T Nation

hand surgery


#1

I am going to have both hands operated on next month(carpal tunnel) and I do not want to give up wheight lifting for the two months that it will take to recover.
Any ideas on what I can do to lift.
I have thought of some type of lifting straps to go around my wrists so that I do do have to grip the wheights.
I plan on doing a lot of cardio to keep from going nuts and to burn off excess fat but I am up in the air as far as what to do for lifting.
Thanks for any help


#2

Since you have another month before the scheduled surgery, my advice would be to do everything possible to alleviate the pain and possibly postpone or eliminate the surgery altogether. I do not want to replace the potentially valuable advice of a surgeon, but when I researched the surgery the prognosis for full recovery wasn't good enough for me. Many times surgery is performed because the pain has been intense and fairly long-lasting, and no one knows what else to do.

I had intense pain from cubital tunnel syndrome (similar to the more common carpal tunnel but in the elbow rather than wrist) for 9 agonizing months. For about 4 months I quit doing everything that caused pain, which was literally everything. I couldn't pick up a pencil, type, drive a stick shift, hold a fork, or open my closet door. My fingers were becoming numb, and an EMG nerve conductance test indicated nerve damage. I feared a life of permanent disability and was contemplating the recommended surgery.

Conventional wisdom about this condition is very scary ("if you don't have surgery, you'll have permanent, irreversible nerve damage"). Given my experience and further research, I don't believe this always to be true. If your carpal tunnel is narrowed due to buildup of bone tissue, maybe surgery will help. Otherwise, I would try everything else first.

1) Ergonomic work conditions. I got a new chair, raised my monitor, got an adjustable keyboard arm, etc.
2) Chiropractic and other treatment to address any postural imbalances. If I were in this same position again, I'd be much more aggressive with this treatment. I would keep getting ART as well. I now believe that cervical spinal compression from poor spinal posture was the ultimate cause of my pain. The surgeon was going to move the nerve in my elbow!
3) Physical therapy and occupational therapy. The occupational therapist made a brace for me to wear at night to prevent me from tightly flexing my entire arm during my sleep. I believe this brace eventually helped a great deal.
4) Anti-inflammatory diet and supplements. Fish oil, maybe aspirin, lots of veggies.
5) Exercise, in general, reduced muscle tension (at least temporarily), increased circulation, and reduced pain.
6) Heat. Great for increasing circulation and promoting healing.
7) Read John Sarno's book Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection. I disagree that the CNS ("subconscious psychological") factor is the cause of ALL pain, but it is undoubtedly a major factor. Just acknowledging this possible factor reduced my anxiety, and my pain levels immediately subsided. It is also good to read about people in debilitating pain for years who fully recovered. Worth a read!

One mistake I made when pursuing all the above treatments was not being patient. I would feel better for a day after chiropractic adjustment, then worse again, so I would conclude the adjustment didn't help. I changed the ergonomics of my work station, and when I had the same pain a month later I concluded ergonomics didn't matter.

But, all of a sudden, my pain just went away. I could attribute this to reading John Sarno's book (as other readers do), but I believe all the treatments were helpful but TOOK TIME. If pain eventually results from a chronic postural problem, it will take a long time to fix it.

It could be that if I knew more details of your condition, I would know all or some of the above not to be relevant for you, but if there's anything you haven't yet tried, perhaps consider it. I am fully, 100% recovered (from cubital tunnel syndrom at least) with no surgery.


#3

Are you 100% positive you need surgery? I don't mean just a second opinion...hve you exhausted every avenue? I know people that have had it, and not only did it not help, but they got worse. Have you checked into ART? I strongly recommend avoiding surgery at all cost.


#4

tmanintn, if you really hate the idea of surgery and are open minded, I'll throw out something for your consideration.

I used to do volunteer work at a school that taught Traditional Chinese Medicine (Accupuncture & Herbs). Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is very effectively (and quickly) corrected with a 3-point protocol, anywhere from 6 to 12 visits. It is proven to be above 95% effective. I would NEVER have surgery for CTS. I've seen a number of people who ended up in worse shape after surgery, not to mention the cost and the extended recovery time.

Surprisingly, CTS is also linked with a deficiency of one of the B-vitamins. It takes about 6 months of supplementation to see a positive result.

Good luck to you!!!


#5

Wow TT..do you think that would also be the case for tendonitis in the wrists?


#6

Chiropractic is also highly successful at correcting CTS.


#7

Shiggy, no, unfortunately, TCM doesn't seem to be as effective with tendonitis. It's a whole different ball game.

I have a couple of tendonitis issues I'm rehabbing. What is effective is icing (very effective at reducing pain in acute stages) and Aleve (naproxin), but Aleve should only be used as a short-term solution.

As far as actually fixing/correcting the problem long term, gentle stretching and strengthening exercises seem to be doing the trick for me. I had to get guidance from my physical therapist, though. Wasn't really able to figure it out on my own.

It's definitely worth getting a handle on.


#8

I goota go with all the above replies and say check out every avenue you have befor going under the kinfe for CTS.

Everyone I know that has undergone the procedure has had the condition return. The docs had even told them it was no permanent fix.

I also previously had CTS in the worst way. Waking almost hourly throughout the night with cold hands that were throbbing with undescribable pain. Man it sucked.

What worked for me was change in diet mainly, along with adding in more cardio, which I am sure helped with the circulation. I have been symptom free for two years.

Good luck, CTS sucks, check out all your options,

Phill


#9

Thanks TT. Disappointing news, but thanks for letting me know. It's one of the main reasons I want to try ART when I can get the whole insurance/money aspect taken care of.

Phill, that is exactly what I was trying to convery: surgery ONLY as a last option. I had surgery on my legs a few years ago for the shin splints I mentioned in my thread. Doctor had been doing it for 20 years and I even got a second opinion. It was a day surgery on a Thursday and he said I would be back in the gym on Monday. What really happened is I couldn't walk for three weeks and had to wear compression garments for six months due to internal bleeding. Now, I still have shin splints as well as pain from where they cut the muscle. I am not undergoing any type of surgery again unless someone can convice me it is the only alternative, and I won't be easy to convince.