease the pain and swelling. Exercise, stretching and strengthening can be helpful, this may need to be done by a supervised physical therapist. A few other alternative therapies may include acupuncture, chiropractic, or yoga. Holding your writing instrument between the index finger and middle finger may offer temporary ease of pain for necessary writing tasks. Grip the pen directly between these fingers and hold in place with the thumb, the pen appears to be nearly parallel with the lower knuckles of these fingers when in use – and the final results are much less hand cramping when writing. Wearing wrist braces, especially at night, to prevent undue strain on the wrists may be useful. If you are waking at night with severe pain in the hands it is likely you are curling the hands inward and the wrists are bent. This puts extreme pressure on the carpal tunnel and it is not long before blood supply has been cut off from the hands.
Surgery may be your doctor’s recommendation and I’ll describe the options for surgery. Open release surgery, this is the most traditional procedure to correct the syndrome, this consists of making an incision on the wrist that is 1-2 inches long and then cutting the carpal ligament to enlarge the carpal tunnel. This process can take several weeks to recover before you are back to doing your normal activities. Endoscopic surgery, which has a much faster recovery time and less postoperative discomfort, is where the surgeon makes two incisions about 1/2 inch long, one in the wrist and one in the palm. Then comes the fun part, the surgeons insert a camera that is attached to a tube and from the underside the carpal ligament is cut. It does not matter which option you choose when having this surgery, it does matter that your surgeon is very familiar with the procedure and performs the surgery regularly. The only way to know is to ASK! Ask about the typical recovery period, what to expect and when you may return to work. Lifting will likely be restricted to a few pounds at the beginning of your recovery period.
Tina scheduled her surgery and I am showing you her first photo after surgery. Doesn’t this make you want to schedule your appointment now? Tina went through the endoscopic surgery mainly because less down time sounded perfect and her situation gave her that option. I learned that Tina’s accountant had the same surgery performed late last year and his situation used the open method. He recovered quickly too! I’m not sure how Tina could go a month without knitting, nor how her accountant could go a month without writing numbers. Tina would be teaching me to knit so that her projects would continue to progress if she were laid up for a long period of time. I’m also glad I don’t need to cover for the accountant. I would have needed an anti-anxiety pill to handle all that they do each day! Check back on Monday and I will show you how carpal tunnel syndrome may be prevented.