Fifteen years ago I suffered from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. The Carpal Tunnel is a passageway in the wrist; a tunnel filled with ligaments, tendons and nerves that go to your hand. When this tunnel becomes compressed or inflamed, it can cause weakness in your hands and wrist.
My hands hurt all the time, they seemed weak and I kept dropping things. I had done a lot of repetitive work in my life, everything from working on assembly lines to data entry work on computers, so I went to my doctor and they sent to an orthopedic doctor. He did a very extensive physical examination and then ran some test on me. They did ex-rays, and an EMG (Electromyogram.)
Sure enough I was diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and it was bad enough that they scheduled me for surgery. If you find out you have carpal tunnel syndrome early on there are some things you can do to help it. Rest your wrists after a period of using them. Ice them down for about 10-20 minutes every hour. (Personally I cannot do ice because I also have arthritis, so I use heat, like a heating pad on my wrist and this seems to help also.) Wear wrist splints at night as this helps your wrist stay in a relaxed position.
Unfortunately none of these things were going to help me so they did surgery. They did the right wrist first then six weeks later they did the left wrist. The surgery consists of them putting you to sleep, cutting into the wrist, cutting the carpal tunnel to allow the pressure to be relieved and then stitching your wrist back up. Your wrist is bandaged so you cannot move them allowing the wrist to heal. I got through it, did some therapy and thought that was the end of it and I would never have to worry about it again.
Present day: About 4 months ago I began having extreme pain in my left wrist, it was the wrist that was week this time not the hand so I did not think it was carpal tunnel, I did not think you could get it again once they had done the surgery. A month later my right wrist started hurting really bad. I have fibromyalgia and so I live with pain every day but this was so different from the fibro pain that I was worried something else was going on.
I began to think of all the diseases that could cause wrist pain; I went so far as to ask my doctor to test me for Rheumatoid arthritis. (My brother had been diagnosed with RA and I was concerned I was headed down the same path as his hands and wrists were the first thing that hurt him.) The test came back negative. My doctor said I think it is carpal tunnel syndrome.
How could that be I asked my doctor I already had it once? She said that you can get carpal tunnel syndrome again especially when you have diabetes. (I was diagnosed with Diabetes about 3 years ago and still am in a bit of denial about it even though I have to take insulin shots 3-4 times a day) I never for a moment thought diabetes could give me carpal tunnel again. So I got scheduled to go through all the testing again.
My doctor explained to me that diabetes can cause problems with your muscles and your nerves. I understood that one of the biggest concerns with diabetes is neuropathy (neuropathy is a type of nerve damage where the nerves are hyper sensitive. It can be a burning sensation, a tingling a numbness) but I did not know that included your wrist or carpal tunnel.
Neuropathy can affect your feet, your legs your hands but it can also effect other organs like your stomach, your liver even your pancreas. It can actually shut those organs down. In my case it affected my wrists. My doctor said probably because they are one of my weakest spots.
So once again I am on a journey to cure or at least take care of my carpal tunnel syndrome for a few more years. Surgery is on the horizon, and I have learned a valuable lesson. I need to be more concerned with controlling my diabetes so it does not affect other areas of my body.