Anyone Developed Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Decorating By sheilabelle Updated 11 Dec 2009 , 3:03am by icingimages

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sheilabelle Posted 10 Dec 2009 , 1:28pm
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Has anyone out there developed carpal tunnel? If so did you have surgery? I am afraid that I am developing this syndrome but am afraid to have it diagnosed in fear that I won't be able to continue decorating cakes. I know that after a day with a lot of piping or kneading fondant my wrist and palm ache and my hand goes to sleep. Does anyone have any experience with this? Thanks for sharing.


14 replies
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jlynnw Posted 10 Dec 2009 , 1:49pm
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YES! I love to end my day washing my bags in hot soapy water and just let my hands soak. I have found that if I take Aleve mid morning and before bed they don't get so bad. I have also found that the smaller the bag, the less my hands ache. The easy icer is great to work with but bad for my hands. Also, the way I grip my spat makes a big difference. The doctor who I talked to about my hands, held my hand out, palm up, and thumped my wrist. I thought I was going to die. He said that it was carpal. I sleep with wrist braces at night, wear them during the day when I can, they are a pain but work. I don't want the surgery, although, I have hear of several people who do and go back to work happy.

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2SchnauzerLady Posted 10 Dec 2009 , 1:51pm
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It's an overuse syndrome. Get to a hand specialist right away. Not everyone needs surgery - they can do steroid injections and you can wear a splint. Some splints are low profile so you can wear them while working (except while kneading fondant). There are also exercises you can do. I haven't had it, but I've seen a lot of it and know the treatments. The sooner you are treated properly, the less chance you will need surgery. Those who wait forever are the ones who usually end up in surgery.

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ShelleyMJ Posted 10 Dec 2009 , 1:52pm
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My daughter has Carpel tunnel. She wears braces. My father in law has it as well. He had surgery and has been happy with the results.

I wish you well.

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mamawrobin Posted 10 Dec 2009 , 2:04pm
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I find that if i sleep in my hand brace I have less trouble with my hand the following day. Don't know why it works but it makes a huge difference. I have less trouble with my hand going to sleep when I use my brace. I would like to hear from someone that has had the surgery and learn more about it as my doctor says I need surgery. Anyone?

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cutthecake Posted 10 Dec 2009 , 2:13pm
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I had carpal tunnel syndrome for about 27 years! It started during my first pregnancy, and worsened over the years. It kept me up nights because I ached from my neck to my fingertips. Writing, keyboarding, sewing, cake decorating--everything that involved repetitive motion and use of my hands and fingers-- caused pain. It reached the point where the pain was constant. To ease the pain somewhat, I had to sleep on my stomach on the edge of the bed so my arm could hang straight down.
Splints and exercises didn't help; and I worried about frying my liver and stomach with all the pain-reliever pills.
I had the surgery 2 years ago, and it was the smartest thing I ever did. I am completely pain-free, and I can decorate, sew, write, etc., with no problems. The surgeon asked why I waited so long--27 years-- to see him. I told him, "I've been busy!" I was raising 3 children and working, and Mommy always comes last. He said that it had gotten so bad over the years--that's over a quarter of a century!--that surgery was probbly the only surefire cure.
The only negative is a slight weakness in my hand. (I bought an electric stapler for work because squeezing a stapler is a bit difficult.) But that's a small price to pay considering the pain, tingling and numbness are gone.
I wish I had had the surgery decades ago!
I was completely out of commission for about 2 weeks after the surgery (try putting on and zipping up jeans with your non-dominant hand). After the stitches/staples came out, my strength gradually returned, with normal use. As I said earlier, using a stapler was the biggest problem. And I can't open some jars, but I bought a tool for that, too. Problems solved.
I highly recommend the surgery. Just be sure to use a surgeon who specializes in this type of surgery. Not all do.
Good luck with whatever you choose to do.

