Last summer I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel in both wrists.  Naturally, the doctors recommend surgery.  I decided to start with an expensive cortisone shot in the right wrist which was worse, and it didn't help at all that I noticed.  I started acupuncture, but I only went for a few weeks because it also got very expensive going three times a week.  I am now experiencing worse pain in my left wrist/hand and becoming highly concerned about my ability to work and being able to make a living as a freelancer.  

I have never heard anything positive about the surgery, and I'm looking for some feedback from anyone who has experienced it or any positive results with any alternative therapies.  I have exercises from physical therapy, and I have the wrist braces already.  I am probably going back to acupuncture this week.

Basically I want to know if anyone had success with the surgery and how long the down time is.  Being self-employed, I can't afford to be off work for very long as we all know! 

Thanks!

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I think the down time is at least six weeks.  I knew one reporter that had the surgery and was very happy with it.  I would definitely research your doctor and make sure there are no complaints about him/her.  Also, ask for references from the doctor; satisfied patients that had the surgery.  Can't hurt.

I'm sorry you have that problem.  I have tendonitis and go to a chiropractor, which seems to help.  You may want to try that route.  I did the acupuncture with no results.  Massage, chiropractor and stretching, drink lots of water and wear your braces at night.  I also rest my wrists on a pillow on my lap when I write all day.  I wouldn't be doing this job if I didn't use that pillow.  Seriously, that lumbar pillow makes all the difference in the world.  Takes a while to get used to it, though.

Thanks so much, Kelli.  Really appreciate your reply!

I always make sure I am in an ergonomically correct position, when I'm writing and when I'm editing.  I would think there is inflammation inside your wrists.  I wonder if you went on a diet that reduced inflammation if that would help.  That's my best idea..

Good luck to you.

Janiece

Thanks!

Hi, I started getting it in CR school.  After I got out, I worked about eight months and then couldn't stand it anymore.  I did one wrist, was out for a month, I believe, maybe six weeks, then waited a couple months, did the other one, was out the same amount of time.  I haven't really had any problems since.  This was about 21 years ago.  Back then they did the open surgery.  Now they do it laparoscopically.  I have a friend who did it that way about 11 years ago (not a court reporter).  She also did one, waited a few months, then did the other.  She had a very fast recovery, within a few weeks, although she wasn't reporting.

For about a year or two before the surgery, I had done cortisone shots (didn't help) and tried different drugs.  The one that helped me the most was Voltaren, but it was wrecking my stomach after a while, which is why I did the surgery.  I was also taking B-6 to help reduce inflammation.  I did acupuncture, which felt great at the time, but it only lasted a day or two at at time so I quit that.

The thing that helped the most was getting hand braces, the ones with a metal bar inside them and three velcro straps, and sleeping with them.  It keeps your hand in a neutral position and relieves the pressure on the nerve.  I still slept with them for years afterwards -- it got to be like a security blanket and I couldn't fall asleep without it!  I still have them, and if I have a really hard day and my arms are just tired and worn out, I will put them on.  (One of them is almost chewed through from my puppy -- who is now 17 1/2 years old!)

Also, I got a tilting tripod a few years later, and I really feel that if I had had that in school, maybe I wouldn't have needed surgery.  It really seems to help. 

Good luck!  I'm having this weird thing with my thumb now where it  just all of a sudden gets so painful -- pretty scary.

Deborah - thanks so much.  I hope your thumb is nothing too serious!

Well, here's my two cents' worth.  I did have right wrist trouble long ago.  Acupuncture really helped, but you have to find a really good one and I think three times a week is not necessary to see improvement.

Also, really good chiropractic adjustment of the neck, first rib/T1 vertebra can make a big difference as well

as finding a chiro that's good at adjusting extremities (wrist bones, elbow joint) and just because a chiro says they can adjust extremities doesn't mean they're good at it.

Then diet is very important.  No sugar, coffee (too acidic) tea is okay and anti-inflammatory diet.  Aerobic exercise to really get the blood circulating regularly is great.

Surgery..........most people do not have a cure from it, so do, but most don't unless there's an actual obstruction in the wrist area that gets removed in the surgery.  And you forever compromise the structural integrity of the wrist.

My right wrist bothers me some after three days in a row of writing, but doing the above things really keeps it in check from when I first had problems with it long ago.

Your thumb joint could be out of adjustment.


Great info, Kerry.  Thanks!

Thumb joint possibly could be from texting and not writing on machine. If you text try giving that a break first and see if you feel better. I never had wrist problems and that probably is because I am a pianist. Another solution is to get yourself into lessons to learn wrist placement which would be very advantageous for anyone working many hours on a keyboard of any type. Most pianists do not get carpal tunnel.

I don't do a whole lot of texting, but it could be from mousing, maybe.  I can write on my machine just fine, but I have to wear the brace so I don't forget and do something like pick up anything or put any pressure on my thumb, or really the whole hand. 

I am a firm believer in holistic treatment. I get frequent deep tissue massages (OUCH!!!) but it's because of this in my opinion that I do not have carpal tunnel at this point. A year ago I was in a lot of pain! Back hurt all the time, hands were swollen (stopped wearing my wedding band), hands would get numb often, especially at night, had some tennis elbow issues in my left arm. Nowadays I can work all day jobs and not feel any pain. It has made a tremendous difference! I know it can get expensive. I go about 2x/month. I will start going 1x/week to take care of some discomfort I have in my right shoulder and occasional tennis elbow flareup in my left arm. But overall I feel great! Anyway, just a thought. I pay $39.99 for a one-hour massage. I think that's quite a bargain! You also have to make sure that you find the right masseuse. By the way I'm also a pianist. My youtube acct, videos of my recitals and competitions: http://www.youtube.com/user/pianochick1/videos

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