I think I have carpal tunnel syndrome!!! HELP!!!

I'm a full-time court reporter student, part-time legal secretary/billing clerk, and freelance transcriptionist... and I think I've developed carpal tunnel syndrome!!! :(

I wanted to ask if our CSR's have carpal tunnel? If so, can/do you still work through it?

Worst case scenario is that I can no longer pursue my dream of becoming a Certified Shorthand Reporter... which would seriously be AWFUL!!! I've worked SO HARD to get to where I am now (160 WPM and counting). I don't want to forsake my dream of being a CSR until I absolutely, absolutely have to! But I don't think it'll be that severe... right?!

I did some online researching, and the articles I've read say that carpal tunnel is very common and is treatable. For instance, I already tried the ice pack method and just generally rested my hand as much as I could. It helped tremendously! The tingling/numbness subsided after a few days, and today I don't feel it (the tingling/numbness started on Thursday night, and today is Monday morning).

So... again my questions are:
- Do you have carpal tunnel? If so, how does it affect your work?
- What do you do to help curb this disorder as you work?
- Do you honestly think I should be worried about pursuing my career in stenography now that I've developed this? ***I REALLY NEED REASSURANCE ON THIS ONE PLEASE***

Any help you can give is so appreciated! Thank you all in advance!

- Christine

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Comment by Eva Ashkenazi on April 27, 2011 at 20:00
I learned a lot from the comments below.  Just curious if you've ever tried adjusting your machine.  There's a possibility your machine might be too high or low and your body is telling you that with the pain.  I know when I was in school it took some time for me to figure out the right height to have my machine at.  I would see some people with it very high, some with it very low.   Some would pound away and others looked like their fingers were flying without making any noise at all.  I remember putting a penny on the top of each hand as I would write to make sure I had my machine set just so.  If the penny fell off as I was writing, then I would readjust until it didn't.  This helped me and I have never any major issues with my hands since.  It helps to watch yourself in the mirror if you try this.  You're able to better gauge where to best set the height of your machine.   Hope you find a solution!
Comment by Judy on September 17, 2009 at 8:11
Yeah, I've been thinking new writer too. I have a 3/4-year-old Mira. Maybe when the credit cards get paid off, I'll be treating myself.
Comment by Veronica Kubat on September 17, 2009 at 7:59
Judy, you need a new writer (and guess which one I recommend!).

Tendinitis is the reason I had to get the Grand. Haven't had it since.

Comment by Tanya Saar on September 17, 2009 at 7:58
I had the same thing happen to me in school at 140. I know this sounds crazy, but it worked for me. Before you go to bed at night take Scullcap and Yucca. You can get them at any health food store. The Scullcap helps with circulation while you sleep. The Yucca is an anti inflammatory. Make sure you don't take them during the day because the Scullcap will make you sleepy. I went to the health food store and this is what they recommended. I couldn't believe they worked. Also, the gloves are a wonderful thing. Good Luck.
Comment by Judy on September 17, 2009 at 7:20
I was, again, diagnosed with tendonitis. I went to a massage therapist last week who asked if she could work on my arm. Sure, why not. She was playing around with my wrist and it just popped back into place. I had no idea it was out of place. I still wear my guards, but I have had no pain/discomfort since then (and I wrote almost 300 pages on Tuesday).

And she also suggested a chiropractor and/or accupuncture (apparently my neck and back are totally messed up).
Comment by Therese Masi on September 17, 2009 at 7:09
By the way, I have recently been diagnosed with Spina Bifida (thought that was something you were born with??) after working as a reporter for two decades!!! Imagine that. I'm sideways from reporting for so long. I swear it's from being pregnant three times and having fat, spoiled boys that I kept on a hip for at least three years each while carrying my machine & laptop everyday on the other side!!!
Comment by Therese Masi on September 17, 2009 at 7:04
Maybe you are meant to be something more than a court reporter. Pray hard; God has plans. You sound like you are better than most. :)
Comment by Christine (Steno Nerd) on June 26, 2009 at 23:33
Just wanted to say THANK YOU again to everyone who posted their wonderful insights! I'm seriously so relieved to know that I can continue my pursuit to be a CSR, and this tingling/numbness in my left hand doesn't have to stop me!

UPDATE: My hand isn't tingling/numb anymore, thank GOD! I basically rested my hands as much as I could, made sure I had great posture, and iced it! All these seemingly small (and thankfully inexpensive ways! Hehehe!) worked miracles! I'll make sure to try all the things you all posted here for when this happens again, which will hopefully be never but if it does come again, I'LL BE READY!

Just wanted to share too that I posted about you wonderful people in my blog, http://www.stenonerd.blogspot.com. Feel free to read up on it here.

Thanks again, CSR Nation! You guys are awesome!

Gratefully yours,
Comment by Glen Warner on June 24, 2009 at 9:44
Hi, Christine.

When I was in school, we had an official of 20-plus years come in and talk to us. One thing she said was that when she first started, she had pain in her wrists. She went to a naturopath, and he told her to soak her arms, from wrist to elbow, in ice water once a week.

She got herself a couple of pans long enough to accommodate her forearms, got her VCR ready to play the 1 hour TV show she recorded the night before, and kept her arms in that water for the full hour.

The result? Did I mention that she's been a reporter for more than 20 years? :o)

That said, you've been given some excellent advice here. On the supplements, I would recommend that you Google them and see which of those recommended are best for what ails you, and use just that one ... preferably in conjunction with the afore-mentioned ice method.

Good luck ... and hope that helps!

"For a Good (steno) Time ...."
Comment by Dana Serrano on June 23, 2009 at 8:17
I was just adjusted by the chiropractor myself... She said with what we do, we need to be adjusted every month or at least once every three months. Our muscles get so tense it affects all of our upper body. There's much controversy over chiros because people think they're quacks. But if you find a good one, they can be miracle workers, in my opinion. Don't think you have to head for surgery... try other things first. I strained my rotator cuff many years ago while trying to get out of school, that was the worst pain I had ever felt and was out of commission for 10 months. My chiro was the only one who was able to get me back to work.

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