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  • Carpal Tunnel – Help!
  • Premier Icon mccraque
    Subscriber

    After a few weeks of pins and needles and loss of sensation in my hands, I went to a shoulder specialist (long story, but started in one hand – and GP thought it was linked to me damaging a shoulder when being run over by a careless driver). Anyway…nerve conduction studies have shown I have carpal tunnel.

    Shoulder specialist says “quite common….if it gets worse, go see a hand specialist”. Fair enough…it isn’t his field. So I have just been told to wear night splints.

    I get it when riding. Have changed grips. Now changing bar for a less racey higher rise option to alleviate pressure.

    Has anyone managed to stave off carpal tunnel with conservative treatments? It’s mildish at present. But don’t want it worsening. Nor do I get on with cortisone. Am also keen to avoid the op.

    Any success stories gratefully received…

    Premier Icon FB-ATB
    Subscriber

    At the risk of upsetting Tj, see an osteopath. I had CTS c 10years ago. I had been suffering for a while but it had got worse. Holding a phone for a few minutes, pins & needles; hold a pen, ditto; driving, bike riding; holding a mug and so on gave me pins & needles. It would even wake me at night.

    But I did find out that it’s true that it feels like someone else is doing it if you have a numb hand!

    Had the nerve tests on both arms and told it’s very bad, especially for someone my age (early 40s at the time). I would need surgery on both hands and as I was contracting at the time I put it off as no work meant no pay. Moved to a permanent job and was going to wait to pass probation before the ops. In the meantime, I had headbutted a tree riding so went to the osteo. Whilst going through medical history, I mentioned the CTS and surgery on the horizon. Once my head & neck were done, he progressed to my CTS.

    Basically, there’s a bunch of nerves and arteries that pass under your collar bone & some muscle. It gets quite pinched and this is big cause of CTS for me as I’m your typical desk worker and without regularly concentrating on posture I end up hunched over a keyboard. This causes the muscles to tighten and impacts the arteries and nerves.

    With his work on me and doing the exercises/stretches it has vastly improved it. I occasionally get the pins & needles back but that is largely due to being lazy with posture at work and stretching , sitting properly rectifies it.

    I did the Ride London in 2015 so was able to manage 100 miles (plus months of training rides of 40-80miles) with no issue.

    For riding, how’s your core? Pre kids I was going to the gym 3x a week and riding every weekend. I was pretty conscious of supporting my body with my core and lightly holding the bars. When I was diagnosed with CTS, my eldest was c3 years old and I had rarely been riding & exercising. When I did ride I was aware that I was putting more weight through my shoulders to my wrists to support me and getting pins & needles. I’ve been out riding twice this year for the first time in ages and getting the same results but nowhere near as frequently or as bad. Sitting up when possible alleviates it so I’m working on riding more & strengthening my core again.

    I daresay your accident has an impact- my Dad was thrown out of a car in the 60s (no seatbelts or anti burst catches in those days) and had shoulder/nerve problems as a result. No effect on his hands just occasional shoulder grief. He was told the accident damaged the muscles and they repaired themselves but restricted the nerves. He was offered an operation but didn’t fancy it for something that wasn’t life threatening. Maybe your accident damaged the area were the nerves to the hands are?

    TLDR: 10years ago told I had bad CTS in both hands & needed ops. Risked the wrath of TJ to see osteopath- said it was bad posture. Exercises & stretching sorted it no ops needed. If I slouch it can come back -not as bad & easily sorted. Managed to do big rides with no problem.

    Have the surgery, it’s a quick and simple procedure, no overnight in the hospital.

    I was cured at once.

    APF

    meta
    Member

    I had it years ago and with my dad having the operation when he was my age I thought that this would be the end result for me. Following a quick visit to my GP who identifed I was at a computer most of the day, work provided a keyboard wrist support, all symptoms disappeared within a week or so and I’ve not had it since. I wouldn’t rush towards the conclusion that the operation is the best outcome.

    Premier Icon bruneep
    Subscriber

    Is your employer aware of this? Has to be reported

    https://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/occupational-diseases.htm

    Edukator
    Member

    Had the nerve tests on both arms and told it’s very bad,

    The nerve test I had sought to differentiate between the possible causes of pain and loss of use. They tested signal speed and intensity at each point along the nerve; if done properly there’s no way they can confuse loss of signal at the wrist (which I had) and loss of signal between the wrist and the neck (which I didn’t have). Had the left wrist done – cured, trigger finger in left had too – cured. I live with the right hand which is still within limits of nerve signal and just use the left for anything that sets it off. Vibrating power tools are the worst IME.

