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> Anyone have carpal tunnel surgery?
sgarnett
post Oct 25 2007, 03:14 PM
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The orthopedic surgeon I saw yesterday has sent me for therapy for carpal tunnel before. It's been back again for awhile, this time with a very painful cyst to aggravate the situation. He referred me to see a hand/wrist specialist, and suggested that I might need to have both problems corrected surgically at the same time. In other words, the ligament across the base of the palm would be severed. That isn't the plan yet though, just speculation. I'm hoping that the removing/aspirating/whatever the cyst might take care of it, since it's right next to the carpal tunnel and may be rubbing the nerve too.

Anyway, the orthopedic surgeon, who did a great job on my knee but does not do hands anymore, said all of his past patients have been happy and nobody complained of lack of strength. He said it only reduces hands strength with the hand at an angle that's weak and awkward even without the surgery. OK, I understand that, and everyone I've talked to said the same thing. Nobody thinks they lost any hand strength.

However, I doubt if any of those people actually use their hands for any real work. They've probably never touched a wrench in their lives, and certainly haven't tried to use one in the inevitable awkward spots. At least now I can turn a turn a few bolts, then ice down my wrist and take it up again the next day. Yeah, it took me two weeks to get through a recent job that should have taken an afternoon, but I did get it done. I also live on about 11 acres, with all that entails .... Plus, there's the 54 pound race tires to maneuver onto the studs, and an ever-growing child who feels no pain whatsoever from my wrist (IMG:http://www.frrax.com/rrforum/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)

Am I worrying about nothing? Once that ligament is severed, there's no turning back.

This post has been edited by sgarnett: Oct 25 2007, 03:33 PM
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StanIROCZ
post Oct 25 2007, 08:20 PM
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My dad had the surgery on both hands and after they healed he was as strong as ever. But it doesn’t sound like you’re concerned about strength but more “precision” or whatever you want to call it. My dad wasn’t a surgeon or anything, but I never heard him complain about anything after that surgery. He worked road construction, so he used his hands all day every day and wrenched at home.

I’m no doctor, but with the pain that you are having it sounds to me like you’d be much better off getting it.
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trackbird
post Oct 25 2007, 08:23 PM
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I work with a guitar player (sax, keyboards, etc as well) and he's had both hands done. The recovery took a while, but he's back and playing guitar and doing any and everything else he wants to do. The recovery process was painful for him and it took some work to get it dexterity back for guitar playing, but he did get it done. I've been diagnosed with it and I've been putting off fixing it for a while now. And, now with the divorce, I'll probably not have a chance to worry about it for a long time.
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CrashTestDummy
post Oct 25 2007, 08:49 PM
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I had what I thought was carpel tunnel many, many years ago. I was working as a sysadmin during the day, and working on a thesis by night. I spent most of my time in front of a keyboard, and drawing illustrations via mouse and keyboard for hours at a time. My mouse hand had it. The shooting pains that ran up my arm when I walked.

I used an old sysadmin trick to 'physical therapy' it out. That is, I got some strength putty (the stuff they sell in the sporting goods stores to strengthen your grip) and used it. It was agony for the first couple of weeks, with my hand and wrist aching, with just a couple of minutes use, for hours afterward, but I it eventually helped. I've had no problems since.

While sgarnett has a cyst that may need to be excised first, others with simple CTS may want to try this avenue. I understand that a yo-yo will help, too. Common sysadmin's 'tool', they used to be given out by the thousands at computing conferences.
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SSTAT
post Oct 26 2007, 05:28 AM
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Im an internal medicine physician, (hence SSTAT) not a surgeon. But Ive referred many people for, and seen many people after this surgery, and none has complained of lack of strength. Given the ligament that is severed, I find it hard to believe anyone would lose ANY strength from this surgery. Were talking a ligament (connects bone to bone) not a tendon (muscle to bone). The only problem you could speculate on would be loss of some "stability" of the wrist, but not overt strength. And Ive NEVER heard of any joint stability problems after this surgery (like with an ACL tear). Again, Im not a surgeon, but this is my opinion.
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sgarnett
post Oct 26 2007, 09:32 AM
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I have to admit that medically-necessary yo-yo breaks have a certain appeal (IMG:http://www.frrax.com/rrforum/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

My concern is the ligament acting as a pulley (or lack thereof) for the tendons going into the hand. This would depend on the position of the hand. With it straight (in line with forearm) the tendons have a straight shot, but in other positions that may not be true.

