My friend has celiac disease (I think, its the one where he's violently ill if he eats gluten), is 32 years old, and has been strictly gluten free for the past 16 years.
He's been having carpal tunnel problems for the past 5 years or so, and the doctors are talking surgery if it doesn't improve. He says that fish oil (4 caps ED, unknown dosage) helps temporarily and that the doctor has him on B12 supplements and a multivitamin.
I told him that based on a lot of the stuff I've read, it could be an inflammation issue based on his diet and told him to try ramping up his fish oil dosing and to try to increase the olive oil intake, thinking that they may reduce inflammation and help the problem. I also told him that since he does not get any sun, D3 may help.
Are these recommendations sound? Does anyone have any other recommendations? Any experience with carpal tunnel out there?
Agree with The Quilt - getting his Vit.D checked is huge. Also, from personal experience with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, I know that gluten free is not always enough. It has helped a lot since I went GF 2 years ago, but I didn't truly get well until I went Paleo (grain, legume and dairy free). Inflammation in the body can cause problems like carpal tunnel symptoms in areas where the nerves have a tight space to go through. I treated a woman who had pregnancy-related CTS due to weight gain and fluid retention (there are research articles out there about this, too). Also, from 13 years of experience as a physical therapist (and counting!), I can tell you that most of what is called "carpal tunnel" is not true carpal tunnel - the problems may be coming from the neck and/or shoulder, as well as any other point along the arm where the nerve could be entrapped in muscle or scar tissue. I would strongly recommend that he avoid surgery for a carpal tunnel release unless all other options have been exhausted. Has he tried physical therapy? Trigger Point Dry Needling? If he wants more info, he can look at my website www.prana-pt.com for info on dry needling and also www.myopainseminars.com for a provider list of PT's in his area. (This advice is not a substitute for medical care and I recommend he speak with his MD about a physical therapy referral.) Best of luck to him.
I know someone who thought they had carpal tunnel, and it turned out to be one of the first symptoms of diabetes.. pain and numbness in his hands and wrists. Just throwing that out there just in case.
Vitamin b6 works great.
Also rest the wrists when not at work. Avoid dishes and laundry if possible. Or have someone help get laundry from washer to drier (when the clothes weigh the most).
Keep wrists straight at night. If you have braces only wear them while sleeping. If you can have someone check on you that your wrists are straight at night you can ditch the braces there as well.
Membrane keyboards can be aweful. If you are big like me you pound on your keyboard and the keys on the membrane keyboard bottom out which hurts your wrists. Try a quality mechanical keyboard such as unicomp or filco. I use a filco 87 key and it is small allowing my mouse hand to be in a better position. Try a trackpad instead of a mouse. Swap out on ocassion.
You might want to look at this book: It's Not Carpal Tunnel Syndrome!: RSI Theory and Therapy for Computer Professionals.
From a review:
The authors seriously debunk a number of misconceptions held by medical and other healthcare professional. The first point of widespread confusion is mistaking carpal tunnel syndrome for all RSI... true carpal tunnel syndrome, in which the actual cause of the problem in confined to the wrist, is fairly rare. For most computer users, the cause of the problem is much more widespread, involving aggravation points up and down the neck, shoulder and arm. Attempts to address only the wrist area are almost always followed in a matter of months by a litany of other symptoms.
This books uses extensive case studies throughout to illustrate the seriousness of symptoms and they emphatically emphasize the importance of prevention. They also state that there isn't an instant quick magical cure; treatment releasing multiple trigger points is often long-winded, painful, with frequent apparent relapses. The authors discuss the [erroneous] traditional medical response, i.e. anti-inflammatories, surgery, and provide extensive reference to the existing published literature throughout. They then proceed to discuss their diagnosis of a general syndrome explaining most computer-related RSI, describe how to obtain relief with specific therapies, techniques by the user and the therapist, how to improve your work station and improve the use of your body.
Also make sure that he is physically getting accommodated at work and that he is set up at home to not exacerbate the issue. It requires severe changes in habits. When I developed carpal tunnel as a result of my desk job, not only did I have to change how I was at work, but also at home, for example chopping was a similar position/ motion as typing, so I had to learn to modify that as well. Good luck to your friend!
My wife and I have had success with nerve glide exercises. I don't even really have carpal tunnel (took care of my wife's, though); they just feel good.
Are you absolutely positive it's carpal tunnel? When I had issues that I thought were carpal tunnel (honestly, I would have put money on it...) it turned out to be tennis elbow from typing. I felt it all in my wrists and hands. My hands went numb. I remember once getting up at the end of the day and trying to pick up my laptop and almost smashing it on the floor because my hands were so numb I couldn't hold it.
But no, tennis elbow.
It was a long time ago, but I remember the chiropractor giving me this brace (or, well, one very similar) and... well I don't remember what the rest of the therapy was. But it seemed to be effective. Haven't really had any problems since.
My wife "Farmville-ed" herself into a nice case of wrist tendonitis. They told her it was carpal tunnel and would need surgery. A second opinion showed it was not carpal tunnel. Months of PT did nothing, she was wearing a brace, put in a cast for 12 weeks, and still in pain. I found a 2 year old blood lab of hers that showed her Vit D level was a 7! She took 50,000IU Vit D2 (2X week) for 3 mo and has been on 10,000IU D3/daily for the past 3 months and her tendonitis is finally getting better. She recently started B12 as well.
During all this, her LDL was up and doc wanted her on statins to boot!
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