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Old 11-29-02, 02:05 AM   #1
trmcgeehan
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Anybody got carpel tunnel syndrome? Help!

Over the past few years, I have developed carpel tunnel syndrome. Both hands go numb at night, to the point where the numbness is actually painful and it wakes me up -- usually around 2a.m. I wear braces on my hands to keep my wrists straight, but this doesn't seem to do any good. So I am only getting around 4 hours sleep a night, and historically, I have always needed 7-8 hours. This makes me grouchy during the day, and my wife is mad at me. My 17 year old daughter has stopped talking to me. As I understand it, what is happening is the nerves running through my wrists to my hands are being pinched. I am 64 years old, but in pretty good shape (for an old fart) other than my ct situation.
My doc says I could have an operation to free up the pinched nerves in my wrists, but he also said sometimes the end result is worse than before the operation. He advised against and operation, and told me I should "live with it."
I bike 50-100 miles a week, usually in 25-30 mile increments. Some have told me my biking might be aggravating the situation. I ride with an adjustable stem positioned way up, so my wrists aren't cocked. But there doesn't seem to be any correlation. When I take 2-3 days away from biking, the numbness doesn't get any better. Then too, I did a century several months ago, and that night the numbness didn't evidence itself at all. Go figure!
Anybody had an operation for this situation? If so, how did it come out? I have insurance to cover the operation, so expense is not a problem. There is one benefit to having carpel tunnel. Yesterday (Thanksgiving) we had a bunch of my wife's boring relatives over for dinner. The evening started out bad when one of our cats got on the table and ate part of the turkey. Then he threw up all over my wife's beautifully decorated dining room table. Anybody need a cat? I was able to escape early in the evening to go to bed, due to my condition. Everyone was very sympathetic, and I was glad to go to bed at 9 p.m. But then, the pain came on at 2 a.m., and I had to get up. I noticed that all the guests had consumed 6 bottles of wine, so now I'm tap city for the weekend! As soon as I get up, I put our three crazy cats outside. Then I get on to the Bike Forum, and this passes the time quickly until the paper hits the front door at 6 a.m. Crazy life style!

Last edited by trmcgeehan; 11-29-02 at 02:25 AM.
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Old 11-29-02, 05:44 AM   #2
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Hi,
A) Getting control of the problem
1)The first thing to realise is that this can get much worse. You need to treat it
2)You should be icing the wrists every day, pref immediately after you do anything with them
3) Try taking 4 Advil (ibuprofen) before going to bed for a couple of weeks
4) Do your wrist braces have a metal bar, or some sort of solid support? Helps
5)*Any* activity that makes a serious demand on the wrist has to be stopped for a while. I suggest going to a gym, and using the exercycle,or jogging machines. Failing that, get a trainer or rollers -and- raise your handlebars about 3 inches. This is a minimum, you need to get every bit of stress off those wrists.
6)This will take a while
B) Managing the condition
1) OK, a couple months have gone by, and they are feeling better.
2) If you haven't raised your stem, do so.Make sure the grips place the wrist in a natural way. Gel gloves. A traditional bike is also a possibility for a while.
3)Ice wrists after every ride,build the miles up slowly.


http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/html/rr_raisestem.html

Last edited by late; 11-29-02 at 05:46 AM.
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Old 11-29-02, 07:18 AM   #3
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This is very serious... get off that bike and buy a recumbent.. riding on a regular bike is a very well known cause of carpal tunnel syndrome.
I am using a regular bike though, but have a butterfly bar on 2 of my 3 bikes (touring and road), so that I can use it to lean onto it.. about 75% of my riding time.. the 3rd one is a Brompton and I can't stand to ride on it for longer than 10-15 km.. exactly because of stress on the hands..

The butterfly bars were especially developed for a Dutch bike company Koga Miyata but has ITM make them for them.. unfortunately, ITM doesn't sell them under another name..

But most people are extremely happy with recumbents.. buy one NOW... THAT'S AN ORDER

Ivana

PS.. i read your post a bit more carefully now.. there is a delay in pain.. it still can be bike related.. and do you type a lot? Computer use is a well known cause of carpal tunnel syndrome as well.. get a small pad for under your wrists.. use a differently shaped keyboard.. use computer less..
I am doing exercises for my wrists too.. when I do the preacher curl for the biceps, I let the weight almost roll out of my hands and then curl them up.. also do the reverse wrist curl (see www.exrx.net for exercises)

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Old 11-29-02, 07:36 AM   #4
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Hi
Ivana, that is a little like jogging to make a broken leg heal faster.
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Old 11-29-02, 07:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by late
Hi
Ivana, that is a little like jogging to make a broken leg heal faster.
Yes, I should have added that I currently do not suffer from that syndrom anymore.. but I do think this exercise is a good way to make wrists stronger and thus prevent a further occurrence of this exercise..
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Old 11-29-02, 10:24 AM   #6
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I agree that the idea of a recumbent bike is a good way to keep rolling and get away from the CTS antagonistic position.