    Premier Icon P-Jay
    Subscriber

    Awaiting surgery here. I’ve worn a tubigrip a couple of on my wrist which helps, but my complicated by a metal pin that’s made itself into the joint.

    Premier Icon mccraque
    Subscriber

    Thanks!

    To answer the questions

    Am already seeing an osteo (who’s treated me on and off since the shoulder accident). I wax and wane a little as to how effective I think they are (and this is the best osteo I have seen!)

    Yes – work at a desk…but for a big blue chip who are huge on workplace safety/ergonomics (we even have training on it)

    Gym – 3 or 4x per week, core is a big part of that. Also two yoga sessions p/w.

    Premier Icon dove1
    Subscriber

    Is your employer aware of this? Has to be reported

    https://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/occupational-diseases.htm

    Only if the sufferer uses percussive or vibratory tools.

    CPS isn’t uncommon in desk workers who use PCs a lot. Since very few of us are taught to type correctly we end up resting our wrists on the desk and it is this that causes inflammation of the carpal tunnel.

    @mccraque – go and see OH and ask for a workstation assessment. The least they can do is provide you with a wrist rest and maybe an ergonomic mouse. These may alleviate the problem, but usually surgery is the solution.

    Premier Icon FB-ATB
    Subscriber

    Being right handed, I found the right was worse as you tilt your wrist up resting on the mouse and use the same two fingers (!!) repeatedly clicking.I occasionally used the mouse with my left hand to give the other a rest.
    Right, that’s far too much typing, I’m getting pins & needles!!

    Premier Icon fossy
    Subscriber

    What FB-ATB says – check the Brachial Plexus – all the important nerves run through the shoulder and is a big cause too. I had bad pins and needles after smashing up a shoulder. AC joint decompression surgery fixed the shoulder and and eased the pins and needles.

    Edukator
    Member

    For every bad diagnosis there are many goods ones. FB-ATB had a doctor who failed to identify the point the nerve was being compressed, however most doctors can accurately diagnose CTS and if you’ve got it badly and had it for years it’s unlikely to spontaneously improve. Anyhow, they didn’t touch my shoulder, just my wrist and finger and I got the use of my hand back to the point I can play guitar again. The other hand is still problematic but not enough justify the op, yet, I can still hold a guitar pick.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash
    Subscriber

    Might suggest MrsMC looks at the osteopath/posture route. She only has a right hand and the inconvenience of an op for CTS, let alone the miniscule risk of it going wrong, has been putting her off getting it done

    Premier Icon neilarn2
    Subscriber

    Had CT in both hands, right was bad so had the op left wasn’t as bad so had the ultra sound injection which has helped but still get pain in left hand after about 8/9 miles on the bike , tried rev grips vibracore handle bars didn’t help much. If you want the op start the process soon as it took about a year from first visit to docs to actual operation on the nhs. The ops ok in and out same day local anaesthetic, needed arm in sling for a couple of days. Worst part was having the stitches out as they put them in to tight and the nurse was struggling to cut them.

    Was back on the bike in about 6 weeks.

    Premier Icon FB-ATB
    Subscriber

    MCTD- with just a right hand your mrs is probably using it more than if she had two, esp if she’s heavy pc user.

    Re the op- FIL had it twice (L&R) in the last 6 months. He hadn’t complained of any hand issues directly. He’s 80 & has other health problems, recently balance. He’s started using a walking stick. At a review with dr to see how balance was & use of stick, he mentioned getting pins & needles using the walking stick. So further tests, dr said he had CTS and booked in for ops- done pretty quickly on the NHS. Ops went well and he’s reported immediate relief. No sling needed but heavy bandaging for c10 days and no driving.

    The fact he stoops, is thickset and has a dodgy neck & shoulders from years of fork truck driving probably didn’t help, but he went straight to the op, not questioning what alternatives there may be.

    If I had the op, I probably would have immediate relief but sitting in front of a pc all day would have brought it back. For the FIL at 80, there’s probably little chance of it recurring.

    I’m not anti the op, just think that there may be other options to explore before committing. In my case the osteo said an op would treat the symptom but not the cause.

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