Carpal tunnel

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  • Following a recent crash i have developed carpal tunnel syndrome. This is resulting in numbness in the hand when riding and a lot of pain in the wrist. As a result of the crash and the pain i have totally lost my confidence on the bike and am not really riding any more.
    this is shit.
    anyone got any experience with carpal tunnel? treatments? outcomes? advice? thanks very much in advanced!

  • Yoga! My flatmate has sciatica, same sort of thing, and she learned a bunch of yoga poses which just KICKED ITS ASS by shifting the nerve around and lifting the weight off it.

    Dunno which ones of course but I'm sure you'll find some if you google 'yoga' and 'carpal tunnel'.

  • Iyengar yoga would be my weapon of choice.

  • Wear Wrist splints whilst sleeping.

    Helped my good lady no end.

  • Hey there, sorry to hear that.
    So carpal tunnel syndrome is due to the median nerve being compressed as it passes through the wrist, namely under the flexor retinaculum (the band of tendon that prevents the tendons running to your palm and fingers from your forearm bowstringing..). This narrow thoroughfare is called the carpal tunnel and hence the syndrome name.. If the nerve is compressed within it for whatever reason it causes pain and numbness in the area it supplies.. This tends to be the thumb, index, middle and the radial side of the ring finger.. Reasons for compression can be trauma, pregnancy,arthritis, bone overgrowth, thyroid dysfunction to name the commonest. The problem usually arises during the night but also during day time by activities that precipitate it. Relief is gained by stopping the aggravating issue and shaking the hand to relieve the nerve and hence the symptoms.
    Treatment depends on the cause and severity. Splints, anti-inflammatories (eg ibuprofen), steroid injections and physiotherapy is for mild-moderate cases. Surgical decompression of the nerve is needed when it is more severe and there are constant symptoms on minimal activity or muscle wasting for example.
    Did you fracture anything or have it checked out by a doctor? There are a few fracture types which can cause CT and these usually need looked at by a specialist orthopaedic or plastic surgeon, depending on who does that sort of work in your area. I'd recommend seeing your GP and asking for a referral as it's worth properly investigating especially seeing it affects your everyday activities..
    Hope that helps and just ask if you have any Q's.. Cheers, Tom

  • There's a chap I work with who's just had surgery on both wrists to alleviate this. I think they've drilled out the tunnel, so his nerves aren't pinched. Dunno how succesful the op was though because he's still off sick.

  • I used wrist splints. Worked for me.

  • My mum had one of her CT's operated on a few years back. It helped. She refused to have the other one done at the same time although they advised her to do so (both wrists were buggered in her case) as she wouldn't be able to do anything without both hands for the recovery period. The recovery, she said, was painful, so much so that she would rather put up with the pain that she gets from it than have the other wrist operated on. But that's my mum for you! Hope you get some relief somehow and manage to get back on the bike confidently soon!

  • Go and see GP and have it checked out as CT can also be a symptom of a compressed vertibrae in the neck, amongst other things.

    diet, alcohol and body mass also effect CT. its a right fucker. go and see yr gp and get some free supports, dont settle for the shitty NHS light weight ones, ask for a pair of serious ones that wont break if you dig the garden in them. Yoga = yes, but it is relief not a cure.
    I manage my CT with spazzy looking gloves and spongy bartape [i also had to ride with high BMX bars for 6 months to re-strengthen me arms WAC] your riding position may have to change for a bit and also the distances you ride.
    final solution for me will be operation on both wrists, which i am NOT looking forward to, and am putting off BIG time. doctors warned me that the condition is degenerative and that i eventually may loose full use of hands if i don't have the op.

    PS. i had pretty bad CT for about 2 years before going to see a GP which in retrospect was a bloody stupid move.

  • thanks very much for the advice everyone!
    im heading back to the gp tomorrow and will try and get some splints out of her. Ive been on ibuprofen for three weeks but as soon as i came off the problems came back. So fingers crossed splints and then yoga may help.
    got back on the bike at the weekend despite the hurt to start getting my confidence back and it was great.
    thanks again!

  • I sometimes get wrist pain (in not CTS though, not sure what it is really), I'm a big fan of stretching and trigger point therapy/accupressure which i have successfully used to cure my knee problems and seriously alleviate my long term back injury.

    What "may" help is, get a hard object like a cricket ball (although i've used small whisky tumblers whilst at work as nothing else was available) and roll it around on your forearm, when you get to a tight/sore/tender spot push the ball hard onto the spot. Do this all over your forearm followed by some wrist stretches. Hopefully this will help - sorts me out anyway

  • Your GP should be suspicious of your scaphoid bone and other carpal bones to exclude fracture or instability. CTS is generally easy to diagnose and differentiate from other causes of median nerve irritation but as pointed out above your symptoms may be referred (generally from the cervical spine) or the result of what is known as a 'double crush' syndrome which predisposes the nerve to hypersensitivity.

    TRUE CTS patients usually respond well to combinations of the following: splinting, carpal bone mobilisations, acupuncture, myofascial release; stretching; neural mobilisations and activity modification. Failing this then steroid injections offers an effective anti-inflammatory solution. Options then elevate to nerve conduction testing in severe cases and surgical decompression but I would exhaust conservative options (and ensure it is true CTS) before seeking surgical management unless symptoms are severe and atrophy has occured.

    Good luck with your GP - They will most likely to refer you to Physiotherapy (depending on your area and service availability) but CTS is often overly wrongly diagnosed without thorough examination.

