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View Full Version : Sorry I'm not around as much lately ~Carpal Tunnel!


amy
05-28-2005, 10:19 AM
I miss hangin' out more here!

Besides being busy, I've had to restrict my internet time, because I've developed carpal tunnel syndrome from too much computer use. :crying: It's been coming on for a while, and I've been in denial. But this week it's been really bothering me, and is starting to freak me out. It was actually hurting yesterday just to hold the needles! :shock: I don't want to risk loosing the ability to knit!!

Does anyone know if there's a way to prevent/get rid of this, other than not using the computer?! :( I do the stretches (pulling back my hand to stretch out the forearm), and that has helped, but it doesn't seem to be enough any more.

Julie
05-28-2005, 10:33 AM
Amy, I've had it for years -- it was worst when I was working full time (8-10 hours a day on a computer), then it left me alone for a while when I had my kids. Whenever it flares up (usually from computer time when I'm working on a big freelance job :rollseyes: ) the most important and effective thing I do is to wear my braces (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0002IQRJ8/002-0193098-2920855?v=glance) at night while I sleep. They take a little getting used to, but healing while you sleep is so important, rather than injuring yourself while you sleep, which most people do without even realizing it (sleeping with your wrists bent).

I was on anti-inflammatory meds for a while but didn't notice a big difference. I'll take ibuprofen if it's particularly bad (which is rare), but in general I think it's better to root out the problem than to simply mask the pain.

Hope you are feeling better soon! :D

gimmesanity
05-28-2005, 10:39 AM
My hubby has ct. too. He's a drummer and works with computers. I agree with Julie; sleep with braces. That and naprocen (?) help my dh tons when his wrists start acting up. Oh, and get one of those wrist guard pillow things for your keyboard. It helps keep your hands and wrists alighned when you type.

hope you start feeling better soon,
~Sharon

amy
05-28-2005, 10:44 AM
Braces, huh? Thanks Julie! I don't know a whole lot about carpal tunnel, so any info is great and appreciated!

Knitting doesn't seem to stress my wrists, thankfully. I hold the needles with a very gentle hold, and my movements are easy. But the computer definitely aggrevates it. And I definitely worsened it this week by working on a crochet project for my niece's birthday. I made the mistake of working into tight stitches with a larger crochet hook, for a particular effect. Looked good, but it was murder trying to get the hook into some of the stitches, and it definitely stressed out my right hand. :doh: I should have known better.

kmmcall
05-28-2005, 10:48 AM
Hi Amy,
I recently attended a seminar on this topic provided by our local hospital.
There were two specialist doctors who gave terrific overviews of carpal tunnel snydrome and hand arthritis. They recommend that you first need to have an examination to determine exactly what the problem is. Many people think they have carpal when really they have hand or finger arthritis. There are many hand/finger exercises you can do as well as using the brace as Julie mentioned. They also discussed sleeping positions and how that can really bother your hand/fingers. The problems you are having a extremely common and usually can be addressed without surgery but you need to have an exam to better understand what you are dealing with. Good luck and hope that it turns out not to be too severe!

amy
05-28-2005, 10:56 AM
Thanks Kmmcall, I'll see my naturopathic doctor about it. Good idea.

I woke up with tingling in my right forearm today. Sounds like the brace you two are talking about would be good, since I probably was aggrivating it somehow during the night, to wake up with the tingling.

Okay, I'd better stop replying to every post....just aggrivating it here! *so frustrating*

maniago
05-28-2005, 10:59 AM
A wrist brace with magnets really helped me. I know alot of debate goes on if this helps or not, but it did help my wrists.

kemp
05-28-2005, 11:02 AM
I have had some trouble with my right wrist (mouse hand) on and off depending on how much computer work I am doing. It is alkward at first, but try using the mouse with your left hand. After a few minutes it gets a lot easier. I also have an ergonomic keyboard, which I think helps a lot.

