Thursday, July 05, 2007 | 10 comment(s)
In a civil engineering sense, a median is a section of space that separates highways.
In human anatomy, though, the median nerve is the nerve that runs from your shoulder all the way to the tips of your thumb, index finger, middle finger, and (oddly enough) just the the one side
The Ulnar NerveThe other side of your ring finger and your little finger are the bailiwick of the ulnar nerve. Interestingly, the ulnar nerve is the only exposed nerve in your body. When you hit your "funny bone" (actually named for the "humerus" bone in your upper arm), you're actually hitting the exposed portion of your ulnar nerve and sending crazy pain all the way down to your pinkie.
The past few weeks I've been doing some pretty serious manual labor around my house that has involved using a jackhammer, swinging a sledgehammer, a pick, and an ax. Two weekends ago, I built
I Have to Give CreditAlthough they're not pictured in the little lightbox of photos, I have to give credit to my brother-in-law, Chris, and my father-in-law, Aloysius, for helping me dig the trench for the retaining wall. Also, my Dad and his friend, Chuck, came down from Philly and helped me build the wall. These were two men on a mission and we knocked it out in a day. I can't thank them enough for their help.
Then last weekend, I built a bunch of shelves in my attic and basement (I have a sense we're going to be in serious need of storage soon) and started to chop up a stump in my backyard that needs to come out. Again, my fingers went numb for several days afterwards.
I'm pretty sure what I've been experiencing is carpal tunnel syndrome, and my median nerve is getting compressed by stressed out and swollen ligaments and muscles following rigorous labor. I've treated it with a decent amount of aspirin
NSAIDsNon-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs are key. Tylenol simply masks the pain, whereas NSAIDs actually treat the underlying inflammation. Given the choice between aspirin and ibuprofen, I choose aspirin because there are several negative findings related to ibuprofen and kidney damage.
These episodes of my hands going numb have been pretty frightening for me. I think about how much I currently rely on my hands, and how much more I'm going to need them (I'm gonna have a lot of diapers to change soon!). Thankfully, aspirin, combined with rest, seems to work pretty well.
In my hyper-anxious internet research mode, I found out that in addition to all the other things diabetes increases our risk of developing, carpal tunnel syndrome is also on that list. In fact, there's a study that concludes that diabetics have an 85%(!) likelihood of developing carpal tunnel syndrome over their life-time.
Great, just great.
I'm starting to feel like I'm getting old.
And I'm sure having diabetes for 28 years isn't helping matters any.