    PM if you have any queries.

    Michael.
    Forum Physio.

  • Thought I’d dredge this thread up as I have carpal tunnel syndrome...

    It started about 2 months ago, pins and needles then complete numbness in my right hand while riding – annoying, painful and a bit unsafe too as you can’t brake with numb hands. It doesn’t seem to be getting better, despite anti-inflammatories and sleeping with a wrist splint on. This morning I had my first appointment at Crystal Palace sports physio – the physio there reckons my ridiculously double-jointed arms have got me in this mess, and that I already have muscle wastage in my hand :( And there was me thinking it was pretty cool to be this double jointed.

    I’m booked in for a steroid injection in a month’s time – has anyone had one of these before? Apparently I can’t ride a bike for 10 days afterwards (urgh) but it’ll be worth it if it helps.

    I will do literally anything to avoid having to have surgery.

  • See my post above from 2011. Sounds like you have seen Dan. Wastage (atrophy) suggests long standing and severe compression. The steroid will reduce the inflammation and excess fluid within the carpal tunnel but make sure you have treatment to reduce the cause of the excess fluid otherwise it may return in the future. Good luck.

  • i've had the surgery, sorted it and wasn't too debilitating

    N

  • @hats....me too ;-) my yoga yogie says make you hands together like you are praying then still in that postion, move hands to solar plexus and hold. opens up the wrists apparently, and also make u look very devout !

    Working for me :-)

  • See my post above from 2011. Sounds like you have seen Dan. Wastage (atrophy) suggests long standing and severe compression. The steroid will reduce the inflammation and excess fluid within the carpal tunnel but make sure you have treatment to reduce the cause of the excess fluid otherwise it may return in the future. Good luck.

    Thanks - as well as the steroid injection I'm going to have a lot of physio to try to realign my shoulder and I have to try very hard not to bend my hands the wrong way or get really stressed out and tense (much easier said than done...). The muscle wastage thing terrifies me.

    i've had the surgery, sorted it and wasn't too debilitating

    N

    That's good to know - how long were you out of action for? I'm extremely right handed so the thought of not being able to use my right hand, and so being completely incapable of doing ANYTHING is not something I look forward to.

    @hats....me too ;-) my yoga yogie says make you hands together like you are praying then still in that postion, move hands to solar plexus and hold. opens up the wrists apparently, and also make u look very devout !
    Working for me :-)

    Brilliant, I'll give that a go! And I'll do it at work to try to freak people out a little :)

  • i seem to remember it was only a day or so when i couldn't actually use my hand and then use came back steadily. within 5 days I was using a circular saw although that wasn't very comfortable!

    The only actual pain i remember was from the wound and stitches rather than the procedure, scar is about 1 inch long.

  • Steroid offers temporary relief for the majority of people with carpal tunnel syndrome.
    It is rare for it to result in long-term symptom relief, however, except in the case of pregnancy when the symptoms often abate after delivery.
    If you have thenar muscle wasting along with the symptoms you describe I would suggest you have a carpal tunnel decompression ASAP. It will not reverse the muscle wasting but will prevent further deterioration.
    Steroid is a temporising measure in equivocal cases - in your case it just sounds like you're deferring the inevitable.

  • i seem to remember it was only a day or so when i couldn't actually use my hand and then use came back steadily. within 5 days I was using a circular saw although that wasn't very comfortable!

    The only actual pain i remember was from the wound and stitches rather than the procedure, scar is about 1 inch long.

    Only a day or so of no use? That’s pretty good. How long before you could ride again?

    I’m not too worried about pain from the wound (I’ve had much bigger operations/have bigger scars), it’s not being able to do anything that worries me.

    Steroid offers temporary relief for the majority of people with carpal tunnel syndrome.
    It is rare for it to result in long-term symptom relief, however, except in the case of pregnancy when the symptoms often abate after delivery.
    If you have thenar muscle wasting along with the symptoms you describe I would suggest you have a carpal tunnel decompression ASAP. It will not reverse the muscle wasting but will prevent further deterioration.
    Steroid is a temporising measure in equivocal cases - in your case it just sounds like you're deferring the inevitable.

    Eeek. This is pretty worrying. I’ll have a proper chat with my physiotherapist when I see her next.

  • Well, today I had a steroid injection in my wrist. While it was happening I had a nice chat with the physio about Lance Armstrong and doping, which felt quite apt. It stung a little but wasn’t that bad, now it hurts quite a bit and I can’t really do anything with my right wrist, hopefully that’ll stop soon.

    I got a bit upset when the physio told me that I was “very young to be having these sorts of problems”. They all keep telling me that, which isn’t exactly uplifting.

    Oh, and apparently the steroids will make me sad for a few days. Just what I need...

  • Before you rip up Ventoux destroying everyone around you, arriving at the summit growling?

  • Sorry for yet another dredge... I've had lots of physio and my wrist (on the whole) feels a lot better, however the nerve is trapped in my elbow and shoulder too, which is super painful and leaves my hand like a little useless claw after an hour on the bike. Does anyone have any suggestions for what I can do to improve this? I'm doing pilates, stretching and some weights.

    It is driving me insane.

  • You may have an underlying cervical nerve root irritation which has sensitised your upper limb nerves. Unlikely that it is trapped or irritated at three separate locations. Manual therapy on the neck and shoulder girdle, taping the shoulders and offloading by moving your bars up and / or back will probably help in the short term.

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Carpal tunnel

Posted by Avatar for cernan @cernan

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