Also, if this has just started, ice on and off for 15 minutes at a time about 4x per day...reduces inflamation, which is what causes the pain (bunch of nerves going through a small hole...they get inflamed then there isn't enough room through the hole) Also ice after stressful activity...typing for an extended period, knitting, crocheting into tight chain :) etc.

Hope it feels better soon!

Sara
05-28-2005, 11:04 AM
I have a friend who is an ergonomist, he studies ways to prevent work related injuries. He suggests that one find the proper height for one's keyboard so that there is no torque, or twisting of the wrists when you type. The mouse should be close to the keyboard, so that you're not stretching to get it. The wrist pad is a must. If you could try one out to see how you like it, there are people who swear by the "split" computer keyboard, I think it would take me awhile to get used to.

Good luck! Best wishes for a return to knitting health!

cheesiesmom
05-28-2005, 02:08 PM
Gosh Amy, you look way too young to have CT. Mine is still fairly minor after 35+ years at a secretary and still at the computer 8-10 hours a day. The brace(s) is the best thing. But I was told to wear it only at night, not during the day. Any NSAID should help with the pain.

I went to one of those specialty pharmacy stores for my brace (I have it in the left wrist only; odd since I'm a righty) and it was a little pricey, but I suppose I was paying for the woman who fitted it for me. Of course, after I bought it, my doctor said that the type of wrist support they use for bowling would have been just as good and probably cheaper. Of course, he mentioned that AFTER I bought the specialty brace.

It was awful trying to get used to sleeping with it, but persevere. I usually end up wearing it for a week or two. The pain goes away and then I put my brace in the drawer till the next time. As I said my case is probably considered minor, I only have a flare-up once or twice a year (usually in the middle of a super-rush heavy-duty project).

Sara's suggestions on ergonomic computer equipment are excellent. They have all sorts of stuff these days, probably 'cause we're all on computers so much.

And if you do need surgery, ask everyone and anyone in your area for a reference. There are surgeons who specialize in CT and your outcome will probably be better.

There's been a thread on the Ample-Knitters board dealing with CT and some of them say that their doctors recommend knitting as therapy.

Here's hoping you'll be feeling better soon.

cheesiesmom

Rennagayle
05-28-2005, 02:11 PM
I don't think the carpal tunnel nerve extends to the pinky fingers, so any pain or numbness or tingling which you experience will not affect them if it is carpal tunnel. If the pain/and or numbness extends there, then it likely is something else.

I suffered with carpal tunnel for years, before it finally worsened to the point that surgery was my only remaining option. I was to the point where I'd drop things and not even realize I'd released them. Peeling potatoes was in impossible task (which I didn't miss at all ;) ). I had nerve testing done on both hands to determine the extent of damage, as a confirmation of the diagnosis. It was such a relief after the wounds had healed to be able to do things I thought I'd never again be able to do.

However, there are things I cannot do now that I could prior to the surgery. It's nothing majorly significant, but I can no longer snap my fingers. I have a difficult time picking up tiny pills. My thumbs will barely meet my pinky and ring fingers (bringing tips together). It was a good trade-off, though.

I really worry about the recurrence of CPT, especially now that I've taken up knitting, since it's a repetetive movement task. I've spoken with people who've had multiple carpal tunnel correction surgeries. :shock:

I am very conscious about regularly stopping whatever I'm doing, whether it's using the keyboard at the computer, or knitting, to flex my hand and arm muscles.

I am fairly certain I now have arthritis in both hands. I have not yet been to a doctor for a confirmation diagnosis (no health insurance now :( ), but my hands ache terribly at times, especially when I first wake in the mornings. It's different than the pain I experienced with CPT, and there's no numbness or tingling, just the aching. I've wondered if I've developed arthritis as a result of the surgeries I had. :help:

ekgheiy
05-28-2005, 02:14 PM
I'm sorry to hear about your CT Amy. I wish I knew more suggest. A co-worker that I taught to knit had to stop knitting for a while because her CT flaired up. She wore braces too and said it help a little.