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chefbarbie0513 Posted 10 Dec 2009 , 2:23pm
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I had the surgery about 10 years ago. My right hand does really well. My left which I never went back to have done, (I wish I had) gives me problems. I sleep with my brace on and it helps a lot. I have trouble sometimes with piping and rolling the fondant. I have to rest sometimes. I have also noticed I dont have a lot of strength in my hands. Mainly in the morning. I cant open a jar (one that has been opened but closed tightly) without help. It just depends on the day and sometimes the weather. I would recommend the surgery. I tried the steroid treatments and they did not work for me. Physical therapy didnt either. Dont wait, it will only get worse. HTH

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milkmaid42 Posted 10 Dec 2009 , 2:25pm
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Sheilabelle, I could hardly wait to answer your post.
It is said that Carpal tunnel is a high tech affliction- heavy computer use, etc. Well I got it doing the lowest tech thing you could imagine: hand milking my cow. I, too wore braces at night which provided only temporary relief. I ended up choosing to have the surgery. I had both wrists done simultaneously, (fortunately I had family support as I was quite incapacitated during recovery.) I bought a small milking machine so no longer had to repeat the action which brought it on.
I cannot say enough about how thrilled I was/am. That was about 15 yrs ago and have never had a twinge since. Kneading fondant, while definitely not my favorite activity, is no trouble.
It is a personal decision but I have given you my input. Good luck, I can commiserate with what you are going through.

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Sun11598 Posted 10 Dec 2009 , 2:29pm
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I had surgery on both hands earlier this year. You need to be seen because you can lose sensation in your fingers. I was 29 when I was diagnosed...since college I've used a computer a lot - for work and personal use. I've decorated cakes (3-4/year usually) since I was 12 or 13. Once the doc got into my wrists he actually found that in one I had a nerve fused into the tendon..or whatever it was he was cutting. On the other hand the tunnel was just really really tight. So a lot of my issues may have been congenital but aggravated by use.

I can remember my hands falling asleep even when I was a kid - I always thought it was the way I slept, but it was likely the beginnings of CT even then.

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leahk Posted 10 Dec 2009 , 2:51pm
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The sooner you catch it the easier it is to deal with.

I got it even before I got into caking- from creating worksheets on the computer for my students!

I went the physical therapy and braces route. I spoke to a surgeon, but she said only 80% chance it wouldn't come back, and she said I was high risk for recurrence when I would get pregnant. So I went to physical therapy, and when I have a flare up I use braces at night. The therapist told me how to set up my computer workstation so that I wouldn't be putting pressure on my wrists. I'm usually ok doing a cake or two (it is only a hobby for me), if it starts to hurt I just put on my braces and do the exercises they gave me.


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SRReeder Posted 10 Dec 2009 , 2:58pm
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If you are concerned about surgery, you could try parraffin therapy at home (Dr. Scholl's or Homedics available at Wal-Mart) and I also know a couple of folks that have had luck with the adhesive night strips that "stretch" the ligament that is impinging on the median nerve. My carpal tunnel. com (no spaces). My friend was concerned about surgery because of other health issues and said those worked for her. HTH.

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leahk Posted 10 Dec 2009 , 3:09pm
post #12 of 15

I forgot to mention using the hot wax. I was too cheap to buy a wax machine, so after a hard day I use heat packs on my wrists, and usually I wake up pain free!

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sheilabelle Posted 10 Dec 2009 , 11:21pm
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Everyone - You are so kind and helpful. I made an appointment with my Dr. for next week. They are going to get me in for the nerve test. My greatst fear is the weakness in my dominant hand. I still want to be able to squeeze my piping bag.


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prterrell Posted 11 Dec 2009 , 12:00am
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I had carpal tunnel in both wrists. I had the surgery and am better than ever. If you get the surgery done early enough, you will not loose strength. If you wait too long, the damage will be irreversable. If really is a very mild surgery (they only put you partially under and do a nerve block on your arm). I went out to IHOP for breakfast immediately after the procedure each time!

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icingimages Posted 11 Dec 2009 , 3:03am
post #15 of 15

Follow the suggestion and wear the brace at night, it does help. I have a great friend who is a sports massage therapist and when I am having those problems, I wear teh brace and get a massage. The problems were actually steming from my neck and sure enough immediate relief. If you find a good therapist, you will get results.

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