A close friend of mine actually did this and he has almost completely recovered from his CTS problems over the past few years.
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Old 11-29-02, 01:57 PM   #7
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how about physical therapy? maybe there are some new techniques out there. i work in the restaurant business so i am around those who have CTS. i will probably end up with it myself. i agree about the surgery, you may be worse off if you have it done. i would find a good sports physical therapist.
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Old 11-29-02, 03:28 PM   #8
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good idea.
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Old 12-02-02, 11:35 AM   #9
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You need to try different things and see how they work for you. I have Moderate CTS in both wrists and some other related syndrome in my elbows. I am 31 and was diagnosed 5 years ago. I have / had all the symptoms you stated. Lately it expanded to my left hand and two little fingers going numb for about 24 hrs after the ride. I think it is due to longer rides 2-3 hrs, mostly up steep climbs. I'm going to try riding with one hand at times and really stretch out my left wrist while riding.

You'd be surprised at what works and what doesn't. The best my wrist has felt in years was when I got it smashed like a taco against my body playing football. I like to mix it up with 300lb'ers for fun! It went numb for a second or two then felt absolutely fabulous. If I could re-create it I would. It may be hard to believe but shoving around guys who are trying to pancake you makes them feel as good as anything. I think it is the pushing instead of a pulling motion.

Sleeping is the key for me. You need to train yourself to sleep on your back with your hands at your sides. Under no circumstances are you to sleep laying on one or both of your hands. Again, flat on the back with hands at side is critical. If I rest my hands on my body, they go numb every time.

I pop 3 advils in the morning to loosen things up then just live with it.

Good Behavior:
Sleeping on back
Hands to your side
Advils in the morning
Plenty of stretching the wrists

Bad Behavior:
Sleeping on your hands
Pulling any kind of weight
Using the mouse. Learn to use the keyboard for everything


REMEMBER- Some people lose their arms or legs. All you have is a little numbness and or pain. Consider yourself luckey. I do.
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Old 12-02-02, 10:50 PM   #10
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I have the same problems. Riding doesn't bother me. Sleeping and working a mouse are my biggest enemies.

Sleep on your back and keep your arms down. This has been the most helpful for me.
Try different wrist braces, they do help.
Get some Naproxin from your doctor (anti inflammatory) works great for me.
Lifting weights help but stay away from the exercises that require pulling.
Stretching aggravates the problem for me.

Good luck.
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Old 12-03-02, 05:07 AM   #11
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I don't know whether the original poster has numbness in the two little fingers or throughout the hand, but someone mentioned numbness in the two little fingers.

In any case, numbness in just the two little fingers is very likely NOT Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, but Cubital Tunnel Syndrome. It is a different nerve that is being affected. I suffer from Cubital TS in my right hand.

Cubital TS usually comes less from pressure at the wrist than from pressure at the elbow or the spine (where the nerves go out to the arms). I have found that wrist braces do nothing whatsoever to relieve my Cubital TS. Good posture in my chair and not holding my elbow bent more than 90 degrees does quite a bit to relieve it.

Since someone mentioned waking up with numbness, I should note that sleeping with your arm straight will do wonders for relieving the symptoms. It is hard to get used to, some people have to entirely change their sleep patterns (usually to sleeping on their backs). But, many people tuck their arms up close to their chests while sleeping, thus putting a lot of pressure on the nerve.

Do a Google search for "cubital tunnel syndrome" and you'll find quite a bit of information.

And, yes, get the problem checked out. If it goes untreated, permanent nerve damage may occur, and in extreme cases rendering the two little fingers useless.

No, my Cubital TS has nothing to do with cycling. It's from spending too much time at this dumb machine.

Cheers,
Jamie
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Old 12-03-02, 11:44 AM   #12
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I have a friend, who had Cts so badly, it was necessary for him to submit to the operation.
The procedure was spread over a lenghthy period of time.
Left wrist and base of his hand were opened up with a long incision, quite ugly to see, even now after a couple of years it is not a pretty site.
However the opperation was sucsesfull insomuch as the feeling in his fingers returned and the night pain relented.
About 4 months later his right hand was opperated on , now this was a different story.
The opp was a complete failure, The poor guy went through agonies, as he was informed they could not perform a second opp for several months.
His hand was useless to him for I believe it was 9 months. Util with relief the 2nd opp was performed.
This again was not a complete sucsess although better than the first time.
After this he was informed that was the best they could do for him, another attempt would be fruitless.
Unfortunatley he worked as a mechanic, and has had to give it up and go on the perminent sick allowances.
His occupation was the the culprit for the T c s originally.
What is your Occupation? maybe that is a contributing factor!
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