Feel better soon!!

perced
05-28-2005, 03:26 PM
Feelin your pain :crying:

I have arthritis from my right shoulder down to my wrist. I have it other places but this is the latest place it flares up at. I have had it on & off in my wrists and knees since I was pregnant with my first child at 19. Too much time on the computer can really aggravate the pain. I had to give up on my laptop all-together. I wake up in the middle of the night with my whole arm asleep when it is bad. Before I went to the doctor for my yearly check-up I did the recommended carpal tunnel stretches & some yoga stretches that really stretches out the bottom arm/wrist muscle. For some reason they get really tight when my joints act up. My doctor has arthritis himself & said I was doing all the right things, so that was good news.

rebecca
05-28-2005, 04:21 PM
:( Amy I am so sad for you!! First and foremost you need to do as everyone has suggested & make an appt. with the doctor, find a specialist, as suggested, this does not mean that he has to be a specialist in ct surgery, just a hand/wrist doc (they specialize in everything these days!). I think that you are getting wonderful advice from everybody that has this problem & they know what they are talking about...BUT...don't substitute that for your own doctor visit!! FYI, everybody, Amy & I email each other now & again & I all of a sudden turn into the 'motherly advice' giver, so don't be alarmed, please...lol!! Also, I know more about knitting (and u know i've only been at it for a year) than i do about computers & we've had a computer forever...so, ya'll don't laugh when i mention this..it might just be stupid, i don't know....here goes; I've heard of this software that you can install that u use by talking rather than typing, this is, of course, after u set up voice recognition so that it will know your voice...i've never had this program, so i have no idea if it works or is reliable...any of u guys know? Anywhoooo....if there is such a program that is reliable, that might be a thought so that u can rest your wrists. Oh yeah, another thing, should u take nsaids (non steroidal anit inflammatory drugs) (ibuprofen, aleve) for the inflammation (which would be a good idea bc the inflammation causes the pain)...eat with them bc they can really irritate the stomach. I"m very, very :( that u r very, very :( and scared...it will work out, i feel sure...call the doc on Tues!!...okay, I've switched out of 'mother' mode and am back to just me.

amy
05-29-2005, 11:48 AM
Thank you everyone!! This is all very helpful information and advice. And it's wonderful to feel you support.

I will definitely look into getting one of those curved keyboards, someone else was telling be about those yesterday and said it made all the difference for her.

I just put some wrist support under my wrists (a couple of skeins of Knitpicks WOTA ;)), works surprisingly well for wrist support! Temporarily, anyway, until I get that fancy keyboard.

I think I need to lower my desk. My desk is handmade, and several inches higher than normal, so that would probably help. :thinking:

Cheesiesmom, I love the idea of getting bowling wrist supports! I'll check those out, great idea thanks!

Kemp, I'll try the ice when it's acting up.

Rebecca, you know, even though I'm not at the point where I need to use the voice recognition software, maybe I'll try it out. I was just thinking: Maybe I can knit while "typing with my voice" at the same time! *cool!* :mrgreen:

Rennagayle
05-29-2005, 12:03 PM
Amy, it's a good idea to have your keyboard at the proper height for your wrists, as well as having your monitor at the right height for viewing. I made do with an old office desk for years that was not at the proper height. It's very possibe that it contributed to my CPT, but one thing I know for a fact is that it gave me terrible neck problems. I ended up having to go to a chiropractor for adjustments. I was having severe headaches, which generated from my neck.

Since that time, I've been using a standard computer desk, and not had anymore problems. I'm not saying one needs to only use standard computer desks, but it is a good idea to find out what the proper height should be for both your keyboard and your monitor. :thumbsup:

LisaD715
05-29-2005, 01:35 PM
Amy, I have had CT for several years. (I work on computers all day and cross stitch and knit all evening...lol)I wear braces EVERY NIGHT! It truly does help. I have had cortizone, but I limit them to no more than 2 per year, and that has also helped. Doing the stretches and wearing the braces will give you the greatest relief.

Good luck Sweetie!

