Looking for Answers
In March of this past spring I was officially diagnosed with bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. The condition started during the third trimester of my pregnancy. Most people said it would disappear after giving birth; however unfortunately for me, it did not.
The signs and symptoms subsided a bit during my maternity leave. I was home with my little infant and all and all, my hands and wrists were functioning well. After returning to work in January and then switching jobs to the preschool-based position, I began to see a significant increase in the pain and numbness that goes along with carpal tunnel syndrome. I even began having a raw, nerve wrenching pain at night that would begin in my right wrist and shoot through the middle of my hand to my fingers. When it would happen, I would immediately wake, remain practically paralyzed in that hand and spend the rest of the night trying to find a comfortable position that would hopefully help the throbbing to cease. By the beginning of March, the pain and numbness took turns and never stopped.
Although I know housework and childcare surely contribute to the persistence of my symptoms, I do believe that the paperwork demands are not really helping. The typing and writing are fairly relentless. In the meantime, I've come to learn that several of my coworkers who, although they are not SLPs, are all in special education also are afflicted with carpal tunnel. For these colleagues, it has become a chronic problem that is undoubtedly aggravated by their paperwork responsibilities.
On the website dictionary.law.com, the definition of an occupational hazard is "a danger or risk inherent in certain employments or workplaces" and then goes on to list dangerous professions such as deep-sea diving and high-voltage electrical wiring as a careers with considerable risks. (I guess speech therapy didn't make the cut! HaHa!) So, of course I know that although we may not have "occupational hazards" per se, I do wonder if certain aspects of the career can take its toll on therapists physically. Or, is it simply the triangle effect of paperwork, housework and baby work that lets me know my hands have seen more restful days.
I write this today for two reasons....One, to open up the conversation for others who may be suffering with both carpal tunnel and monthly billing, IEPs and therapy notes AND to see if anyone can offer suggestions for relief. So far I have tried cortisone shots, wrist splints and most recently acupuncture with little relief and definitely no cure.
Your thoughts and comments are welcomed....