Carpal tunnel surgery is usually done to cut the transverse carpal ligament. This ligament is one of the most important parts of the hand. It holds the bones and muscles of your hand together, which means that once it is severed, then your hand loses a very important part, and regaining its previous strength will not be easy.
The rate at which a patient recovers after a carpal tunnel surgery differs from person-to-person. Most people recover within six to eight weeks. However, there are cases where patients may take a few months to recover.
After the surgery, your hand will probably feel numb and you may be in pain and feel worse than before. However, they usually go away after a few days as you get better.
How to Take Care of Yourself at Home While Recovering from a Carpal Tunnel Surgery
- While at home, keep away from tasks that cause a strain on your hand. Activities such as weightlifting and typing for long periods of time should be avoided. The reason is that these activities can cause harm to your hand as it heals.
- Keep away from places or gadgets that vibrate. If your mobile phone is on vibration mode, change it. Vibration causes a disturbance to the muscles and ligaments of your hand, which can lead to the breaking of weak tendons.
- Get a lot of rest. Ensure that you have enough sleep. Whenever you feel exhausted, do not push yourself to the limit. Listen to what your body tells you and have a rest.
- You can also put ice on your hand or wrist if it starts swelling. Place the ice for 10 to 20 minutes. This can be done at hourly intervals for up to three days. Swelling can be due to your hand hanging for a long time. If the swelling does not subside, then seek immediate medical attention.
- Exercises are very important in maintaining a healthy body. Having a regular exercise will also help your hand recover in no time. Do simple exercises such as rotating your wrist up, down, and from side to side. Do not engage in more difficult exercises such as push-ups. Doing push-ups will only cause pain to your hand.
- When it comes to taking a shower, it is vital that you ensure that your affected hand is always dry. Your doctor will tell you on when you can take a shower, which is usually 24-48 hours after surgery. However, it still depends on how fast your incision heals. Whenever you are taking a shower, keep your hand dry by covering it with a plastic sheet.
- Do not drive while your hand is still healing. Driving is an activity that requires the full use of your hands and using your hands while you are still recovering is dangerous and can result in an accident. Therefore, avoid driving until your hand is fully healed.
- Finally, ensure that you have a balanced diet and eat healthy meals. Eating healthy food leads to a healthy body, and a healthy body leads to a faster recovery.
Tips on the Use of Medicine During Recovery
- Do not take any form of medication without consulting your doctor first. Whether it is a drug you have acquired over-the-counter or a drug that you have been given due to a different medical condition, consult your doctor first to know if it safe for you to take it.
- If you were taking medicines such as blood thinners before the surgery, inform your doctor about it. He or she will advise you on when you can start using them again.
- Ensure that you adhere to the instructions of your doctor concerning any medications that he or she will give you. Stick to your doctor's prescription for pain medication, and no matter how painful your hand gets, always follow the recommended dosage.
- Finally, if there is any medication that you are taking that seems to make you feel sick or worse, talk with your doctor to see if he or she can prescribe a different one for you.
Tips on Physiotherapy Sessions
Physiotherapy is a very important part in your recovery process. Physiotherapists usually have programs that involve exercises to help you regain the motor skills of your hand. The exercises will also keep your wrist and fingers from going numb. They will help you regain strength and grip of your hand.
Plan with your doctor and therapist to come up with a schedule of when you will be attending the physiotherapy sessions. Make sure that you correctly carry out the exercises so that you get the best out of them.
How long will it take for you to recover and get back to work?
One of the most frequently asked questions is the recovery period. How long will it take for you to get back to work? The length of your recovery will depend on the kind of surgery that you had and on which hand it was performed.
If it was done on your dominant hand, then it might take some time before you get back on doing things as efficiently as before. Patients who had an open hand surgery will also take longer to heal than those who had an endoscopic carpal tunnel surgery.
Recovering from a carpal tunnel surgery is quite simple provided that you stick to the advice given by your doctor.
The Bottom Line
It is an easy process to recover from a carpal tunnel surgery. However, you should know that the recovery period is not the same for all people. You will most likely have a different recovery period compared to others who had the same surgery.
All you need to do is to ensure that you adhere to the instructions given by your doctor. Practicing the tips and advice given above will also ensure a fast healing and better recovery.
Sometimes, your condition may worsen during recovery. You may even require another surgery. When such thing happens, consult your doctor to know what can be done for you.