so happy it's friday today! :)
I've recently received a few emails with questions regarding carpal tunnel syndrome. I have blogged about this before and although I don't consider myself an expert I hope my 2.5+ years of personal experience with CTS can at least give you an inside perspective. And because I do not wish to bore your sweet minds, I have made my own version in picture form :) (which i hope you find not only informative, but entertaining .hahaa.)
Know the symptoms of CTS ( Carpal Tunnel Syndrome ) So you think you might have CTS? I didn't.
I had severe pain up and down my left arm all the way back to my shoulder blade. I saw a physician and yep. He quickly diagnosed me with CTS. Gave me a brace and had me on my way in no time. So go see a doctor to make sure it's only CTS and nothing more severe. No more putting it off or wondering what if! It can get worse if you don't start treating it now.
Now that you know for sure it's CTS, you're bummed right? Aw nuggets! It is a bit of a downer. I felt broken, weak and helpless :( You'll have questions like how to I get better? Is this forever? etc. Ask your doctor. Mine said with therapy I could definitely get better. I'm holding onto hope this isn't forever :) Keep your chin up!
Then see a Physical Therapist. They will help educate you in several ways to help fight CTS ! ( this is mostly a lifestyle change and honestly does require encouragement & support )
- Start wearing ugly arm braces. hahaa. (could they not make these cute? just a little? hahaa) ( mine are from here) Notice I have 2, one on each arm. I waited 8 long months to start therapy. I ended up with CTS AND tendinitis in both my arms. Please learn from my mistake. My excuse? I didn't have the money to pay ( my insurance was lame ). No excuses.
Fight CTS while wearing a good pair of braces.
Look how ridiculous i look in TWO arm braces! I especially hate it when people ask questions EVERY time i wear my braces and they have the sorry look on their faces. That's another excuse why I didn't wear my braces. People. Comments. They make it worse. But don't worry about it. You get used to it :)
- Fight CTS by checking the ergonomics of your work space My CTS was work related. So this is very important.
- Fight CTS by exercising 30 min a day. ( umm. gotta get back to that oops! :P) Although I did take 15 min. walks every 2.5 hours around my work building. Take your iPOD and some good walking shoes and you are good to go. You feel so relaxed and your muscles will thank you for it too. It clears your mind and is such a good way to de-stress. I have to admit a healthy mind & attitude makes the difference here. Unplug from your daily for a little bit.
- Stretch often. Like every 30 min of each day often. i do keep this up daily. I don't like to wait until i feel pain. It's so much better to do this as a preventative measure. And you might want to try the theraband to help strengthen your muscles. Or a ball of putty to help strengthen your grip. Both worked for me.
then you'll be all cool and such with your braces. You might even bust a move. Vogue :)
But if you do still experience pain... it's okay. I was prescribed Ibuprofen and take one pill if I have done all my exercises and stretches and still feel pain. This is very few and far between. I don't like taking pills :)
My favorite by far was the deep tissue massages my therapist gave me on both my arms. Good gravy! I always felt so relaxed and renewed right after. I always looked forward to those :) Basically they put a hot compress on your arms for 15 min. then they do a massage all the way up your arm to your elbows. It hurts if there is scar tissue but it's worth it. Then they do a cold compress for 15 min. ( i have trained Mr. Handsome and he gives me my arm massages now. )
After about 9 months of weekly or biweekly therapy I graduated and now no longer see a therapist. Not because I'm cured, but because we felt I was living my life armed with the proper skills to help fight CTS. I just need to keep up the exercise, stretching and positive attitude everyday. Which at times is not easy, but I thankfully have a strong group of friends and family who pray and encourage me and are just as determined to help me live a life not ruled by CTS. And I think that has made the difference for me.
I can even be silly about it now :)