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carpal tunnel problems
Old 02-13-2008, 08:57 PM   #1
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carpal tunnel problems

What kind of doctor does one see concerning carpal tunnel problems and when does one consider surgery?

The numbness and tingling is starting to affect my sleep.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:05 PM   #2
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What kind of doctor does one see concerning carpal tunnel problems and when does one consider surgery?

The numbness and tingling is starting to affect my sleep.
Usually a city your size will have orthopedists who specialize in hand arm problems, and will be very experienced with carpal tunnel issues.

Good luck!

Ha
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:11 PM   #3
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What kind of doctor does one see concerning carpal tunnel problems and when does one consider surgery?

The numbness and tingling is starting to affect my sleep.

See an orthopedic doc who specializes in hands. Can't emphasize that part enough.

If it were me, I would try conservative therapy first (i.e. a physical or occupational therapist that is a certified hand therapist) before surgery - unless you are developing significant weakness. Sometimes splinting and specific stretches can be really helpful. However, it really depends on your individual status. Go see a hand doc, and he should be able to advise you of the best course depending on your current symptoms.

Disclaimer: I'm a PT so I always think of conservative therapy first. Let the doc evaluate you and help you determine how to proceed.
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Old 02-13-2008, 10:03 PM   #4
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Sorry to hear that...I've been where you are with that. First and foremost, limit or discontinue the repetitive motion that is aggravating it. if you are on a keyboard at work all day, take as many breaks as you can without annoying your boss. I went thru this "fun" in 1994.

there is a great book out there by Dr. Emil Pascarelli on carpal tunnel and RSI, vintage late 1980's unless he updated it, that is an excellent guide for caring for yourself. And definitely get an evaluation by a hand specialist..now is better than later. PT and splinting at night is a great alternative to surgery. It all depends on how far along your condition is and how your medical evaluation turns out.

I have full dexterity of my fingers but some lingering tendonitis. I lost my ability to play any sports that require grippig or strength, but that's minor. Please do not let it get worse before you act.

Good luck and keep us posted.

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Old 02-14-2008, 05:04 AM   #5
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Had a pretty bad case in my right wrist after 15 years of hanging onto a boom. Prolotherapy was a life saver for me (including my lower back). It's a procedure that thickens and strengthens ligaments and tendons. More aggresive than basic PT but far less aggresive than surgery. Unfortunately the broader medical community has not embraced it because there is a lot more money to be made in surgery, so I just keep it as my little secret. C Evertt Koop (former surgeon general) is a big fan of the procedure if that means anything

Caring Medical - Symptoms - Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:21 AM   #6
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Khan, I'd start with your primary doctor to make sure it's not something else. Then I'd ask about a trial of conservative therapy with splinting and antiinflammatories. Then, if it is not improved, I would ask for an orthopedist with strong experience in hand surgery. In some towns, that may also be a plastic surgeon.

The surgery and recovery are not trivial so I would ask about conservative measures first. Good luck.
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:05 PM   #7
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I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but the carpal tunnel I've seen was usually caused by doing something too often. It can get better (or at least stop getting worse) when you stop doing it. The trick is to figure out what's triggering it and how to change the behavior.

Reminds me of the old Groucho Marx routine:
"Doctor, it hurts when I do this."
"Then stop doing that!"
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:16 PM   #8
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I don't mean to sound unsympathetic, but the carpal tunnel I've seen was usually caused by doing something too often. It can get better (or at least stop getting worse) when you stop doing it. The trick is to figure out what's triggering it and how to change the behavior.
Though repetitive strain is the most common cause, CTS can be caused by alot of things - pregnancy, hypothyroidism, amyloidosis, inadvertent sleep positioning, trauma, and others.

Most patients know what's causing it if its from strain or trauma.
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Old 02-14-2008, 01:17 PM   #9
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Khan, I'd start with your primary doctor to make sure it's not something else. Then I'd ask about a trial of conservative therapy with splinting and antiinflammatories. Then, if it is not improved, I would ask for an orthopedist with strong experience in hand surgery. In some towns, that may also be a plastic surgeon.

The surgery and recovery are not trivial so I would ask about conservative measures first. Good luck.
I was tested for it a couple years ago when it first started annoying me. The numbness in the morning has been there a while, but the painful tingling waking me up is a recent development.

I also have ulnar nerve entrapment, it's a DNA package deal along with the arthritis (Thanks Mom and Grandpa). It doesn't show up until we're 45 or so; ergo, evolution doesn't weed it out.

Mother had the surgery in her 60s, but she had a husband to take care of her.

The good news is: it doesn't kill you; the bad news is: it doesn't kill you.
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Old 02-14-2008, 06:48 PM   #10
 
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Both my wife and myself have had carpal tunnel surgery. In my case the pain returned after a few years which is not abnormal. We used a hand specialist. There are support devices for the hands that you can buy in any pharmacy. In my case I spent (and still spend) a lot of time on the computer so I bought a keyboard, wrist rest and mouse pad made to reduce the pressure that brings on CTS.
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Old 02-14-2008, 07:48 PM   #11
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DW just had a CT release surgery 4 weeks ago. The symptoms of tingling and numbness went away immediatly after the surgery. She is now undergoing PT to strengthen the wrist and will be out of work for another couple of weeks.

The procedure was performed by an orthopedic surgeon who three years ago operated on her shoulder for tendonitis.
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Old 02-14-2008, 08:46 PM   #12
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I was tested for it a couple years ago when it first started annoying me. The numbness in the morning has been there a while, but the painful tingling waking me up is a recent development.

I also have ulnar nerve entrapment, it's a DNA package deal along with the arthritis (Thanks Mom and Grandpa). It doesn't show up until we're 45 or so; ergo, evolution doesn't weed it out.

Mother had the surgery in her 60s, but she had a husband to take care of her.

The good news is: it doesn't kill you; the bad news is: it doesn't kill you.
if it comes and goes (beginning), that's good news. if it stays constant and worsens without ever getting any better, then you'e most likely medium to advanced.

and you could have a mild source of pressure on a nerve in the shoulders and neck too.

please get an appt with a hand specialist and go from there. if surgery (without tests done right in the office) is the first word out of the doc's mouth, run like hell. surgery is the last option after other non invasive interventions have been exhausted.

try to remember not to do anything repetitively for more than 15-20 minutes. set a kitchen timer or your watchtimer to help you retrain yourself not to overdo any hand activity.

good luck!
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Old 02-15-2008, 12:05 AM   #13
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Carpal tunnel problems are something to take seriously. Both my wife and I know people who have become permanently disabled because they ignored the warning signs and chose to worry about looking like a slacker at work instead of worrying about their health.
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