It sounds like I'm worrying about nothing, though. I haven't heard or heard of a single complaint about loss of strength.
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dregsz
post Nov 21 2007, 05:21 AM
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QUOTE (sgarnett @ Oct 26 2007, 04:32 AM) *
I have to admit that medically-necessary yo-yo breaks have a certain appeal (IMG:http://www.frrax.com/rrforum/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)

My concern is the ligament acting as a pulley (or lack thereof) for the tendons going into the hand. This would depend on the position of the hand. With it straight (in line with forearm) the tendons have a straight shot, but in other positions that may not be true.

It sounds like I'm worrying about nothing, though. I haven't heard or heard of a single complaint about loss of strength.



I used to see alot of carpal tunnel patients but not so much any more.
For the cyst, We take a really large book and just smack the hell out of it. Breaks it up just fine. usually takes one time
From what I've seen, about half the people who get the surgery have the pain return within a year.

Good Luck
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jeffburch
post Nov 21 2007, 12:59 PM
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Don't know much about it. One of my guys is off for the Holidays have both of his done at once.

jb
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sgarnett
post Nov 22 2007, 04:19 PM
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I've heard of the book trick. The cyst seems to be right against the nerve, though, so I've been hesitant to try it and maybe make things worse.

This post has been edited by sgarnett: Nov 23 2007, 04:40 AM
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sgarnett
post Nov 23 2007, 04:41 AM
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QUOTE (dregsz @ Nov 21 2007, 12:21 AM) *
From what I've seen, about half the people who get the surgery have the pain return within a year.

Hmmm .....
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Rob Hood
post Nov 23 2007, 07:21 PM
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QUOTE (sgarnett @ Nov 22 2007, 09:19 AM) *
I've heard of the book trick. The cyst seems to be right against the nerve, though, so I've been hesitant to try it and maybe make things worse.



Hit your big toe with a hammer first - you won't feel the cyst breaking up then! (IMG:http://www.frrax.com/rrforum/style_emoticons/default/smile.gif) (IMG:http://www.frrax.com/rrforum/style_emoticons/default/blink.gif)
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steve-d
post Nov 25 2007, 06:32 PM
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Doing the same sort of repetitive manipulation of the hands may eventually lead to the same situation. Many letter carriers required the surgery a second time b/o not taking up a second career.
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Lonnie
post Dec 1 2007, 01:15 AM
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I was also having a carpal tunnel problem with my hands. I went to a chiropractor (although skeptical) & started some therapy. There is a wrist strap that extends to the floor that you stand on & pull tension to stretch your wrist.... it involved a few different arm positions for approx 1 minute each way. (a nylon tie down strap & some velcro can make one of these for a few $$)

Then a few wrist exercises with a small dumb bell to repetitively move the wrist it to its limits in both directions. All of this took about 10 minutes to do.

All of this can be done at home, which I now do.

This helped a great deal after just a few days. I could not ride my motorcycle for more than 5 min without losing the feeling in my fingers, afterwards I only had a very slight stinging after a long ride. It stopped the numbness while driving as well & also helped with the problems during sleep.

I also had the cyst problem a few years ago. I girl I knew told me that her dad had the same thing & that the doctor hit it with a small book in his office.... so I smacked my wrist on the corner of the bar we sitting were at & it disappeared. Never had another one.

Lonnie

This post has been edited by Lonnie: Dec 1 2007, 01:17 AM
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sgarnett
post Dec 28 2007, 03:57 PM
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By the time I was finally able to get an appointment with the surgeon, my wrist wasn't hurting as much. There was still some numbness and tingling, but it wasn't bad. He gave me a cortisone shot in the wrist. The idea is that if it is carpal tunnel, the shot will help for a while, and it didn't make any difference.

The new, unconfirmed diagnosis is "pronator syndrome". The nerve passes between some muscles and tendons in the forearm, and if the edge of the tendon is unusually "sharp" or whatever, it can rub or pinch the nerve. It's supposedly fairly rare, but much more common among people who frequently flex the fingers forcefully with the arm extended, such as carpenters, guitarists, and ... mechanics. In other words, people who use tools (IMG:http://www.frrax.com/rrforum/style_emoticons/default/banghead.gif)

No physician has shown much interest in the cyst on my wrist, though I think it was also contributing to the problem. It's still there, but less sensitive.

Long story short, I'm supposed to go back to the surgeon if it gets bad again, when it will be easier to confirm the diagnosis. I suspect that will be midway through the summer again, just like the last two flareups, when projects and activities are in full swing. The good news is that recovery from the forearm surgery (if needed) should be much quicker than recovery from the wrist surgery, and hopefully it will be quicker than recovery from the flareups (almost 6 months each time).

This post has been edited by sgarnett: Dec 28 2007, 04:06 PM
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