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  #1  
Old 03-01-2013, 07:39 AM
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Default It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

So I saw my doctor today and he ran me through a few physical tests and it was confirmed that yes, I'm suffering from early stage carpal tunnel syndrome. I told him as far back as 10 years ago I'd do things and have my fingers go numb and now it seems to happen frequently.

For now, I'm wearing wrist braces on both hands and he added a med to deal with some other issues that may be contributing to this condition. I have an appointment to meet with physical therapists and they will determine over the course of the next month or so if I will need the surgery to alleviate the pressure caused by the swollen carpal tunnel on the median nerve in my hands. He wants to see if the new med will help first, and it gives the therapists time to determine the right course of action. It's kinda' refreshing when the doctor doesn't immediately want to put me under the knife. He says if there's some metabolic way to help, then let's try that first.

I told him I play drums as part of my job so I've been ordered to wear these braces for now, and to use my hands only when I need to play - but taking it easy. Now I need to tell the schools I work for that I'll be playing a bit differently, and the mouse gig will probably be on hold for a bit as I work this out (I'm slamming that one from start to finish for at least 25 minutes at a time).

He's confident that this is just a swelling issue and we'll be able to rectify it without surgery, but we'll see about that. For now my hands are on vacation in these braces! Just typing this up has taken a really long time of full arm movement! Smiles remain, though! I'm not quite as bummed out as I was when he first gave me the news earlier today ;)
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:58 AM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
He's confident that this is just a swelling issue and we'll be able to rectify it without surgery, but we'll see about that.
Hopefully this will be the case, and you'll be back to slammin' the skins "like a madman" soon. Best wishes.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:01 AM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

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Hopefully this will be the case, and you'll be back to slammin' the skins "like a madman" soon. Best wishes.
Thanks Harry. I was kinda depressed when I saw this NAMM video of Danny Gottlieb though....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1Ou02_grNY

Now there's some technique that's definitely on my bucket list!
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:10 AM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

As a massage therapist, I would HIGHLY recommend seeking out other modalities before going under the knife. Myofascial therapy has a high success rate of dealing with carpel tunnel syndrome, and since your situation is in the early stages, it should be a cinch for somebody who knows what they're doing to alleviate your condition without an invasive procedure.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:10 AM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

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Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
As a massage therapist, I would HIGHLY recommend seeking out other modalities before going under the knife. Myofascial therapy has a high success rate of dealing with carpel tunnel syndrome, and since your situation is in the early stages, it should be a cinch for somebody who knows what they're doing to alleviate your condition without an invasive procedure.
This sounds like very encouraging news from a professional Bo. Chin up my friend. Don't let this consume you. Just progress the positive stuff & put the doubts in a box.
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  #6  
Old 03-01-2013, 10:07 AM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

There are a bunch of exercises that can help this. Eventually dietary changes too, if one is open to that.

Surgery should be a last resort.
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  #7  
Old 03-01-2013, 11:57 AM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

The good news is now you know what's going on. Hopefully therapy and meds help and if need be look for a good massage therapist like caddy said!
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:01 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Let's hope it doesn't come to surgery or you'll have to deal with a recovery period. On the plus side, people I know who've had the surgery say their hands feel great afterwards.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:28 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Sorry to hear Bo. Worst case scenario you get the surgery and have to wait out the recovery period, you'll be fine.

:)
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Wow that sucks, Also check into acupuncture.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:01 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Sorry to hear this Bo. You'll beat it, one way or another. No pun intended. Curious to hear what Dr. Watso says about it.
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  #12  
Old 03-01-2013, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Bo I had beginning carpal tunnel a few years ago and I beat it by massaging my arms before and after gigs. I also gripped my stick way to tight so I loosened it. There are tons of things you can do to fix this. Many musicians on youtube show how they beat it without surgery.

I HIGHKY recommend you not get that surgery. You permanently loose control over some of the muscles in your hand. I know many drummers who have gotten this surgery and it became an even worse nightmare not to mention all of the scare tissue that will be right over your tendons. Once you cut it that is IT buddy. Find a natural remedy my friend or you may regret it for the rest of your life.

You can beat this!
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  #13  
Old 03-01-2013, 03:25 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Don't let it get you down too much, Bo. There are solutions.

I've dealt with CTS for years, aggravated by injuries I sustained in an accident. Some therapies were helpful for a time, but I did end up having to have surgery.

In my experience, there is no need to fear the surgery. Like others, I would recommend every non-invasive therapy first, but if that doesn't work for you, don't despair. The surgery was extremely helpful for me, and for everyone else I personally know who has had it done.

