Anyone Have Carpal Tunnel And/or Ra? Do I Have To Quit Cake

Decorating By BakeLoveMom Updated 14 Apr 2010 , 11:53pm by ZoesMum

BakeLoveMom Posted 13 Apr 2010 , 11:51pm
post #1 of 18

I have carpal tunnel...(I just found out recently) and now they are checking me for Rheumatoid Arthritis...I just turned 30 in January...and I have only been caking for 2 years.

I am just wondering realistically if caking is going to be a possiblity for me? Right now my arms are both swollen, my right much more than my left...I definetly can't squeeze a pastry bag right now, they have that hand in a brace...the burning, numbness, and sharp shooting pains spasm throughout the came on quite suddenly...Started with just the unexplained swelling, then the pain and that a couple weeks later.

I am assuming it will get somewhat better, and right now I am taking a break from caking.

My question this it? Do I have to quit? What about the wedding cakes I have coming up this summer?

If anyone has experience with this can you give me some advise???

Thanks so much, Sarah

17 replies
dldbrou Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 12:07am
post #2 of 18

I have had the carpal tunnel surgery and trigger thumb surgery within 4 months of each other. You loose some strength in that hand, but not much if you do your exercises. The surgery is not bad either.

Just make sure you check out everything before having surgery. Have them do a nerve test, X-rays, MRI, just to make sure it isn't something else.

The arthritis might be more of a problem than the carpal tunnel, because you can have the surgery, whereas the arthritis will require medication to keep you from being in pain.

Either way, once they determine what it is you can get relief eventually. Good Luck

prterrell Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 12:23am
post #3 of 18

I had carpal tunnel surgery done on both hands before I turned 30. I have much better strength and dexterity in my hands now than before I had the surgery. Absolutely have the surgery done sooner rather than later.

Kitagrl Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 12:27am
post #4 of 18

Wow...I don't have it that bad...I do get wrist pain when I pipe and I have to wear a brace, but thankfully most people want fondant these days.

Sounds the the arthritis will be the worse problem, as someone mentioned above...good luck...hope the doctors can help you!

ptanyer Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 12:27am
post #5 of 18

I know exactly what you are talking about!!! I have carpal tunnel. I was diagnosed 3 years ago. I worked full time in braces on both hands and slept in them at night. The real break through for me came when I was put on ibuprofin on a regular schedule. Now I only have to wear the braces when I am typing alot (I'm a legal assistant so you know how much typing I have to do each day), or anything else that will stress out my hands. I have learned to pipe while wearing them. My DH has been a real help in kneading and rolling out fondant and helping with cleanup when I bake. What a difference that made for me. I still get burning hands that wake me up from time to time, especially when I'm am stressed I've noticed.

You might have to take a small break from everything and rest, rest, rest your hands. Do you like to read? Take a weekend and do nothing! The world won't end if you don't make the bed or wash dishes for a couple of days. If you can take ibuprofin then give it a try. The dr. put me on 800 mg 3 times a day (he told me to buy it over the counter (200 mg) and just take 4 of them. Saved me the costs of a prescription.

If I can help you, please don't hesitate to PM or email me icon_smile.gif


CookieMakinMomma Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 12:39am
post #6 of 18

Be careful about taking large quantities of ibuprofen over an extended period of time. It can cause serious kidney damage. I definitely wouldn't consider it without a doctor's OK and supervision (and serious cause). Just an FYI.

mpetty Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 12:41am
post #7 of 18

FYI, one of the teachers at our local cake shop is in her 70s and has had RA for a long time; it's so bad that she has to walk with crutches because her hip sockets are shot, and she has severe RA in her hands. But she's still in very high demand, especially for high end wedding cakes. I asked her once how she manages to do such beautiful work and her response was that "you just learn to adjust." LOL, I can't imagine that, especially since I do such clumsy work with two good hands, but she manages.

Good luck with finding tips and strategies to help you. icon_smile.gif

oceanslayer Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 12:46am
post #8 of 18

I've had carpal tunnel for years (16 to be exact) and needed to get the surgery for so long. It wasn't until I started decorating cakes that I decided to go ahead with the surgery. For me, it took the desire to do something I love to motivate me to take that next step. I had the surgery about 6 weeks ago and now I can pipe again!

