Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Sandra HatchCarpal Tunnel Syndrome
Diana needs help. "I have a question for you about quilting. I have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. I have had surgery on both hands -- one in February and the other in September 2006 -- but I am having some problems with the fine motor skills, especially when it comes to sewing, especially my quilting.
Lots of quilters get carpal tunnel syndrome and have to have surgery. I hope some of our Quilt Connections readers can help Diana with some thoughts or suggestions to help with her hand cramps.
Trudi: "To the lady with CTS -- years ago I had carpal tunnel caused by my work on an intensive data-entry project on the computer. I visited my chiropractor who treated me with ultrasound therapy three times a week for a month. I didn't have to have surgery, and the carpal tunnel went away.
I have a couple of pairs of these wrist-support gloves and they do help my hands. The gloves are available in several sizes at www.AnniesCatalog.com.
Lynn writes: "I have carpal tunnel and have had surgery. I find that if I wear the braces at night it bothers me less the following day."
Ruth shares: "For people who have pain, I suggest the 'Emotional Freedom Technique.' It is noninvasive, free, quick and effective. Read about it at www.emofree.com."
Loraine says, "In response to Diane's cramping in her hands and wrists, I have CTS and have had surgery on one wrist but not the other yet. I find I get the best results from resting the wrists by alternating activities every half hour between sewing, cutting, pressing, sorting and doing dishes.
Margaret says there is hope: "To Diana with carpal tunnel syndrome -- there is hope at the end of the rainbow. I've had both wrists operated on, but it took a full year to heal the nerves, especially those at the tops of the fingers. Be patient -- the surgery is worth it. The body heals slowly and miraculously!
Deborah: "This is for Diana regarding her carpal tunnel problems. I had surgery, and it took me about six to eight months to get my skills back for sewing, crocheting and quilting. She just has to do those exercises that they told her to do. The streching ones are the best."
Debbie has a few words of advice. "I have had carpal tunnel in both hands and both of them released as well. To get your hands back into shape, get a tennis ball or one of those rubbery exercise balls for your hand. As often as possible, squeeze that ball several times.
Kim writes: "A lady in a past Quilt Connections had carpal-tunnel surgery and was asking for suggestions. I have had carpal tunnel for several years with no surgery. I have typed for 35 years and quilted/crocheted/knitted for about 15. My hands would hurt and go to sleep on me, and some days I didn't have the strength to turn on my car ignition.
Bonnie has a suggestion. "Based on 'firsthand' experience, I recommend the services of a chiropractor who is licensed in the 'active release technique.' The theory is that the nerves and muscle are adhered to one another and the technique releases those adhesions. Search for a chiropractor in your area on the Internet. Good luck!"
Renuka recommends stretching: "One of the best things that Diane can do is to perform stretching exercises (which should have been suggested to her post surgery), and to wear the glove that she can find at craft stores (the glove does not extend beyond the second knuckle of the fingers). Lastly she should perform stretching exercises after about every hour of sewing/quilting.
Eva shares: "Tell Diana that after her carpal tunnel syndrome surgery it will take a while to get back to normal for her quilting. I have been sewing for nearly 60 years, quilting for at least half of that time, and had to have that surgery in 1981.
I found Thera-Putty online as a result of a Google search. It looks sort of like Playdough. It comes in soft, medium and firm choices. Thanks for this hint, Eva. If any of you want information about the Fringy Star rag quilts, I can't share Eva's e-mail address, but I can forward messages to her should any of you want to get involved.
Tammy has some ideas. "I am really enjoying your newsletter. I've only recently started learning to quilt. My 12-year-old daughter wants to learn, so my aunt is teaching her, and I am picking it up at the same time. I love being bombarded by all the colors when I go into a quilting shop. It's like it is food for my soul.
Sandra shares Diana's pain. "I have arthritis and fibromyalgia -- both hands are affected. I purchased the 'gloves' for quilters at a fabric store, not the heavy thing from the pharmacy store. I use them faithfully.
I searched for "hot wax machine" on Google and found many sites with information about them. In short, you put you hand in the machine, coat it with wax, remove it and put on a special glove, and let the wax hold the heat inside.
Eileen shares: "I have CTS and arthritis in my thumb joints. I wear a splint on my thumb. I recently made holiday collars for my two dogs. When hand-sewing the decorative attachments on (bells, buttons), I used a small pair of long-nose jewelry pliers with rubbery handles to push and pull the needle through. The pliers were surprisingly easy to work with and allowed me to finish the project."
Elizabeth has had surgery, too. "Diana, one of your subscribers, wrote asking if anyone knew of something one could do to help after CTS surgery. I had the surgery about 18 years ago, and I have found if I take 100mg of vitamin B6 daily I don't get a lot of problems with my hands. If I forget and go without it, my hands will ache and cramp most of the time.
Zevenster from the Netherlands would like to give a tip to Diana as well. "I have found great relief for complaints similar to Diana's by visiting a touch-for-health specialist. If the specialist has a physiotherapeutic background, he/she will be able to help you very much.
Leslie thinks her answer could help Diana with her carpal tunnel syndrome. "Using large-head pins, either the new Fons & Porter directional pins, or the daisy flat-head pins, can help with the gripping of pins. Always put the pins upright in a pincushion to make it easier to grab them instead of on a flat surface which makes it hard to pick them up.
TIPS & TECHNIQUES