There is always hope, so keep yer chin up!
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:52 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Hate to hear it Bo. At least it is encouraging to hear that you have options to choose from and hopefully be able to get things back to normal.
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  #15  
Old 03-01-2013, 04:23 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

not a big deal Matt

I have beat it......so can you

I don't want to get into the whole chiropractics argument......but I am walking proof that more than a mild case of CT can be cured with no surgery needed .

there is no need for surgery to relieve pressure on the median nerve

mine was baaad.....I couldn't hold a pencil while on tour

the Doc. I saw while on the road told me I needed surgery after an examination....he added that it was fairly urgent as well because of the amount of inflammation and pressure on the median and ulnar nerve and potential damage to my transverse ligament

I got back home and saw my Chiropractor and she laughed at what he told me about urgent surgery

2 months later I was drumming with zero pain and it has not returned in almost 5 years

Last edited by Anthony Amodeo; 03-01-2013 at 04:35 PM.
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  #16  
Old 03-01-2013, 05:02 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

I always wear little wrist braces.

I'd also recommend finding someone who regularly deals with musicians. As we're in Southern California, they do exist.
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  #17  
Old 03-01-2013, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
I always wear little wrist braces.

I'd also recommend finding someone who regularly deals with musicians. As we're in Southern California, they do exist.
this ^^^^^
.............

someone who regularly deals with musicians and athletes is the way to go

worked very well for me
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  #18  
Old 03-01-2013, 05:53 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Best luck and a prompt recovery Bo, some posts in this thread are very encouraging, let's hope you won't need surgery.
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  #19  
Old 03-01-2013, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

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Sorry to hear this Bo. You'll beat it, one way or another. No pun intended. Curious to hear what Dr. Watso says about it.
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

You know, I've been kind of dealing with the implications of your last question -- "What would you do if you couldn't play any more?" and knowing what was going on with you, it actually had me feeling a little sick to my stomach for you. I can think of only a few things in my life I would be less reluctant to give up than drumming. And so I have a good idea the gut-turning you must be facing.

I'm really glad to hear that the prognosis is not so dire, and I'm loving the encouraging words and advice everyone is throwing on here. I'll now add my two cents: I have a lot of faith that things are going to turn out just fine. It's not going to be a big issue in the long run, you figured out something wasn't right, you got it checked out, you know what it is, you're taking care of yourself and being a good patient. Just hang in there, and I am certain the pain will recede and you can go back to the Main Street Parade, making great YouTube videos, subbing for Bermuda, and making people smile.
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  #21  
Old 03-01-2013, 06:07 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

When evaluating therapeutic modalities, I find it best to not walk in with any preconceived notions. Blanket statements such as "Avoid surgery" or " avoid chiropractors" do not address the true complexity of the issue.

The truth is that almost every therapy has a real life application. The construction worker whose arm has been ripped off in an accident needs a micro surgeon. Mild cases of inflammation can be handled by omega 3 supplementation. Tight muscles can be released through massage etc

The right tool for the right job.

The new advances in surgery are drastically reducing associated trauma and recovery times.
Case in point, my friend had carpal tunnel surgery 11 years ago. His wrist looks like Frankenstein's. The new non-invasive techniques do not leave a scar and do very little damage to surrounding tissue. Worlds apart in terms of results.

That is the one major difference between the modalities. Surgery is advancing at a fantastic pace, thanks to computers and robotics. The others have remain unchanged for a long time. In some cases hundreds of years.

With luck, you can turn this into a positive by reinventing yourself or by learning something new during the downtime.
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  #22  
Old 03-01-2013, 06:12 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands during college. I tried the wrist braces, but mine had progressed to the point where my hands were not only falling asleep, but causing me pain that would wake me up at night. At the time, I was lifting weights heavily, working construction and studying drums in school (i.e. heavy practice schedule), so there were numerous factors at play (not to mention genetics - my father has it as well).

Long story short, I had the carpal tunnel release surgery. I did the RIght hand first, then the left hand two months later. The surgery is typically arthroscopic to the scarring is very minimal. Fifteen years later you can barely see the scars. The first month with each hand was the worst. You basically have no grip strength, but it comes back in time with physical therapy. I had to drop private drum instruction from my course load, which was unfortunate, but I pretty much knew I wasn't going to pursue it professionally at that point. Within 7-8 months I was drumming again (not a daily 2-4 practice schedule) and within a year I pretty much had full strength back in my hands.

I had no return symptoms for about fifteen years and the improvement in my ability to hold sticks and perform other activites was significant. Lately I have experienced some light numbness and soreness in my hands, but I have been a practicing attorney for five years so, it was kinda of inevitable given the number of hours I spend at a keyboard.

All in all, I am glad I had the surgery.

Last edited by MN02; 03-01-2013 at 06:12 PM. Reason: Spelling correction
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Old 03-01-2013, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

I second Caddy's suggestion to see a qualified massage therpist.

I see one on a fairly regular basis and it has done wonders for alleviating my neck pain and headaches.