My opinion... you may want to make sure that you plan for extra time to complete your cakes. You will need to take plenty of breaks. Take some Aleve a couple of hours before you pipe. You may also need to be more selective on what you commit to. If the bride requests lots of intricate piping, you may need to have a conversation with her about what you are able to do at this time. Bottom line, I definitely don't think you have to quit caking, you just have to make it work for you.

prterrell Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 1:04am
post #9 of 18

The damage from carpal tunnel syndrome is cumulative. The longer you go before you have the surgery, the more damage is being done. This damage cannot be reversed. The surgery prevents further damage from being done by releasing the pressure on the nerves. The surgery is brief, done under local anesthesia, and out patient. Healing time is about 3 weeks. Anyone with CTS should get the surgery as soon as possible.

BakeLoveMom Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 1:16am
post #10 of 18

Thanks everyone, I know I can't do anything right now...even if I try I pay for it. I was sad not to be able to make something really cute or detailed for Easter...I was lucky in that I slowed down orders before all this started due to it taking over my life and time with my hubby and kids. I will have to see how it goes, I have another x-ray scheduled and an EMG...we will go from there. Sorry about not responding right away, I had 8 responses and not one e-mail telling me that I did. Oh well. I will check in again.

Thanks so much,

Misdawn Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 1:21am
post #11 of 18

Sweetheart I have had RA, Lupus, Myasthenia Gravis, Crone's Disease, Fibromyalgia, Schleroderma, and Raynaud's Disease since I was 17. I'm now 32 and have been caking for years. It's definitely possible. There is hope...don't get discouraged.

JenniferAtwood Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 2:16am
post #12 of 18

I hope everyone is stretching their wrist and arm muscle. You wouldn't run a marathon without stretching first. This can prevent Carpal Tunnel if not daily.

mpetty Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 2:49am
post #13 of 18
Originally Posted by champagne_cakes

TI had 8 responses and not one e-mail telling me that I did. Oh well. I will check in again.

I've had that happen to me too, even if I've checked the box to be notified when responses are posted. icon_confused.gif

milkmaid42 Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 2:50am
post #14 of 18

I can totally sympathize with you. I had to wear braces at night and was having difficulty holding on to anything...pain and tingling , the whole works. My Dr. told me it was considered a "high tech" problem exacerbated by keyboard use or any repetitive motion. I developed it in a really low tech fashion: hand milking my cow! After the previously suggested tests I had the surgery on both wrists. The results were/are fantastic. I am not restricted in any fashion, although I did buy a milking machine to prevent any recurrence. If surgery is indicated, do not hesitate. This was over 15 years ago and I am so glad that I had it done.

cakesdivine Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 2:59pm
post #15 of 18

I have Carpel Tunnel and Lupus, I had to give up the break neck pace of grocery store decorating, but just doing my own thing with my icing is fine. If I have to use stiff icing or do correlli lace or sotas I take my time and pace myself so my hand doesn't give out on me. You don't have to give it up, just be cautious and consciencous.

ZoesMum Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 8:38pm
post #16 of 18

Sorry to jump in with another question, but regarding the Carpel Tunnel...I got it from breast feeding my little one and stupidly thought it would get better when I stopped. Now you all have me worried! So should I be getting on my Dr. about surgery...he just told me to wear braces at night and it would be fine...eep!

malakainrop Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 9:35pm
post #17 of 18

I've had surgery on both wrists for CT - both very successful! One nearly 20 years ago and the other 15 years ago.

Listen to prterrell - she knows what she is talking about LOL

If you put off surgery too long - the nerve is damaged and it is not possible to repair. Surgery done early enough will relieve all symptoms and prevent re-occurence.

I too have lupus - and this gives pain in the small joints - thankfully it isn't a constant and I can just treat the flare-ups tip!!

Don't get BOTH wrists done at the same time!
(you'll need some-one who is prepared to wipe your arse!) hahahaha

ZoesMum Posted 14 Apr 2010 , 11:53pm
post #18 of 18

Ha!!! OK...won't get both done at the same time!!! Was passing this along to my hubby cause it was so funny, to which he replied...babe, I love you, but you are over the age of four, so I won't be wiping your arse!!

I'm thinking I need to get back into the Dr. again then...sigh...

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