I am a blogger. So, I spend a majority of each day typing. That’s a lot of repetitive motion. Those fingers tap, tap, tapping on the keyboard more than Poe’s Raven. Like any machine, the human body has a mean-time before failure ratio. We can only do so much before our body starts giving out. All that typing sometimes takes a toll on my hands, and sometimes I experience the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Symptoms and Causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Excessive repetitive motion can cause the tissues in the hand to swell and put pressure on the median nerve.
Repetitive motion isn’t the only cause, however. Diabetes, fluid retention, accidental injury, rheumatoid arthritis, and some other health complications can also cause the tissue inflammation which puts pressure on the median nerve. If you experience pain, weakness, or tingling in your hands, wrists, or forearms, you should have a doctor evaluate you for carpal tunnel syndrome. The earlier you catch carpal tunnel syndrome, the more successful treatment may be.
In addition to repetitive motions such as typing, operating vibrating machinery for long periods of time can also cause these symptoms.
Is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Permanent?
In most cases, Carpal Tunnel syndrome goes away when you mitigate the cause. Switching to ergonomic keyboards and desks that do not put pressure on the wrists can help. If a disease is causing CTS, treating the disease may also treat the CTS symptoms.
How have I treated my CTS symptoms?
So far, I’ve been treating my symptoms with various methods and results. When my hands hurt, I use OTC medications like ibuprofen. I’ve also tried wearing braces and sleeves made specifically for joint support.
Seriously! You should see my collection of bandages, braces, and other things I’ve tried.
Ibuprofen helped, but only when combined with giving my hands a break for several days. I’m a blogger. I cannot just stop writing for several days. Plus, since I rarely leave the house, my computer is my link to the outside world. Soaking my hands in warm water seems to help, but that interferes with everything else I have going on in my life. I cannot develop my next favorite recipe – or do a workout – if I am sitting on the couch soaking my hands.
Also, I don’t want to take medication constantly. Even over-the-counter medications have side effects like an upset stomach.
Sometimes, carpal tunnel is helped with surgery, but I’d rather avoid that route if I can. Surgery isn’t always effective. 10-30% of people that get the surgery continue to have problems with wrist weakness. And the CTS symptoms return for most people.
If your doctor recommends surgery, I am not trying to scare you. This is just my personal decision. Be sure to discuss your options with your doctor.
What am I currently doing to treat my CTS symptoms?
This week, I am using CarpalAid. CarpalAid is an over-the-counter non-drug relief CTS relief option. You can buy it at Rite Aid pharmacies, Amazon, or through their website. Since it doesn’t rely on drugs, CarpalAid has no side effects. It’s a small butterfly-shaped patch that adheres to your skin and gently lifts the tissues in the palm to relieve pressure on the median nerve. So far, I’ve used this for a week. It’s clear so it’s barely visible.
I like that the patch does not interfere with my life. I am able to go about my daily life – unlike soaking my hand in hot water. I can even wear it to bed. Also, CarpalAid doesn’t impinge movement like a brace does – and they don’t draw attention like braces or sleeves. On nights that I’ve worn it to bed, I’ve noticed significant improvement the next morning. I’ve noticed some improvement during the day when I’ve worn it, but I’m still actively using my hand during that time. I am hoping that, with time, I will continue to notice increasing improvement.
The adhesive is a medical grade adhesive. While I can easily pull the patch off, it has not come off with general wear and stays on overnight. I haven’t had any skin irritation. While I can feel the CarpalAid patch on my palm, it’s not painful to wear and the tissue-lifting is almost unnoticeable.
I made this video to show you how to put it on and talk a little about my experience with the product.
We enjoy hosting parties and my husband and I are both avid gamers. You can find me on PS4 as SunshineFlaGirl. We also play tabletop RPGs and eurogames.