I'm not talking a fluffy day spa...an actual therapist that can determine the root of your problem and break up adhesions in your muscles to get you moving again. A qualified, educated therapist can show you how wrist or elbow pain can actually orginate from the shoulder or other part of the body and also determine if surgery is needed.

I'm sure there are plenty in your area. Check them out.

Good luck, Bo.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Sorry to hear about this BO,but there is plenty to be hopefull for.I agree with the non surgical alterternatives being mentioned.Neuro and orthopedic surgeons are classicly trained so most tend to think all injuries are a nail,and most solutions as a hammer(sugical)

My neurologest wanted to perform surgery on me to correct my painful chronic siatica.A friend directed me to a young chiropractor ,who also worked with a accupunctureist.They straightened me out(pun intended) in less than a month.The problem hasn't reoccured since my last treatment in 1995.

The problem was caused by me carrying my wallet in my left rear pocket,which aggrivated the nerve when I sat down..Such a simple solution,that a western trained MD couldn't figure out.

A trained and accredited massage therepist can also work wonders.A very good friend of mine is an RN and anso has a AS in holistic medicine and massage therapy.She's also a big believer in using sports medicine therapy,diet and herbal/vitamine supplements.

Chinese medicine has also been helpful and helped me quit smoking,and also helped me with resperatory problems.

This stuff has worked for me in the past,so give it a shot.There are alternatives to western medicine that are holistic,non invasive and they actually work.It's all going to be ok Matt.

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Old 03-01-2013, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

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Originally Posted by Anthony Amodeo View Post
not a big deal Matt

I have beat it......so can you

I don't want to get into the whole chiropractics argument......but I am walking proof that more than a mild case of CT can be cured with no surgery needed .

there is no need for surgery to relieve pressure on the median nerve

mine was baaad.....I couldn't hold a pencil while on tour

the Doc. I saw while on the road told me I needed surgery after an examination....he added that it was fairly urgent as well because of the amount of inflammation and pressure on the median and ulnar nerve and potential damage to my transverse ligament

I got back home and saw my Chiropractor and she laughed at what he told me about urgent surgery

2 months later I was drumming with zero pain and it has not returned in almost 5 years
I tried two reputable chiropractors who said they could help, with zero results. But each body is different, and I had mitigating circumstances because the injury.

If it works, I'd do that before surgery. You have nothing to lose by trying non-invasive first, except a little time.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:22 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post
When evaluating therapeutic modalities, I find it best to not walk in with any preconceived notions. Blanket statements such as "Avoid surgery" or " avoid chiropractors" do not address the true complexity of the issue.

The truth is that almost every therapy has a real life application. The construction worker whose arm has been ripped off in an accident needs a micro surgeon. Mild cases of inflammation can be handled by omega 3 supplementation. Tight muscles can be released through massage etc

The right tool for the right job.

The new advances in surgery are drastically reducing associated trauma and recovery times.
Case in point, my friend had carpal tunnel surgery 11 years ago. His wrist looks like Frankenstein's. The new non-invasive techniques do not leave a scar and do very little damage to surrounding tissue. Worlds apart in terms of results.

That is the one major difference between the modalities. Surgery is advancing at a fantastic pace, thanks to computers and robotics. The others have remain unchanged for a long time. In some cases hundreds of years.

With luck, you can turn this into a positive by reinventing yourself or by learning something new during the downtime.
Absolutely agree. There are lots of options and opportunities.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:23 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Keep your chin up Bo. Even if you have to go under the knife this'll all work out. Thomas Lang had surgery for CTS and he's playing just as much as he ever did.
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Glad to hear it isn't some exoctic arm rot and can be treated. Hang in there lad you will be good as new soon.
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  #29  
Old 03-01-2013, 10:14 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Sorry to hear this. Some people are blessed with larger carpal tunnels and some people have small ones. I hope it works out.

You might want to try switching more work to your subordinate hand, to give your dominant hand a rest. I am right handed and about 15 years ago I started using the mouse left handed to deal with tendonitis in my right hand. It took just a couple of days and then my left hand was just as good with the mouse as my right.
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:46 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

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I'm not talking a fluffy day spa...an actual [massage] therapist that can determine the root of your problem and break up adhesions in your muscles to get you moving again.
I'm working with someone like this ^^^ to recover from my pinched nerve (neck) and resulting pain. Also with a physical therapist.

Best of luck to you (and thanks to the folks who've provided encouragement/advice on my separate thread).

CV
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:35 PM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

You're seeing a professional which is the best advice I can give. You don't want to rely on definitive statements about what you should or should not do based on anecdotal evidence on a forum. And you're not, which is excellent.

The one consensus almost everyone reaches is that surgery is a last resort and usually not necessary. This is one of those conditions that evidence shows really does appear to respond well to alternative treatments.

