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Re: [IPk] Carpal tunnel syndrome

Oh yes, I have something to say even about carpal tunnel!

I was diagnosed with it in both hands 4 years ago. My right hand had gotten 
so that I woke up in tingly pain and/or numbness every morning, dropped 
coffee cups, and couldn't hold a needle. That was 'moderate' according to 
the neurologist (stages: mild, moderate, and severe). I had the surgery a 
few weeks after diagnosis. The surgery was same-day, local block, and took 7 
minutes from the incision to the last stitch. I was holding a pen and 
writing about 2 weeks later, and no longer wearing an elastic wrap bandage 
at 3 weeks. It was a full year before I could do normal press-ups, though.

My left hand was diagnosed as 'mild' when my right was 'moderate'. Sometimes 
driving a car with the heel of my hand on the wheel was uncomfortable, and I 
usually woke up with a bit of weirdness. I have slept with a wrist brace on 
every night for 4 years since diagnosis. Last spring I noticed some 
progression. I am now supposed to have the surgery (called a 'carpal tunnel 
release') on 9 December. An earlier date was offered when I saw the 
orthopaedic surgeon in July, but mid-October was not gonna be convenient for 
recovery time.

Hows + whys: 4 years ago, conventional wisdom said it was not more common in 
people with diabetes, just that if someone with diabetes happens to get it, 
it will not go away. It will just get worse gradually and eventually require 
surgery. My orthopedist in Virginia said that's why it's not classed as a 
complication like nephropathy, retinopathy, etc. Any more recent insights 

For the most accurate diagnosis, a neurologist can attach electrodes to your 
fingers and to the underside of your forearm and measure the time it takes 
for an impulse generated at one end to reach the other end of the nerve. If 
the carpal tunnel is constricting the nerve, then the transmission time is 
slowed. Voila!

What to do now: get a wrist brace and sleep with it on every night. Wearing 
it during the day will make you sore and frustrated: your hand muscles will 
strain against it when you try to do anything. Wearing the brace at night 
holds your hand in a position that takes pressure off the nerve and forces 
the tunnel to relax. It takes a bit of getting used to, but it makes a real 
difference!. The sort of brace you'll want is illustrated on 
http://www.vantage-chemist.co.uk/uk2shop-15.htm -- just scroll about halfway 
down the long page. And it's only GBP 14.95 too :) .

Feelin' your pain,

IDDM 10+ years; MiniMed pumper 7 years; 'Now, where did put my brace this 
morning?' 4+ years

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