I've just been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. It came on quickly, and I'm only 26! Does having carpal tunnel spell the end of cake decorating, or limit the years I can do this? Any tips for relieving the pain?
Typing Hurts in Massachusetts
you may find that you have to decorate differently, You certainly will have to make changes. Some things to do is first get the pain under control. IF its hurting you to type you should take a break from cakes (JMO and im not a doctor) Sleep with those hard splint things on your hands. I use those fingerless gloves that are made to reduce the stress on your hands.
When decorating use small amounts of icing in your bags, You will stress your hands much less. Learn to use a softer consistency of icing. I have found that very few decorations need a very stiff icing.
You may want to explore other decorating options.
It will be OK! I have it in both wrists, and I have been living with it for a very long time now. I totally agree with peg, you will have to do some things differently, and get the pain under control, but once you learn what you can and cannot do - it does become easier. The hardest thing for me to do is intricate piping. It is not consistent.
I have different braces, for different things,. I like the braces that fit over your fingers for piping, the ones that have the metal strip that come all up when I need more support, and the one that just wraps around the wrist, when kneading. I don't sleep in braces, It seemed to make it worst for me, but a lot of Drs. say to.
I will tell you, I bought a cricut cake (which I love!!!) and now I can have perfect - consistent scrolls, cool lettering, and cute critters, etc. There are tools that make things easier!!
Hello. Both my grandmother and I had an issue with this and I highly recommend that you find a chiropractor that comes recommended to you and go there. It beats surgery and is a lasting solution. I went 3 times a week for 3 weeks and now go once every 3 months for an adjustment and have no issues.
My grandmother's was much worse and she went for a couple months, but both of us have avoided surgery. The braces are a great help while you are getting better. Good luck.
I too have been diagnosed with carpel tunnel and arthritis in my right hand. I am a hobby cake decorator so I don't know about doing it for a living. I started decorating after I found out I had carpel tunnel.
I take a nutrional supplement that has made a big difference for me. i don't sleep with the splint anymore either. Pm me if you want more info but I won't be able to get back to you til I get back from vacation.
I wasn't about to give up my new hobby without a fight.
It's certainly not the "end". I'll be 50 this year and I've had carpal tunnel for over half of my life. Yes it's painful but you do learn to adjust. At 49 I'm discovering that I'm not as comfortable in my body in many ways other than carpal tunnel. My back hurts more, my knees, my elbows, by legs, etc.
Thanks for all your replies and support! I was a bit discouraged yesterday, but after a good night of sleep, a pair of supportive splints, and reading your comments, I feel a lot better!
I'm absolutely not going to give up decorating...this is my passion, and some stupid pain and soreness won't stop me!
Its not the end, I am 27 and have had carpal tunnel since I was 22. I rely on my mixer a lot for making MMF or homemade GP, I just use the dough hook and add the colors to the liquid. As far as kneading Satin Ice, its tedious, but I have found that if you microwave it for a few seconds it becomes more pliable and easier to work with. Heck I have even thrown heated up SI in the mixer with the hook and color to mix.
Rolling isnt too terrible, but I have a dowel like rolling pin, no handles.
Repetitive work like lots of flowers or GP items is difficult because my fingers dont want to grasp things as easily (my ct is pretty bad) as they used to. So i work ahead a lot, in fact you will hear me curse because I will work ahead and then the customer will change the design. I take my time and do maybe 3-5 flowers and then take a break. I will cut out several thing and then take a break. You can keep your fondant moist by putting a warm damp towel over anything you cut out.
I am actually getting ready to quit cake decorating as a job and keep it as a hobby. I dont have my own place and they dont pay me for everything that I do around there. I went back to school last year for a teaching degree and I think I am ready to quit the decorating and concentrate on school and my degree.
It's not the end.. it might be painful, yes. I have arthritis and lupus, I deal with the pain as it comes. Not the end, might slow me down sometimes but I wont stop doing what I love cause of it.
I had carpal tunnel so badly in my right wrist that the specialist put me into surgery the next day. I had to stop caking for about three months, but I'm back at it with no problems. I do still have it in my left wrist, but it's no where near as bad as the right one, so I don't really care. NO, you don't have to give up! You may want to consider the surgery one day, but only if it's so bad that you can't sleep at night or somthing.
Don't despair! All of the suggestions so far have been great and I hope something helps you. Hand milking my cow brought on severe carpal tunnel in both of my wrists nearly 15 years ago. The night time splints were no longer helping, so I had surgery: both wrists simultaneously. (I had family to help during the recuperation.) I subsequently purchased a milking machine to avoid recurrence, but have had no difficulties or restrictions since. I can knead fondant, bread, and do detail work with gumpaste, etc. It is like it never happened.
Good luck to you, there is always help. Just find what works for you.
It's good to know I'm not alone in this!
I will definitely use many of the suggestions made here, so thanks to everyone.
Still waiting for test results to see if there's a bigger issue causing the CT. I'm a little nervous but after reading the posts here, I will have support and encouragement regardless of the results.
Cake, you are my forever love....haha, at least I can laugh about it.
The doctor just called... nothing major, just need to take some extra vitamin D!! Phew...
I had carpal so bad my whole arm would always feel like it was asleep-painful and I walked the floor at night in agony. I would never recommend surgery unnecessarily but it was a miracle for me. I would try anything to avoid surgery but don't feel bad if you have to have it. The pain of the recuperation was less than I was living with.