MrsBear87
05-29-2005, 03:04 PM
My hubby uses VRS extensively. He has a spinal cord injury and finds it very helpful. You do have to train it, but after a few days, you're good to go.

I use it occasionally, and found the hardest thing was that it typed faster than I could think of what I wanted to say!

My lastest woe is tennis elbow and shoulder pain. Computer and knitting related, I'm sure. Going to the Dr's on Tuesday, and hope for an easy fix.

Good luck, Amy!

Stonington
05-29-2005, 04:01 PM
:crying: Amy.. am sorry you have CP. I developed it when in my early 20's and had to have surgery. It made a huge difference. I hated to do anything invasive, but it was really the only choice I had at the time. It has been 17 years and the numbness has not returned. I have arthritis but sleeping at night with a my arm on a pillow seems to help.. good luck hon! :sunny:

Yvonne
05-30-2005, 07:22 AM
Ack, Poor Amy. Yes, like everyone says, see a doctor and see what he/she says. Maybe you only have tendinitis and not CTS. I type for a living and then knit or crochet the rest of the time, so this is a fear for me as well. Actually, right now my right wrist is pretty sore. When this happens to me I take Aleve for a few days and I also have Hand-Eze gloves that I wear while I work. They are thin like another skin, not big and cumbersome like a wrist brace. You can usually get them at any CVS or Walgreens and also online.
Give it some rest and some time and definitely make sure your desk is set up properly. Feel better!

kemp
05-30-2005, 02:06 PM
I forgot to mention before...as far as the desk height, I have a tray installed under my keyboard that is adjustable to different heights, angles, etc. I feel like that helped too. See HERE (http://www.fellowes.com/category.aspx?sendingPageType=Category&catalog=Fellowes+Web+Site+Catalog&category=Keyboard+Managers(Fellowes+Web+Site+Catal og)&main=2&sub=5&path=Desktop+%26+Office+Essentials(Fellowes+Web+Si te+Catalog)%7c%7c%7cKeyboard+Managers(Fellowes+Web +Site+Catalog)) You install it under any existing desk, so you wouldn't have to get rid of your old one.

humblestumble
05-30-2005, 09:35 PM
Well, I have a mild case that hurts me sometimes with repetitive motion, but I usually wear my brace and lay off whatever it is, but one time I got so aggravated that I couldnt spend as much time online anymore so I went and bought a trackball mouse and it has helped soooo much, granted it takes a little getting used to (I tried to move the whole thing a lot when I firt got it)

It's a mouse that u just rest ur palm on and your fingers do the work moving a ball. And yes I agree- proper height is a must for everyone at the computer. 90 degree angles are best.

Knitting never bothered me either, but crocheting did until after knitting for a while, I started crocheting like I knit (Not moving my wrist much)

I've tried many braces and they annoy, but they help. I also do take Aleve when it gets bad, and my mom does Reiki (alternative healing -energy 'medicine') to it. And it helps a heap! She's a Reiki master.

Hope I helped!

amy
05-31-2005, 12:55 AM
Okay I bought wrist braces today. I tried on a bunch of kinds, including bowling ones at ****'s Sporting store, and the one I like the best was this one (http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=13794&catid=10279&brand=7758&trx=PLST-0-BRAND&trxp1=10279&trxp2=13794&trxp3=1&trxp4=0&btrx=BUY-PLST-0-BRAND&cmbProdBrandFilter=7758). I got it for my right wrist, it's perfect, comfortable and doesn't let me bend my wrist much; just a little. Great support. They didn't have this same one for my left hand, so I got the Delux (http://www.drugstore.com/products/prod.asp?pid=82043&catid=10279&brand=7758&trx=PLST-0-BRAND&trxp1=10279&trxp2=82043&trxp3=1&trxp4=0&btrx=BUY-PLST-0-BRAND&cmbProdBrandFilter=7758), which is completely restrictive and I don't like it, feels like it stressed my wrist out more because I push the limits of the motion. But I do like the other one, it's great for typing, and I think I can sleep with it too. I got them at CVS. I'm going to order that one for my left hand online, and return the one I don't like when I get it in. ;)

My desk won't take one of those keyboard trays, but I did modify it with a jigsaw yesterday, so that my knees can go higher. So I've raised my chair quite a bit, and now it's a much better height.