Now for my anecdotal post on the subject: I had off-and-on CTS symptoms for many years, since I was a teen. A few years ago, I started hitting the practice sessions hard again and it really flared up. I changed my technique, loosened my grip, improved my posture at my desk, paid careful attention to the angle of my wrists while typing on a keyboard or using a mouse, and I paid attention to the position my wrists were in while sleeping.

I'm a bit of a freak (hold it right there, peanut gallery) in that I'm able to adjust my sleeping position pretty reliably. I don't "forget" while I'm asleep, I can actually keep my wrists straight throughout the night. I suspect most people can't do this, so therefore the braces. I would suggest being really consistent about using the braces.

Either way, you'll fix this. Tons of people get it and get past it.
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:10 AM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Bummer! I very much hope it will work out for you quickly and without surgery!
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Old 03-02-2013, 12:32 AM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Thanks everyone for the outpouring of support!

I know everyone has opinions about what must be done, whether or not I should consider surgery or not, or do therapy.....it's all on the table. I can't wait to get with the occupational therapists to see what they think and what their suggestions might be.

But its pretty obvious at this time, I can't stop playing at least until the end of April as that's how long the high school kids do their thing. So the wrist splints come off just for that. And I found out today that I can go "boom, bap, boom-boom bap" pretty loudly using no wrist technique at all ;). Its the speedy stuff that I've gone to half-time on that sounds different. But I am officially taking it easy. I turned in papers with work so they can put me on limited duty for the next month, so at least the system is working with me - we'll see how long that lasts.

The massage therapy sounds promising, I'll look into that. Another person recommend looking at my technique with some Jim Chapin method stuff, and that sounds very promising. I looked up a couple of stretches and have been trying them and I think those do actually work. I've already been seeing my chiropractor, so maybe he can recommend a good massage therapist for the myofascial thing. We'll see how it all works out.

The doctor originally gave me splints that look like they belong in the 60s (old, ACE-style beige wrist splints), so today I went to a pharmacy and found some cool black/grey neoprene ones and splurged. If I have to wear these, at least now I look cool ;)

But thanks again everyone. I will survive ;)
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:52 AM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Sorry to hear of this Bo. Hopefully it gets all worked out without any sort of surgery. I've been lucky not to have any sort of pain in my wrist or hands, but I do need to take an aleve every once in awhile for arthritis in the knee. Good luck Bo!
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Old 03-02-2013, 02:55 AM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

What is the specific condition that causes it? Which nerve?

Sucks BTW. Sorry to hear.
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:13 AM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

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What is the specific condition that causes it? Which nerve?

Sucks BTW. Sorry to hear.
Ah I get to relate what I've learned over the past two days!

Simply put: there is a tunnel way in the center of your wrist where the nerves go through to get to your hand. It's made up of tendons. If you injured the tendon and cause it to swell, the nerves then can't "communicate" with parts of the hand. In my case, I'm experiencing numbness in my middle and ring fingers when my hands are in a certain position. Handling drumsticks and causing lots of vibration can aggravate the situation, or alot of repetitive motion. So the tunnel is called the carpal tunnel and in a nutshell, that's what's happening.

Through therapies, you can deal with it, or through surgery, you can cut the tendons and release the pressure. Although surgery has gotten much better, you are still altering your physiology when you do that. So my doctor would like to see if we can avoid that first.

Sounds pretty basic, doesn't it?
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Old 03-02-2013, 03:33 AM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Matt are your fingers getting cold?

I remember my fingers getting ice cold like a corpse from the inflammation not allowing proper circulation

and every night I would wake up with my hands dead asleep ......could have cut my fingers off and not felt a thing especially my ring and pinkie fingers
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Old 03-02-2013, 04:35 AM
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Midnite Zephyr Midnite Zephyr is offline
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

That's a bummer, Bo. You'll survive this, I have faith in you. My hands feel a little worn out at times. I've had times when I decided my hands just need to rest. I do drafting on a computer all day for work and I'm clicking and typing all day. I sometimes think about how awful it would be to lose the use of my hands.

Well, I hope this doesn't affect your career any. Sounds like you caught it just in time. Good luck!
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:22 AM
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inneedofgrace inneedofgrace is offline
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

It's amazing how many posters here have experience with CTS, and there has been some great stories shared. You will get through this Bo, and be back 100% - the best thing you can do is stay positive through whatever treatment options you decide on.
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:32 AM
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Default Re: It's confirmed: I have carpal tunnel syndrome

Quote:
Originally Posted by inneedofgrace View Post
It's amazing how many posters here have experience with CTS, and there has been some great stories shared. You will get through this Bo, and be back 100% - the best thing you can do is stay positive through whatever treatment options you decide on.
Good luck with the physical therapy. I know you will beat this my friend.
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