I want you to imagine the following scenario. Jill is in bed blogging on her laptop while her sexy girlfriend, Suzy, is reading on her Ipad. As Jill is typing away at the computer, she starts to feel a slight ache in her right wrist and weakness in her fingers. She shakes it off and continues to explain why lesbians are so much better than everyone else. All of a sudden, Suzy turns over, throws Jill’s laptop to the ground, and they head off on a steamy adventure. Things are going great when suddenly, during Jill’s “two finger ballet,” she gets a sharp shooting pain in her right arm that runs from her elbow all the way down to the tip of her index finger. She stops mid act and takes a look at her hand. She sees nothing abnormal about her hand and just can’t figure out what was causing the sharp pain.
So, what caused the sharp pain? Was it because Suzy’s muffin sent an electrical shock into Jill’s hand? It is a sign from God that lesbian sex is bad and if you have it then you will receive pain? Or was it because Jill was actually making it all up in her head? The answer is none of the above. What Jill was experiencing was a common condition called carpal tunnel syndrome.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is an irritation of the median nerve that leads to numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in the hand and wrist. Currently, carpal tunnel syndrome is classified as a repetitive use injury. A repetitive use injury is one that occurs as a result of cumulative traumas, repetitive stresses, or repetitive motions. Therefore, Jill’s days of typing all morning, texting all afternoon, and double-clicking Suzy’s mouse all night could potentially lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. That being said, the recent data is still unclear on the actual role repetitive stresses play on one’s chances to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Unfortunately, what we do know for sure is that you, me, and Jill, (or women in general) are three times more likely than men to develop carpal tunnel syndrome. For that reason it is important for us women loving women know the common signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
Common signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome are:
• Numbness and/or tingling in the palm, thumb, index, and middle finger.
• Feeling of swollen fingers without any actual swelling present.
• Pain inside the wrist.
• Weakened grip – aka difficulty opening jars, turning doorknobs, or holding a glass of water.
If you have one or more of these symptoms you should consult with your orthopedic doctor to rule out any other possible causes. In the event that you are diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, don’t worry. Most carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated with conservative measures.
Conservative measures include:
• Resting the affected wrist for 2 weeks
• Avoiding activities that causes pain or discomfort
• Bracing the wrist at night to avoid further damage while sleeping
• Controlling inflammation with the use of ice and over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
• Light physical therapy to help with reduction of pain and reduce the possibility of reoccurrence. These exercises will include a series of stretches and wrist strengthening protocols.
If conservative treatment does not work then doctors may opt for a surgical approach called a carpal tunnel release. This is where the physician goes into the wrist and makes the space where your median nerve sits bigger in order to reduce the pressure placed on the nerve. Recurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome after this operation is fairly rare and the majority of patients recover completely.
About the Guest Blogger
Jennifer Kernes was born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. She is a board certified athletic trainer and strength and conditioning specialist. She graduated from North Central College in 2011 with a degree in Athletic Training. After a year of working as an athletic trainer for a physical therapy clinic, Jen decided to pursue a career in medicine. She is currently attending Dominican University in River Forest to complete her second bachelors in medical science. She is a smart, funny, and passionate girl that wants to combine her love of people with her love of sports medicine.