Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, the excruciating pain at your wrist(s), numb or tingling fingers, and the waking in the middle of the night with the familiar aching that just doesn’t go away. I remember getting home at night and my left hand would suddenly turn numb, the fingers turning completely white and unmovable. I had no idea what was happening. It would go away as suddenly as it came.
Eventually, someone mentioned I had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, what was that? It was where repetitively flipping over pages with my left hand 3200 times a night for years had suddenly caused swelling which pinched the median nerve in my hand.
I went to a hand surgeon, already determined, No surgery! Typing since I was twelve, currently typing 96 w.p.m. and playing piano at least since then, no one was cutting on my hands. He took x-rays and a nerve test, then came back to tell me what I already knew, I had carpal tunnel! What I wanted to know was how do I stop the pain? Knitting or crocheting caused the pain to get so bad I was afraid to move my hand, even though it didn’t help stop the pain.
Short of surgery, the prescription was pack in ice, physical therapy three days a week, and a brace molded to my arm, which ran the length of my forearm. Okay, we did this for several months to no avail, back to his office I went. I explained I didn’t have time for the physical therapy three days a week working full time and attending college part time, when did I have time for three hours a week to sit with my hands in an ice bucket? That was the physical therapy.
He explained the swelling in my wrist had to be reduced and the only other option was a steroid shot to my wrist. Okay! So I sat down and before he got half way through the shot, I passed out, hitting the floor. Apparently I was allergic to the pain killer mixed in with steroids and I went into shock, spending the rest of the day in the exam room since he refused to let me go home until after their office closed and then I had to have someone else pick me up to drive me home.
I started doing research on alternative treatments for carpal tunnel. What I found was an array of options including, acupuncture, chiropractic, wrist braces, herbal and vitamin therapies, yoga, and hand exercises. Acupuncture was not an option since my insurance wouldn’t pay for it and again I didn’t have the time for repeat visits to an office. I kept packing my wrist in ice and instead of wearing the brace I put it in the freezer (upside down) and placed a plastic zip lock bag filled with water on top. Then I used the frozen bag in the shape of my arm for an ice pack! I had never considered a Chiropractor before so didn’t for this. I have to admit years later the chiropractor gave me extensive relief from a slipped disk in my back and now swear by them.
The wrist braces I wore for quite a while. I was able to type clumsily with them but when it came to playing piano it took a lot of practice. Finally, I decided that if it was the wrist brace or playing piano, the piano wins and the wrist braces went into the back of my closet.
Being a believer in natural medicine and already had studied vitamins and minerals for years I did more extensive research and figured that if Vitamin B6 was associated with the metabolism of the nervous system among other functions I started taking 150 mg Vitamin B6 and 1200 mg. of Lecithin a day. After about a month, the carpal tunnel seemed to be under control. I still have to wear a brace on my left wrist when knitting or crocheting but that’s it! I no longer have numbness and pain like before. My typing has slowed to 80 or 86 w.p.m. It’s been over ten years now and only on rare occasions when the weather changes I might feel my left wrist ache a bit but it doesn’t last long. Over the last few years I have heard that doctors recommend Vitamin B6 for carpal tunnel. I haven’t heard about the lecithin but the lecithin is what did it with the vitamin B6.