I will still see my doctor about it this week hopefully!

cheesiesmom
05-31-2005, 09:58 AM
Well, for goodness sake, make sure you post all the results. We are anxious to hear how you're doing.

Cluck, cluck, cluck, said the Mother Hen.

Aby
05-31-2005, 08:38 PM
I don't think the carpal tunnel nerve extends to the pinky fingers, so any pain or numbness or tingling which you experience will not affect them if it is carpal tunnel. If the pain/and or numbness extends there, then it likely is something else.

I suffered with carpal tunnel for years, before it finally worsened to the point that surgery was my only remaining option. I was to the point where I'd drop things and not even realize I'd released them. Peeling potatoes was in impossible task (which I didn't miss at all ;) ). I had nerve testing done on both hands to determine the extent of damage, as a confirmation of the diagnosis. It was such a relief after the wounds had healed to be able to do things I thought I'd never again be able to do.

However, there are things I cannot do now that I could prior to the surgery. It's nothing majorly significant, but I can no longer snap my fingers. I have a difficult time picking up tiny pills. My thumbs will barely meet my pinky and ring fingers (bringing tips together). It was a good trade-off, though.

I really worry about the recurrence of CPT, especially now that I've taken up knitting, since it's a repetetive movement task. I've spoken with people who've had multiple carpal tunnel correction surgeries. :shock:

I am very conscious about regularly stopping whatever I'm doing, whether it's using the keyboard at the computer, or knitting, to flex my hand and arm muscles.

I am fairly certain I now have arthritis in both hands. I have not yet been to a doctor for a confirmation diagnosis (no health insurance now :( ), but my hands ache terribly at times, especially when I first wake in the mornings. It's different than the pain I experienced with CPT, and there's no numbness or tingling, just the aching. I've wondered if I've developed arthritis as a result of the surgeries I had. :help:

I can just about agree with every single thing except the snapping my fingers part. I had surgery on both hands, one at a time. I too, had no other options left. I did the cortizone shots and therapy, braces.. I even had an entire arm brace at one point.. ON BOTH ARMS lol... that was a mess. But, I still had numbness and tingling, kept dropping things and so on. My surgery worked wonders but like you mentioned, I too have found that I've developed arthritis in my hands and I also have noticed they are weaker than before. I wonder if that just comes with doing the things that brought on the cts in the first place.

I did have numbness in my pinky fingers though and you are right, the nerves for half of the ring finger and the pinky finger do not run through the carpal tunnel... they encounter entrapment in the ulnar nerve in the elbow. I opted to keep my numb pinkies and avoid THAT surgery. My mom had it and said it was extremely painful and didn't help.

Anyway, good luck to you, Amy. If you should run out of options, I will tell you that the surgeries I had were a 100% improvement. I'd trade a month of pain all over again for the freedom of living without CTS.

foothills
05-31-2005, 09:59 PM
I feel for you Amy and hope you feel better soon. I have had a couple of bouts with rotator cuff tendonitis, so I know the pain ;) I had it in my left arm about 5 years ago, ended up going to an orthopaedic doctor who gave me a shot of cortisone and sent me for a round of physical therapy...couldn't even raise my arm but the exercises helped and it healed. Then, after my thyroid surgery last year, the doctor switched my Synthroid dosage and I developed the same thing in my right arm...I started doing the exercises and after he changed my medication once more, it finally got better...soooooo....go ahead and get it checked out and maybe there are some exercises you can do to help. YOU MUST HEAL>>>WE NEED YOU...AND :heart: YOU!!

Joyce

Rennagayle
05-31-2005, 09:59 PM
I will tell you that the surgeries I had were a 100% improvement. I'd trade a month of pain all over again for the freedom of living without CTS.


