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How to Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Updated on August 4, 2018

Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Have you been suffering from painful hands? Does the pain come when your hands are not at work? Does the pain center mostly in your fingers with the exception of the little fingers? Do you also experience locking of fingers? How about constant numbness and tingling? Do you lose control of your grip and just drop things unconsciously? Do you wake up in the night because of the pain? If you do have these symptoms, then this means you have this condition called, carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition when the median nerve of the arms becomes squeezed at the wrist. This median nerve gives and controls sensation and impulses of the muscles of the palm which include the thumb and all fingers with the exception of the little finger so when it is too squeezed it fails to function properly giving the hands, the fingers and the muscles too much discomfort.

Women have the higher risk of getting into this kind of condition because their median nerve is smaller than that of men There are several factors that contribute to this disorder such a rheumatoid arthritis, overactive pituary gland, retention of fluid, and many others. While there are many possible causes for this condition but nevertheless all symptoms are the same.

What to Do When You Have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

If you have this condition, it is better to consult a rehab doctor and not a neurologist or any other kind of doctor. I am here talking through experience. I made the mistake of going to a neurologist who is also surgeon that performs surgery for carpal tunnel patients among others. The doctor gave me no other option but undergo open carpal tunnel release surgery which he said is the ultimate and the best solution to Carpal tunnel syndrome.

As I was already tired of suffering from pain, I wanted immediate relief. I trusted that doctor all at once and did not even ask for second opinion from other doctors. I have medical card anyway so I consented to undergo surgery. At first I asked if it is possible to do the surgery one after the other heals but he said better do both at the same time so I believed him.

My Right Hand Few Weeks After the Open Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery
My Right Hand Few Weeks After the Open Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery

Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery, My Experience

So I went through the surgery on the scheduled date. The surgery is categorized as minor. I was asked to lie down after I washed and sterilized my hands. The injection of anesthesia was painful but bearable. When the anesthesia took effect after few minutes, the surgery started. I felt nothing, it was painless all throughout. I was awake all the time but I preferred to just close my eyes even instead of watching the whole process.

I could feel even without pain the cutting process done on the transverse carpal ligament until stitches were done to close the wounds, dressed, then bandaged and wrapped for protection and support. It looked like an easy job for my doctor. Both hands were done in more or less an hour. Apart from the initial injection, I felt no pain all throughout but I felt quite helpless because both my hands were still numbed and I could not even take the required pain reliever without assistance.

view of the my left hand few weeks after surgery
view of the my left hand few weeks after surgery

The first few days after surgery were difficult. I felt tipsy and drowsy. All I wanted was to lie down and sleep. It could be the after effect of anesthesia or the strong pain reliever but it took me almost week to feel better. I avoided taking pain reliever when I could bear the pain of the wounds for fear of the bad side effects of synthetic medicine. The antibiotics were for one week so I followed the prescription without fail to avoid infection.

In a week time, I noticed the wound was healing but still painful. My fingers were not normal still. I felt frustrated and was regretting my decision to get through surgery. Nevertheless I kept praying and followed every bit of advice given by my physician. I kept exercising my fingers, I did not fail in keeping the wounds dressed and treated properly each day. As prescribed, I started taking vitamin B complex beginning on the second week after the surgery.

No Signs of Improvement After More Than A Month

On the 3rd week there were still some slight attacks of pain caused by the wounds. The doctor said, the healing won’t be overnight, the pain will eventually go away. After more than a month, the outer part of my wounds was showing good signs of healing, and no wound pains anymore. Bu the sad thing is that I could not find any improvement on my carpal tunnel condition. The pain, the numbness still lingered and would rouse me in the middle of the night. But still I trusted the doctor’s words that the healing will be felt eventually.

Seeing a Rehab Doctor as the Last Source

But after 3 months I felt really hopeless and helpless. How come the healing for the main condition could not be felt? How long will I wait? So I could not wait anymore. I did not return anymore to that neurologist/surgeon but instead I consulted a Rehab Doctor who immediately prescribed Neurontin to be taken at night before I go to bed and then I was told to go through sessions of hand therapy. I was also asked to purchase a Splint a wrist band to support my wrist. So I immediately asked for an appointment to start my therapy.

Paraffin Wax Therapy (Actual Procedure)

Hands with warm paraffin wrapped in wax paper and towel for 20 minutes
Hands with warm paraffin wrapped in wax paper and towel for 20 minutes

The Paraffin Wax Therapy

First I went through therapy sessions. The therapy procedure starts with the paraffin wax therapy, a process where my hands one after the other were dipped in a warm candle and natural oil solution and then wrapped in a wax paper then towel for 20 minutes. This is the same procedure used in parlors to soften hands according to my therapist.

Therapeutic Ultrasound Procedure

After the paraffin wax therapy, I had to go through therapeutic ultrasound procedure also. Gel was spread over my wrist and then high-intensity ultrasound device was being rubbed continuously around my wrist and surrounding areas to raise the temperature of the surrounding tissue to reduce pain. It was at first a bit painful because my wounds were steal healing but after few sessions I noticed the swelling on my upper right palm caused by surgery subsided till it completely disappeared.

Then hand exercises came after the therapeutic ultrasound. One exercise involved pressing a hard-gel ball, then fallowed by a clay molding and spreading exercise and two more stretching exercises. The sessions were done for a month every other day.

Neurontin and Splint Prescriptions Not Followed

The doctor prescribed Neurontin but I took this medicine only once. That was when the therapy sessions were almost over but I could still feel some little pain at night. It was effective I supposed because since then, I never felt the same pain again. I was actually thinking of asking for another session of therapy but inasmuch as the Neurontin has seemed completed the healing I did not ask for more. But I never take more than once because I hate taking medicine.

The Splint prescribed by the doctor? No, I did not buy anymore because it was expensive and I intentionally did not buy this because I was thinking that therapy would be enough. Well, I saved a great deal for I felt really better after my therapy sessions and one neurontin intake. I am no longer suffering from severe pain although sometimes there is a bit of bearable pain when I do a lot of chores that require too much wetting of hands.

What To Do When Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Comes Back

Should this Carpal Tunnel disorder come back again, I know already what to do. I will go through therapies again and take Neurontin perhaps when needed but to go through open carpal release surgery again…never ever.

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    • Greenlily profile imageAUTHOR

      Greenlily 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Thank you Karmallama for finding this helpful. There are alternative ways to be healed. Surgery is the worst decision I made.

    • Karmallama profile image

      Doreen Lucky 

      4 years ago from St. Paul, minnesota

      Thank you for sharing. I found this very helpful - voted up

      I just found out I am afflicted with the syndrome, although, my studies say that genetics play a lot in the arrival in said condition - I should not have been so surprised since every single woman in my known family suffers from it. I have seen others do the surgery and I have heard them say that it is no better and they have lost the dexterity to do things they once enjoyed such as guitar playing, keyboarding, and crocheting

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