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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone, long time no talk. I've been busy lately working two jobs and now, my right hand is really acting up. I was told by my doctor some years ago that I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Now, it's back. While at work whether it's prep, on the line or washing dishes, I try to be aware of what I'm doing and not to bend my wrist when I don't have to. ( I know, easier said than done.) When I get home from my shift I ice the area down for ten minutes or so, take some Ibuprofen, stretch and put a brace on to keep my wrist straight. I also sleep in the brace. It does help. So I am interested in hearing about those of you who deal with this as well. How do you treat your symptoms at home? Do you do anything that I'm not doing according to the above information? I just need to clarify one thing. I'm not crying or In my distorted way of thinking, I love leaving the kitchen to go home and have my body hurting and tired. It gives me a feeling of accomplishment. Though I'm concerned because I know Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can do damage in the long run in extreme cases. Thank you all for your time.
post #2 of 18
CTS is really something that is gonna cause issue in this industry. It's more wide-spread than anyone realizes. Unfortunately there's not really much you can do to reverse the effects and it's difficult to avoid since most of the jobs that we do are main contributors. You can live with it but believe me it will reach a point that will take away allot of hand/arm strength and hurt like he!!. Even a task like picking up a plate becomes excrusiating.

From personal experience, it's a crap shoot. I mean to have or not have the surgery. In my case it was bi-laterally and I put it off as long as I could in both wrists and.... I did the ice, cortezone injections even saw a Chiropracter all to avoid the cuts. But two surgeries in the right hand and one in the left later, it's no better than it was prior. My trouble is I waited too long. There was permanent nerve damage in both hands/arms and the second surgery on the right really screwed things up. Plus it eventually turned into an issue with the ulner nerve bi-laterally as well. Doc's said it had to do with compensating usage.

It's my belief that if you decide to get the surgury really seek out an outstanding hand surgeon. There are still no guarantees. The positive thing is if it's Workers comp related then it's not your dime. If ya do end up getting the surgury, be cautious of the less invasive process and stay away from the local or Bier Block Anesthesia and have'm put ya under completely. The noise and tugging will drive you nuts, the less invasive approach is why there were two cuts on the R-hand and with the Bier Block? I could feel things after the third cut so they had to put me under.

Too bad I don't know any Doc's in Vermont. If you were in SC, NY or KC I could give ya some info on whom to see. (And not to see. Especially in SC)

Good luck with things none the less.
post #3 of 18
I was suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome so badly that I had my arm in a sling. I couldn't even lift a glass of water up from the counter. I went for acupuncture at a reputable place and, with only one treatment, the pain is gone and my arm is working properly again. I have not had to have more treatment and I can use my arm as though nothing were ever wrong with it. Who knows if it would work for anyone else, but it really surprised me that it worked so well for me.

Edited to add: acupuncture more than a month ago and all still well
post #4 of 18
i found that doing wrist curls with a 3# weight seemed to help. (not the kind invovled in doing a 12 0z.) thankfully i no longer cook for a living and it has not bothered me in years!!!
as to the accupuncture - i've been being needled(whole body tune-up) for about 4 years now on a monthly basis and it's definitely helped. well worth the money.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you to everyone who has responded. Old School, your input is always welcome. Free Rider, katbalou, I have thought about acupuncture. And maybe down the road, it'll be an option once my medical kicks in. But you know, a few years back, I worked for a printing company and my hands were so bad. Not only did I have pain, but my fingers were numb 24/7.("The Classic Three", thumb, pointer and middle) I even found driving hard. But this time around, it's a bit different. The numbness is not constant and only occurs when doing certain tasks, then I just shake them out and I'm back to normal. But now all my fingers are going numb and only in my right hand. I've been at my night job a little over a month now. During my day job, working in the bar and grill, I never had any problems. Sure I had prep work, but most of my time was spent cooking. My night job is all prep and little cooking. It's an organic market and we cook in batches and there is a large volume of prep work. Some of the pain I experience can be compared to muscle failure. So I'm wondering if my body is still adjusting to the new work load? I am a career changer like I mentioned in prior posts. I've only been cooking a year. I feel I still need to do my time in the "Trenches", so my night job is perfect. I am a prep cook and I'm proud of that. We do our own dishes so every morning I leave soaking wet. I'm proud of that too. But I don't want to be a prep cook for the rest of my life. Though there is nothing wrong with that, I want to be more than a prep cook and a bar/grill line cook. By the end of the year I'll have enough money to go to culinary school then hopefully go back to NYC and study under a good chef for a few years before venturing off on my own to explore catering or personal chef work. I just hope I get the chance. I'm sorry for rambling on and on about this, but It's been bothering me lately. Thank you everyone.
post #6 of 18


I had CTS in both hands, also ulner nerve problems. It got so bad I had to sleep at the end of the bed with my arms hanging down. I let it go way too long. I finally had surgy on CTS, Ulner Nerve and cubital release in my elbows along with trigger thumb releases. 6 months after surgery I had no more pain but my fingers on my right hand curled like a fist. I went to a spine specialist and found it was comming from my neck. I had 3 disks
replaced and my hands are doing better. I don't mean to scare you but don't fool around with this get it checked out. Good Luck P.J.
post #7 of 18
The 12 oz curls do help with the pain.
"Can't stand the heat call JJ"S Kitchen"

JJ's (Almost Famous BBQ)
"Can't stand the heat call JJ"S Kitchen"

JJ's (Almost Famous BBQ)
post #8 of 18
Wow pjaveni! your situation is identical to mine except for the fact I elected to not have the Ulner nerve releases' done. Mainly from the CF that my hands have become. As far as the disc replacement goes.... Three is all they will do. You're very lucky too that you benefited from it. Not to change the subject on Nick but they wouldn't even consider me a candidate for the disc replacement and this was at KU Med. One of the Doctors that brought it to KU was on the team at NYU(if I remember correctly it was NYU) and eliminated me immediately. Basically because I need 10-12 replaced and that's just the start of it.:(

I'm almost positive that the issue that are in my neck have begun to contribute to loos of function in my hands. Unfortunately the botched attempt at repairing my right hand was what sealed my fate from the onset.

