I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in my right hand when I was in my early 30s. I thought it was a problem that only older people dealt with until I felt tingling and numbness in my hand. My doctor told me people with carpal tunnel syndrome tend to feel tingling or pain in any finger except the little finger since the nerve affected by the syndrome does not provide feeling or sensation to the little finger. When I would go bowling, I’d have a difficult time not dropping the bowling ball because of weakness in my wrist. The biggest problem was the way the carpal tunnel syndrome affected my work as a reporter for a daily newspaper. I had a difficult time typing for prolonged periods of time. Fortunately, my doctor gave me great tips on how to manage my carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s no longer a disorder that incapacitates me.
Getting the initial diagnosis
My doctor originally diagnosed me with a physical exam, testing the feeling in my fingers. He took an X-ray and was able to rule out arthritis or a fracture. My doctor said if my symptoms did not get better in six months that he would refer me to a neurosurgeon or rheumatologist for more specialty treatment. Fortunately, I was able to experience rapid improvement that greatly reduced my pain. Changing my lifestyle and work habits definitely helped.
One tip that really helped was taking breaks from activities such as typing and gardening. Instead of writing articles for hours without rest, I started writing for just 15 minutes and then going for a quick walk to the water cooler. I also stretched my palms and fingers.
Wearing wrist splints
I found wearing a wrist splint definitely helped me when I went bowling. I also began to wear them at night in a snug position. While I used to find I’d fall asleep on my hands, I broke that habit when I heard it can worsen the carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. If I really needed pain relief, I’d pop an aspirin.
My biggest struggle with carpal tunnel syndrome is that I can’t do what I used to do in terms of my writing. I used to love working on novels. Now I opt for shorter writing assignments. I always make sure that practice common sense and use an ergonomic keyboard that so the keys are angled so my wrists stay straight. It’s been almost 15 years since I was diagnosed and I no longer deal with the pain that used to quietly torture me.