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Ask Dr. Gott 11/02

Carpal tunnel makes reader numb

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DEAR DR. GOTT: Have any of your readers experienced numbness in their hands from time to time?
    Mine occurs when I sleep at night. If I lay on either side, numbness appears in my hands. The only remedy is to sleep on my back with my arms down along my body, but this constant position interferes with my sleep and eventually becomes very uncomfortable.
    Lately, it sometimes occurs while I am in the sitting position. I have tried a medical collar for my neck, with very little help.
    My age is 75, but I am in very good health. A very tired reader of yours would appreciate some help.
    DEAR READER: You might have a common ailment called carpal tunnel syndrome, which is marked by hand pain and tingling, especially at night. In patients with the syndrome, the diagnosis is confirmed by a nerve-conduction study, which shows which nerve is affected and where. This is sort of like having your leg "fall asleep" when it is crossed for extended periods.
    Although carpal tunnel is often treated with nonsurgical means, such as splinting, acupuncture and physical therapy, an operation to relieve the tissue pressure is usually the permanent cure.
    I suggest that your primary care physician refer you to a neurologist (for the nerve study) and, perhaps, to an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand problems.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "An Informed Approach to Surgery."

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I tried Certo with grape juice for joint problems, and, like with many of your readers, it definitely helped, but I found it also greatly improved another problem I had for a number of years. Five years ago, I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, and none of the prescribed or over-the-counter medicines helped at all. Some of the prescribed medicines only made matters worse.
    Within the fourth day of using the Certo, my digestive problems resolved. A few times I ran out of Certo or just forgot to take it, and within a week the IBS symptoms returned.
    The Certo seems to work as a binding agent, so I suspect that it may worsen constipation, but I hope that some of your readers with IBS who suffer from diarrhea will find the Certo helpful. I take 1 teaspoon with grape juice each morning.
    DEAR READER: Your experience with Certo and IBS is new to me, but I am publishing your letter for other readers' benefit. If Certo is a valid treatment for conditions other than arthritis, people should know this. Thanks for writing. I eagerly await hearing of other readers' experiences. Please, readers, keep me in the loop.
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