Carpal Tunnel Surgery Recovery Time?

February 10th, 2011, 12:00 PM
I had carpal tunnel surgery on my right wrist in 1985. I worked as a mail man and wasn't allowed to go back to full duty for at least 4 months. Now I have carpal tunnel in my left hand and my hands hurt and tire easy. I have been considering surgery again and I don't think the recovery time will be as long. My question is Has anyone had the surgery and how long of recovery time before playing guitar fully again?

February 11th, 2011, 11:34 AM
I had carpal and cubital tunnel surgeries done at the same time in January 2010. They didn't quite fix the problems I was having (http://www.tdpri.com/forum/tab-tips-theory-technique/145857-left-arm-nerve-damage-sucks.html), but I was attempting to play while I still had the cast (from wrist to upper arm) on! I was able to give it my all after about 2 weeks...ymmv.

February 11th, 2011, 11:46 AM
Recovery times depend on the person and sometimes on how quick they want to recover.

A friend of mine is in the construction business. He employs half a dozen guys and he is out working with the crew every day. He is a real hands on boss.

He had a carpal tunnel operation on his right hand and he was back to work in 2 days. One of his crew had the same operation and he was off work for 3 months.

Know what I mean.

February 11th, 2011, 12:01 PM
I was able to play guitar in 2 or 3 weeks after my left hand was fixed.Yeah I was just as crappy sounding as ever!

February 11th, 2011, 12:50 PM
I had flexor tendon surgery in November 2009.

I was back on the guitar within 2 weeks but unable to teach/gig/perform at a professional level for some time.
I am almost 100% fixed but it has been a long old slog.
The full healing arc is around 18 months.
It is only this week that I've been able to do tone and a half bends seemlessly.

I imagine carpel tunnel surgery is around the same sort of time.

February 11th, 2011, 01:17 PM
There are different techniques used for addressing carpal tunnel. Do your research and find out if you have a local specialist that uses one of the quicker methods. Depending on where you are located, you may have to travel.

February 11th, 2011, 01:29 PM
Last August I had both hands done at the same time. It was an orthoscopic procedure, hugely successful! I was off work 2 weeks... and it took about 3 weeks before I could comfortably play the guitar again.

Highly recommended, my hands feel MUCH better..

good luck ...

February 11th, 2011, 09:05 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice. I am able to get my bends and all. My hands just tire easy and get numb. I have to have a long talk with the orthopedist but it did help my right hand tremendously.

Colt W. Knight
February 11th, 2011, 09:21 PM
This is something I am probably going to have to address before too long.

I feel your pain. Hand pain sucks. I wish you the best.

March 6th, 2011, 04:48 PM
Hey, I registered for this board just so that I could let you all know how my CTS release surgery effects my playing. Getting right hand first (tomorrow), will see how that goes, then my fretting hand two weeks from now. Most of the pain is in my right hand anyway, and if I'm not liking how things go will cancel on the left. Had conduction tests done that showed nerve damage, and physical therapy was just holding me steady, not improving anything, so I know I'm ready for it.

Plus, my surgeon is a guitar player himself and told me how it was for him after his surgery. He said in a month or two I should be back to where I was, but to start real slow, like with basic open chord shapes. "Act like a beginner again or you'll be frustrated, but you'll also advance very quickly back to where you're at and it's great therapy for building up your strength and coordination again."

I'm scared and kind of bummed to have to lose what little ability I have, but then again this pain is just unlivable and a few different docs have told me that with my nerve damage, the sooner I get the procedure the better I'll be in the long run. One explained that most people wait too long, so even after the procedure their nerves are so shot they say it didn't really work--but it could have if they did it earlier. Not sure what to believe as all sorts of info is flying around out there, but I'll see soon enough.

March 6th, 2011, 05:06 PM
Six-year packing plant veteran talking here, so take it with a grain of salt. And I never personally got carpal tunnel syndrome.

I know guys who never recovered fully. Fortunately, I got away with only small probems like arthritis and occasional trigger finger. Been away from the knives for over 20 years, though, and don't miss it a bit.

March 6th, 2011, 09:29 PM
I had a bit of carpal tunnel a bad bit. Thought I was done playing then I heard some guy on the radio talking about vitamen B. It worked for me. Been 10 15 years now.
Cost about nothing to try! I just stopped buying Hustler to pay for the vitamens.

March 6th, 2011, 10:20 PM
I just stopped buying Hustler to pay for the vitamens.-BobbyZ

Maybe this was the "root" of your problems to begin with.

March 7th, 2011, 01:46 PM
I just stopped buying Hustler to pay for the vitamens.-BobbyZ

Maybe this was the "root" of your problems to begin with.

Good point Hobbster !
I stold the Hustler bit from Larry the Cable Guy.
But the vitamen thing did work for me.
Now if I could jert phind won to improv my spellling !

March 8th, 2011, 08:06 PM
wait so you had the surgery and your ct came back? oof.

i'm dealing with carpal tunnel, and the idea of someone cutting into my arm makes me really nervous.

that being said, ther'es a lot of other stuff you can do to mitigate the problem, and i'd really encourage people to start there. i'm afraid that if i just got the surgery, the underlying causes for my carpal tunnel would still be there and it'd crop up again.

ergonomics helps. i need to replace my couch, i need to get my computer set up in a more correct fashion for comfortable usage and good posture, and i'm trying to remember not to rest my arms on hard surfaces in a manner that makes my hands tingle.

icing and heating helps a lot.

i also just started doing alexander technique, which i was just going to post about. i'm taking cheap lessons from someone who's studying to be an instructor. he's also an old time musician and plays fiddle and guitar and mandolin, and he's taking up lap/pedal steel. being able to talk to another musician about better usage of your body is incredibly useful, because instead of saying "don't play like that", you're more likely to get "why don't you try it like this instead?".

alexander technique, which i just realized i forgot to define, is a study of how you move and how you stand, which is often followed by musicians and actors and athletes.

we spent a chunk of time at my last session talking about how it's kind of unfair that johnny and dee dee ramone and james hetfield can play for decades with their guitars close to kneecap level, while we've both started wearing ours higher and higher to be able to play for longer in greater comfort.