I think I might have Carpal Tunnel

Torque MonkeyTorque Monkey Registered User
edited January 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
A couple weeks ago I started having a weird feeling in my left hand. If I look at the palm of my left hand, the entire right side of it if feels like it's pretty much constantly tingling. That is to say, half of my ring finger, pinky, and from those fingers down almost to my wrist feel almost numb. At first I thought I may have just slept on it weird or something along those lines, but as days went on I started to notice that not only did it not go away, but those fingers as well as well as the majority of my left hand is feeling pretty weak when it comes to grip.

I googled the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and these fit the early stages of it pretty well, and while I'm hoping it's something else, I figured it's probably a bad idea to ignore it any longer.

If it is Carpal Tunnel, outside of calling a Doctor, is there anything else to do? I mentioned something about this to my parents a few days ago and they suggested bending/massaging that part of my hand, but thus far it's not accomplished anything.

If anyone has any suggestions or whatnot, It'd be greatly appreciated, and thank you.

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  • FeralFeral MEMETICHARIZARD interior crocodile alligator ⇔ ǝɹʇɐǝɥʇ ǝᴉʌoɯ ʇǝloɹʌǝɥɔ ɐ ǝʌᴉɹp ᴉRegistered User regular
    edited December 2006
    Do you do a lot of typing? What do you do with your left hand all day?

    (Yes, I know I'm leaving myself open for a winky and a lewd comment.)

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  • BedlamBedlam Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    If it does come from typing you can probably try to get a wrist brace while you type to help keep your wrist in the correct position. There is a right way and a wrong way to hold your hands when you type.

    Failing that you can talk to a doctor about possibly having surgery done or your wrist to fix it.

    Bedlam on


  • AlphariusAlpharius Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    It sounds like the beginning of carpal tunnel, or perhaps cupital tunnel syndrome.

    rest your left arm - really rest it - for a week. Don't lean on it, don't pick stuff up with it, don't do anything with it for a week. If you still have the problem then go to a doctor.

    To prevent it in the future, don't lean on your wrist or elbows, sit up straight when at a computer and let your back do all the work.

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  • Locust76Locust76 Registered User regular
    edited December 2006
    I was diagnosed with cupital tunnel, which is similar to carpal tunnel, but it's mostly due to pressure on the nerve in the elbow. I still have it, but if I feel my hands starting to hurt, I put on my wrist braces which keep my wrists from contacting the keyboard and I'm fine. I also have a chair with adjustable elbow rests which helps significantly because I cannot rest my elbows on the rests when sitting, so my nerves don't explode.

    There's surgery to permanently alleviate carpal/cupital tunnel symptoms, but they come at the cost of reduced grip strength, though I can't tell you if the strength is significantly reduced or just a little bit. My mom had the operation done on her wrists and, apart from the initial discomfort, she's doing just fine, she has no pain and she's able to do everything she normally did (gardening, playing with the dogs, etc...).

    For carpal tunnel, they cut open a sort of "ring" of tissue that bundles together all your nerves and the long stringie things that connect your fingers to your arm muscles (don't know the medical term, sorry). With constant pressure and bad positioning, this "ring" becomes hard and presses all the nerves and stringie thingies together and causes pain. Cutting the ring open releases the tension and the nerves and strings can function normally, albeit with permanently reduced grip strength.

    For cupital tunnel, from what I remember, involves rearranging the nerves that normally travel down your elbow. What I remember is that there's a nerve that goes along the outside of your elbow in that "valley" created by the big bone and the smaller bone close to the body. Putting pressure on that can cause the entire arm to tingle, especially the outsides of the hands where the small and ring fingers are. This procedure involves moving the nerve from the outside of your elbow to the inside, I think, which would naturally eliminate pain. Side effects? I dunno, you'll have to look that up.

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  • Torque MonkeyTorque Monkey Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Do you do a lot of typing? What do you do with your left hand all day?

    I do indeed do more than my fair share of typing, and I figured this may have had something to do with it. But, thinking of your second question, I just realized something.

    My computer sits on an old office desk, and at the edge of it, the wood is angled so rather than a 90degree drop, it's a 45, then another 45, so there's 2 places where the edge comes to a point. Kind of hard to visualize, I know, but I just realized I've been wresting my wrist on it when I type, and angled, as well.

    Sounds like really resting it for a while and seeing how that goes would be the best idea at this point, but I know I'll end up picking something up or typing or something out of habbit. If Wal-Mart carries them, would picking up a brace there or wrapping my hand up in something like an Ace bandage to put it out of commission for that time be a bad idea?

    Thanks again for the help, really appreciate it.

    Torque Monkey on
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  • LondonBridgeLondonBridge __BANNED USERS
    edited December 2006
    I work in a office myself and these are a big help. Get one for your keyboard and mouse.

    Than edit: lern2hyperlink, n00b.

