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Carpal Tunnel – Getting Better

Three months ago I wrote about getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome [1]. A few weeks after that I visited the specialist again and had my wrist brace adjusted to make it a little less uncomfortable. The specialist also gave me some quick ultra-sound treatment and then said that if it didn’t get better in a month or two then I should just get a referral to a surgeon!

I didn’t have a bad case, some people have their hand muscles atrophy. My hand strength was measured as 50Kg in my left hand (the one with CTS) and 52Kg in my right hand. The greater strength in my right hand is probably more due to the lack of left-handed tools and sporting equipment than any muscle atrophy. This is slightly better than the physical standards for the Victoria Police (just over 50Kg average for both hands) [2] and a lot better than the Australian Federal Police physical standards of 45Kg for the dominant hand and 40Kg for the non-dominant [3].

Really my hand strength should have been recorded as 490Newton and 510Newton respectively, medicine is the science of healing, in all aspects of science the Newton is the measure of force.

Over the past few months my hand seems to have recovered a lot while wearing the wrist-brace 24*7. I’ve just started going without the wrist-brace during the day and it seems to be OK. I’m currently planning to wear the wrist brace at night for a year or two as it’s the only way to ensure that my hand doesn’t end up on a bad angle when I’m asleep.

At this stage it seems that I’ve made as close to a full recovery from CPS as is possible!

8 comments to Carpal Tunnel – Getting Better

  • Eran

    Wrist braces can help but they are not the solution – at least not according to my physiotherapist.
    I’ve had braces which helped for a while, but permanently wearing them reduces the muscle activity in this area, making them weaker.
    The only long-term solution I’m aware of is taking breaks and doing sports / exercises a physiotherapist recommends. Other solutions are not sustainable – including surgery (which requires a recovery period by itself).

  • Geoff Crompton

    Is it really CPS, or is the acronym CTS?

  • etbe

    Eran: I haven’t noticed any loss of strength after wearing the brace for about four months. While the activity is reduced it sometimes requires more strength. In the early days I hardly ever used my left hand, but after a while I developed the habit of using enough force to bend the brace when I really needed more flexibility than it allowed me.

    Geoff: That was a typo, thanks for letting me know, I’ve corrected it.

  • eman


    If you haven’t already replaced your keyboard, then I would highly recommend you get yourself a Kinesis:

    A good pointing device is:

    I went through a long period of typing induced pains (not CTS though) and switching to the above
    combined with frequent typing breaks and Yoga (to strengthen and stretch out everything) helped a great deal.

  • Geoff Crompton

    I second the Kensington Trackball recomendation from eman. I’ve got one at work, and it is fantastic. I don’t know if it’s fantastic from a CTS point of view, I just really like using it, and (fingers crossed) I haven’t had a CTS problem yet.

  • For a while, I was really afraid I had CTS. I switched to an “ergonomic” keyboard. Oddly, switching to a laptop, with it’s smaller keyboard, really, really, helped… a *lot*. To the point I stopped taking the anti-inflammatory meds I was prescribed. A littel while later, I switched to a DVORAK keyboard layout, and while it dramatically slowed my typing for a while, I’ve been using laptop, netbook, and full-sized keyboards since, and I have to say my wrists have never felt better…
    For a while, I’d tried xwrits to force me to take typing breaks periodically, without any real effect on my pain. The change in keyboard size to something that one would expect to exacerbate the discomfort, and the keyboard layout, seems to have completely eliminated what was a major concern for me.
    I’m not necessarily advocating switching layouts, as it _is_ a royal PITA, and I still can’t touch-type QWERTY, but it really only took a couple weeks, and the results were…impressive. You might want to consider at least a new keyboard, if not the new layout. I ended up getting the cheapest keyboard I could find, from a now-defunct national big-box retailer (C.*USA) (I won’t advertise for the outfit that bought the domain), but that was a decent turning point for me, then the shrunken layout, then finally the shift from qwerty, which I’m now convinced was a major part of the problem, since I can use full-size keyboards again w/ the new layout…

  • I’ll tell you how to cure this permanently without surgery. Stay off the computer for a week and swim laps every day. If you don’t know how to swim, learn it! That’s all it takes. You don’t need a special chair or a special keyboard, none of that makes a difference. Swim laps! No pain for 15 years now.

  • lispler

    OTOH, had it been recorded as Newton you probably would have devided by 10 to estimate how many kg that would correspond to at earth gravity..

    At least thats what I do whenever I find some force given in N or KN..