Let me tell you about my experience being diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. It hurts!
Seriously, if you think you might be suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, you are probably right. If, that is, your symptoms are like mine. Things started out with discomfort in the thumb that lasted for a few days. Then, very quickly, the syndrome escalated. The pain that began as a numbing in my right thumb soon enough was running like a bolt of electricity toward my wrist and then up through my wrist. A week after the throbbing in my thumb started, I found myself barely able to move my thumb, much less type with my right hand. You can see how as a writer this might have quite literally cramped my style. Not to mention my livelihood.
If you think that the tingling sensation anywhere in your hand (except for your little finger) or experience numbness or weakness or the pain experienced when you try to rotate your thumb on the ball of its socket or can’t type for more than ten minutes straight without taking a break, you should consult your doctor.
After describing your symptoms, the doctor will then probably do a simple test right there in the room. For instance, my doctor began by gently tapping on my wrist and asking if it produced a tingling in my fingers. Which it did not. Not a particularly noticeable tingle, anyway. He then asked me to flex my wrist and whether or that produced unpleasant sensations in my fingers, to which I immediately replied yes, especially my thumb.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is related to repetitive motion, therefore it manifests itself as pain in different ways depending on the parts of your hand you use repetitively. The space bar on a computer keyboard is used perhaps more than any other key when you are a writer regularly producing thousands of a word a day. My experience with carpal tunnel syndrome is most effectively useful for writers or others whose repetitive motion is centered on the thumb.
Having confirmed my own layman’s opinion with an official diagnosis, the next step was treatment. Which I really needed to work immediately because by that point typing on my computer keyboard was more that just uncomfortable. The doctor prescribed some pain relievers, a steroid pack and the recommendation to buy a glove that would brace my thumb for support during the night. I could choose to either wear the glove or not while typing, as I saw fit.
You will likely get the same advice. This is pretty standard first line treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome, regardless of the specific experience that causes it. The pain reliever was the most effective part of this treatment plan for me, but what are you going to do when the prescription runs out and the thumb glove hasn’t fixed the problem?
Turn to snake venom.
I hate snakes. The only thing I have in common with Indiana Jones. I really do not like snakes. Which is why there is a certain elegant paradox in the fact that it was the venom of snakes that successfully treated my carpal tunnel syndrome. Not that I had gone looking to snakes to cure what ailed me. I just so happened to be browsing through the pain relief section of the drug store when my eye was caught by a rather large and bright display highlighted by rather unsettling image of a cobra with fangs bared.
The product was Cobroxin, although you can find other products that utilize the snake venom ingredient. You also have the choice of using snake venom pain relief as either a gel to be applied topically directly to the area of the pain or a spray that works more cumulatively. I tried the spray with absolutely no expectations at all. But I have to admit it worked. It worked to reduce the pain more quickly than even the prescription pain relief medication. And unlike the glove, the snake venom eventually began to keep the pain from coming back.
Placebo effect? Perhaps. But since I had much higher expectations for the mainstream medical treatment and it failed, I really don’t think so. But I’m willing to admit anything is possible in the strange world of medicine, so who knows?