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Re: They say it is not CTS, arthritis, or fibromyalgia? What now?

Re: They say it is not CTS, arthritis, or fibromyalgia? What now?

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Posted by SMS on June 28, 2000 at 14:30:33:

In Reply to: They say it is not CTS, arthritis, or fibromyalgia? What now? posted by Diane Too on June 06, 2000 at 15:13:35:

I'm sorry to hear about your suffering. I am going through something very similar, and I am a computer programmer.

My doctors have waivered on the diagnosis, too. CTS vs. Tennis elbow vs. "Miscellaneous Musculo-skeletal disorder." The Nerve Conduction Studies show I have CTS, but the doctor doesn't believe it. (By the way, I was told that the NCS misses about 60% of all problems, so you may have CTS that isn't showing up.) You may have tennis elbow or similar tendonitis that is "referring" to feel like pain in the wrists (and a pinched nerve can cause tingling all the way down, from what I understand). Thoracic Outlet Syndrome can cause pain to refer elsewhere, too, from what I understand.

My experience with the orthopoedic doctors has been pretty bad. They walk out of the room while you're talking to them. (2 from 2 different clinics!) If you ask for an emergency appointment, they'll see you...but won't even at least tap or touch your arms...just talk to you. (Could've done that over the phone!) One of the doctors doesn't believe in physical therapy. I don't know what the problem is...it's like they just don't want to work with you because you're a difficult case. I'm not surpised your experiences have been bad, too, and I feel for you.

It seems that your doctors missed an obvious test for other physical causes, from all the articles I'm reading on the Web. Get tested for diabetes. Fortunately, I tested negative, but again, I'm back to square one with lots of arm pain, just like you.

Vioxx, an anti-inflammatory drug, has helped a lot (and because I hurt a lot anyway, I only realized that it helped when the doctor stopped prescribing it and the pain got a ton worse). Other helpers: your basic ice (for swealing) or heat (for nerve problems). They say Glucosamine and vitamin B can help this sort of thing, but so far, they haven't helped me. If anyone has experience with either of these, please let me know.

I would also talk to your OBGYN about switching to a different birth control pill if you are on one. Mine thought a more-steady low dosage pill would help because I could definitely tell that the pain gets worse during PMS. I'm not sure I notice a difference from switching, though.

My next advice is to stay off of the computer, and don't hand-write instead (writing can be just as bad). Both of our livelihoods depend on computers, so I know that's hard, but it's a thought. I'm thinking about becoming a computer class trainer, so I'd be on the computer less. But I would not enjoy that as much as programming.

Get a thick pen for writing checks and stuff.

I purchased Dragon Naturally Speaking, voice-navigation software, and that helps somewhat, but it is frustrating and slow sometimes (except for programming macros in to represent long bits of info you use often...that speeds things up). No voice software works perfectly, and the problem with slowness makes me use it less and less, which makes my arms hurt more and more.

Be sure you use good posture, even when using voice software. Also, I've noticed my throat getting a lot horser and throat pain from colds lasting longer since I began using the voice software. Take good care of your voice.

Get a different physical therapist, one who is willing to help you. Some sort of electro-shock-type therapy really helped soothe my nerves when I first started going to therapy. I can't remember the name of it now. Iontophoresis helped for a little while, too. Do the stretches they recommend (try www.ergaerobics.com for some sample stretches, unless they removed them when they changed their site). Make sure your workstation is ergonomically correct.

The doctors say to stay away from salt and caffeine, which can cause the tissues in the arms to swell. Can't say that that has helped, but it's worth a try.

I sleep with carpal-tunnel wrist braces on, and I do think they seem to help. Just don't wear 'em too tight, and don't wear 'em while working. My PT says you'll let your muscles get lazy if you wear them while you work. Even if you don't have CTS, some of its treatments may help you.

Good luck, and I hope you get healed soon. I'm about ready to try quackery-type stuff now, and I've only had it about a year, so I can't imagine how you feel. :(

You'll be in my prayers, too.

--SMS


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