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  • MarvellousMMarvellousM Registered User
    edited December 2006
    Go to a doctor.

    MarvellousM on
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    edited December 2006
    Do you do a lot of typing? What do you do with your left hand all day?

    I do indeed do more than my fair share of typing, and I figured this may have had something to do with it. But, thinking of your second question, I just realized something.

    My computer sits on an old office desk, and at the edge of it, the wood is angled so rather than a 90degree drop, it's a 45, then another 45, so there's 2 places where the edge comes to a point. Kind of hard to visualize, I know, but I just realized I've been wresting my wrist on it when I type, and angled, as well.

    Sounds like really resting it for a while and seeing how that goes would be the best idea at this point, but I know I'll end up picking something up or typing or something out of habbit. If Wal-Mart carries them, would picking up a brace there or wrapping my hand up in something like an Ace bandage to put it out of commission for that time be a bad idea?

    Thanks again for the help, really appreciate it.

    A semi-rigid wrist brace (you're more likely to find this at a drug store like Walgreens than at Wal-Mart) to keep your wrist immobilized isn't going to harm and will help to minimize further damage. So will adjusting your posture so your elbows, wrists, and hands are all held at a horizontal level, or at a slight downslope, like this:

    idealtyping.gif

    I'd go see a doctor anyway, but this will help you keep it under control until then.

    Feral on
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  • mrcheesypantsmrcheesypants Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I feel like I'm hijacking this thread but I don't feel like I should make a new thread about this question. I have tendonitis in the wrist and I use a laptop as a computer. Any erogomic laptop keyboard suggestions out there?

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  • stixs4321stixs4321 Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    Carpal tunnel is caused by compression of the nerve. If you rest one leg on top of the other while sitting what happens? It falls asleep from poor circulation which happens with your nerve also and the end point for it being your hand.

    Work on your posture and this will improve your symptoms or even completely remove them. Also lots of stretching and ART(active release technique) or deep tissue massages on the upper back, neck, chest and forearms can have dramatic effects.

    You can also workout your posture using rows(focus on the lower and mid traps), wall slides, reverse shrugs, band pull-aparts, push-up plus and elastic pull aparts(I don't know the exact name but you place an elastic around your finger tips and just open them up which is the opposite of the griped position that gets much more work). I also suggest visiting a physio therapist or chiropractor concerning some rehab exercises and doing them properly if the problem doesn't clear up.

    Stretch your chest, upper back, traps and wrist flexors(forearms). Stretch each part in two sets holding each stretch for 25seconds. A good stretch to finish off a stretching session is letting your arm in a "L" position hang off the ledge of your bed or workout bench.

    After your done stretching you may also wanna work on breathing deep as shallow breathing tenses the chest, uplifts the shoulders, knots the upper back and makes the front of the neck near the collar bone tight as hell.

    To practice deep breathing; Lay on your back, one hand on your chest, one hand on your belly button(half on the belly button and other half bellow it works best), now breathe in deep trying to push your hand up with stomach using your breath, exhale then exhale a bit more(your chest should deflate a bit), now repeat. It's easier to breathe in quickly through your mouth or nose but keep the exhale controlled and push to breathe deeper each time.

    I reccomend you start off stretching twice daily for 5-10mins at a time for the next week or so. I did this myself when I had my carpal and it got 90% better. The chiropractor got the lats 10% by teaching me deep breathing and exercises to improve my posture.

    If you have any questions just post and good luck with the problem.

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  • Mad JazzMad Jazz Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    stixs4321 wrote:
    I reccomend you start off stretching twice daily for 5-10mins at a time for the next week or so. I did this myself when I had my carpal and it got 90% better.

    Stretching is fantastic. My job is pretty much guaranteed to result in wrist/arm problems such as carpal tunnel and repetitive stress, and before I started stretching regularly, I would have some issues with wrist pain and the like. After I started stretching, everything has been golden.

    Mad Jazz on
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  • Locust76Locust76 Registered User regular
    edited January 2007
    I work in a office myself and these are a big help. Get one for your keyboard and mouse.

    Hyperlink

    Getting wrist supports like this won't really help the problem, as the problem is poor posture. The only thing that these wrist rests do is make it more comfortable to sit in an unhealthy position.

    Locust76 on
  • Torque MonkeyTorque Monkey Registered User
    edited January 2007
    I reccomend you start off stretching twice daily for 5-10mins at a time for the next week or so. I did this myself when I had my carpal and it got 90% better.

    I'll start doing this, and plan on seeing a Doctor in a few days if things don't improve. The thing is, I have no pain in my hand/wrist/arm what so ever, it's just half my hand being numb and weak.

    Also plan on getting a new desk and chair as soon as possible, I hadn't realized how awful these make my posture and placement for typing, thanks for all the replies and suggestions.

    Torque Monkey on
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