Ditto :thumbsup: , Aby!

amy
06-01-2005, 10:53 PM
You all are so sweet. :heart: Thanks!

I couldn't get in touch with my doctor today or yesterday, but I'll try her again tomorrow.

VictoiseC
06-02-2005, 12:49 PM
I was wondering where you've been Amy! Funny thing, I used to get ct pain in my wrist when I had my old computer and a mouse. Since I got my Sony Vaio notebook, and there is no mouse just the little screen you put your finger on, I haven't had it much at all.

I would never go back to using a mouse, there's just something about automatically gripping it that happens. For me anyhow.
(I'm trying it in the air and I feel how my whole hand tightens up, esp the pointer finger)

Does the ergonomic keyboard still havea mouse? You might want to try the keyboard with screen (if you haven't already?)
And definitely lower your desk yup yup!

And, no more tight crocheting! cheers,

perced
06-02-2005, 01:19 PM
I have a wave keyboard with a touchpad. It makes a big difference for me. The kids hate it though.

amy
06-02-2005, 03:56 PM
Thanks Vic and Christine. Well, I just bought this keyboard (below). The mouse is the same as what I use now, though. At least I can switch it to my left hand. I wouldn't mind another mouse set-up though. Can you buy that seperately, or is it part of a keyboard?

http://www.buypcdirect.com/images/ebay/products/input_devices/combo/microsoft/k48_00019/3.jpg

bubba
06-02-2005, 04:08 PM
You can buy any mouse that is compatible with your computer and keyboard to use. Mine has a trackball which I love.

pat.

amy
06-03-2005, 10:25 PM
Okay, UPDATE here....

I saw my naturopathic doctor today. Guess what... It's NOT carpal tunnel, it's something else! It's similar to CT, where the nerves and blood vessels get pinched by going through a narrow area, but that area is actually up in my shoulders, not in my wrists. Hence the focus of the pain being on the inside of my forearm. It's called thorasic outlet syndrome.

THANK YOU all who encouraged me to see my doctor!! She had excellent advice and treatment options. INCLUDING, some great general advice for anyone who uses the computer. She told me all my body parts should be at 90 degree angles or parallel to the floor. Especially my arms, in my case! She recommended I mount my keyboard under the desk, with one of those platforms you can buy that slide in and out under the desk. She recommended a gel support for the wrists in front of the keyboard and mouse. Incidently, she also said my monitor should be elevated so that my eyes fall 2/3 the way down the screen when I'm upright and looking straight ahead.

So I went straight to Staples and purchased a keyboard platform that mounts under my desk. I got the nicest one I could find, and I LOVE it. :heart: I'm typing with it right now, and WHAT A DIFFERENCE!!! I still need to take it easy and not over-do the computer for now, but I KNOW this is going to make a huge difference, it feels so much better to type already! Woohoo! :happydance: And the mouse is better too, in its new location next to the keyboard. I should have done this ages ago!!

Apparently the root of the problem was that I had my keyboard on my desk which is higher than most desks, and my arms had to reach up at an angle. This put stress on muscles in my shoulders, and the inflamation is pinching the thorasic outlet, and creating problems in my forearms and wrists, which she says is typcical. I NEVER would have guessed the problem's source was in my shoulders! So much for sleeping with wrist braces on! LOL. She says those won't do me any good, and in fact they've seemed to aggrivate the problem if anything. Thank goodness for good doctors (and good advice from friends! Thanks y'all!) *muah!*

VictoiseC
06-05-2005, 01:43 PM
Glad to hear you're feeling better Amy! That's very interesting... I've been having a 'tingling' in my shoulder off and on for a year or so, not too serious but weird. Maybe a visit to a doctor is a good idea for me too.

The mouse issue I was talking about is, in my notebook there is just the touchpad and no mouse at all. You've probably seen them in the new notebooks? (well, not that new) So, that's no mouse , just the touchpad, which I adore.

But your new keyboard looks really super and I'll bet the position of your computer will help immediately. all for now! :D