Good luck to all that have it and just don't realize it yet. It really is one helluva 6itch of an issue. For those that have tried alternative treatments and have had success I envy you. It's just a shame that those treatments don;t work more consistantly accross the board for everyone. Guess you're stuck playing with the cards your dealt (woulda said hand but that woulda been not too punny). I've fought the fights on things. Now I have to wait for science to catch up with my issues. Nicky, Thanks for the kind thought. Most appreciated! Good luck with things too. and as pj said don't mess around get it looked at by the right folks.
post #9 of 18
I had surgery for CTS back in 1995, they removed the ulnar nerve from my elbow and cut the tendon for my little finger so my ring finger and little finger do not move independantly they move as one..the surgery did not work for me. I was left with permanant nerve damage (this is my right hand) doesn't matter what I do it still hurts. I exercise to keep it as strong as possible. The doctor who did the surgery told me I would lose the use of my right hand in about 10 to 12 years..well I am hitting that left hand and arm are beginning to have all the pain associated with CTS..they always talk about carpel tunnel and office workers, not much is ever said about our occupation.
post #10 of 18
Really makes you think.....for the many years I worked on the line....wrist, finger, and hand pain were a constant companion.....pretty bad when it hits
you in both hands....Many of my south of the border companions in the kitchen would take rubbing alcohal, garlic, and fairly fresh pot, put it in a jar
in the window for a couple of months, then rub the alcohal on thier wrists after work when they felt pain.....for me it was the standard braces at night....Although I didn't realize it, I was stretching and moving my wrists in my sleep....Also fractured both of my elbows at the joint in my early 20's. Made things even harder. If I could do it over again, I would definitely change the way I used my arms and wrists. I have a two handed rule now.
Of course I am getting old.....good luck and take it easy on your body....
post #11 of 18
yeah, both of my hads ache and go numb while working, driving or playing the guitar. I often thought about having surgery but i'm too frightened by the fact that it may not work. As chefs we not only have to work in the kitchen with our hands, more and more I find myself doing work on the computer which is akin to being in office work where CTS was first being recognized as a problem. I just don't know what to do at this point. Dino.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Again, I thank everyone for their input. I too have a hard time driving and typing. I've gotten used to doing those things with a wrist brace. It helps a lot. This week hasn't been bad at all. Like I said in an earlier post I try to be mindful of what I'm doing at work more, and being right handed I try to use my left hand as much as possible. But it's not always easy. And being faster with my right hand, I automatically go to it. I do have to be careful how I reach for things. This week the pain hasn't been so bad nor has the numbness, but when I reach for things and I stretch my right arm out to far to fast, it really hurts. But like everyone else, I'm gonna keep going. Hopefully I can manage the symptoms and pain but I too, am not sure what I can do.
post #13 of 18
did you try physical therapy? the pts may have some help for you. it's usually covered by insurance. it certainly helped my back and shoulder spasms.
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
No, I have not. As soon as my medical kicks in, I'm going to explore my options. Therapy and even acupuncture are all avenues I'm going to travel down. I will keep all of you up to date, but I still have a month and change before my medical is activated. Thank you Kathee.
post #15 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. Just an update on how I'm progressing. Since I last posted here ten days ago, I've felt really good. I found some papers with a stretching program given to me by a physical therapist when I worked for a printing company a few years back. It seems to be helping. The stretches are specifically for CTS. I've kept up on being more aware of how I'm using my hands and still using the brace when sleeping. So hopefully this holds up. But a funny thing happened to me this week. I had an allergic reaction to the gloves we use at work. There not latex but vinyl, but on the back of the box it says that products used in the manufacturing of this product may cause irritation. So my hands became red and very, very swollen. I stopped using that brand of gloves and my hands are almost back to normal. And so my adventures !
post #16 of 18
I do my best to be as kind to my hands as possible..I sleep a certain way so that when I wake up my hands are not swollen and numb..even so it takes awhile for them to warm up so to speak..I make all the bread at the restaurant I currently work it takes me a little longer to roll out all the dough...ah life!
post #17 of 18

Try B6

I do not have carpal tunnel by my husband, a classical guitarist, does. We have read in a few musician magazines as well as a paper published by the AMA that B6 can help. My husband takes 50 miligrams 3x a day. It might take up to 4 months to see a difference but much better than surgery. (My Mom did have the surgery but it didn't help her at all!)
post #18 of 18
[quote=katbalou;190564]i found that doing wrist curls with a 3# weight seemed to help. (not the kind invovled in doing a 12 0z.) thankfully i no longer cook for a living and it has not bothered me in years!!!

I was seeing an orthopedist about something else a few years back and asked him about some pain I was starting to get in my hands and wrists. He recommended the wrist curls, said even when you have a few minutes break, pick up a broom and use the handle for curls.
Sounds like yours has advanced further, but might not hurt to ask the doctor or therapists?

Take care and good luck,

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