Some of you may remember that last year I spent 6 months doing physical therapy to relieve the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome in my left wrist. I spent months with my wrist immobilized except for the time spent with the physical therapist. Eventually, the symptoms subsided and I made some changes (got ergonomic keyboards, stopped using laptops, and stopped playing my 6-string bass).
Now I’ve developed a new repetitive stress problem, this time in my right wrist. It’s called a ganglion cyst. Apparently they’re pretty common, and usually don’t cause any pain… unless they’re in the right location. Mine is a dorsal wrist ganglion, which means it’s on the top, but deep between the tendons that move my fingers. It’s in the perfect spot to hurt like a son-of-a-gun.
It doesn’t hurt if my wrist is straight, but if I bend it forward or backward (you’d be amazed how often you do this every day), it’s a sharp pain that continues to radiate even after I’ve straightened it back out again. When I type, the pain radiates down my first two fingers. That’s what sucks. I type about 10-12 hours a day.
You can only take so much Tylenol in a day, and it’s not enough.
I’m going to the doc this afternoon to talk about the options. There are really three common treatments. First is immobilization… they just give you a custom splint that you wear so that the cyst stops growing. That may work, I’m not sure. Second is aspiration, where they shove a needle in and suck out the gunk. The problem with this method is it almost always comes back, because the sack is not removed. The third option is surgical removal, where they take out the entire thing. That’s the most effective, but also has the longest recovery time (up to 6 months).
I imagine the doc will want to start with option one and move up from there.
It hurt enough the past couple days I almost cut it out myself…
I definitely think my wrists are trying to tell me something.