View Full Version : Carpal Tunnel or Not?

08-13-2001, 05:51 PM
Hello all,
I just found this site and was wondering if anyone might have any suggestions for me. Here is my story: I started noticing problems with my hands in April of this year. I went to the doctor. I was waking in the middle of the night with my hands feeling "asleep". The dr. said he thought it was bilateral cts. gave me shots in both wrist. NO relief from the shots. He sent me for an MRI on my wrist. Came back normal. Then MRI on neck came back as protruding disc c5-6 on right with minimal nerve root compression and no cord compression. Sent me to neurosurgeon. He thought cts and neck problem was mild arthritis. Had EMG done. came back normal (no cts) Doctor said now i have tendonitis. I wear splints at night. gave me celebrex to take but I am allergic to that. I noticed about a week ago that my right thumb cramps when brought in toward my palm. My hands seem swelled all the time and ache alot. No intense pain just aching. I also noticed that if i hold the phone for too long or prop up on my elbows, my hand goes to sleep. I noticed a "shocking" feeling run from my elbow through my fingers when i was propped on my elbow and reached down to get a pen. My dr. says we may have to repeat the EMG in 2 months. My question: is this tendonitis or could it be CTS? Why would the doctor want to repeat the EMG for tendonitis? I am really confused at this point. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated. I work as a seamstress and have done this type of work for about 13 years now. I have read alot about CTS and my symptoms sound like it but dr says tendonitis.

P.S. I am under worker comp. Could this be why I am not getting a correct diagnosis? Please help!

thanks in advance

10-26-2001, 09:42 PM
Hard to tell! Carpal tunnel has some pretty definite symptoms.....numbness, with a possible loss of muscle control. The numbness is weird though, commonly it occurs in your thumb and first two fingers with only the inside half of the ring finger going numb. The outside of the ring finger and pinky still have feeling. It's also hard to make the numbness go away, it usually isn't pins and needles when it goes away either, it burns.
Try the exercises on this page, http://www.aaos.org/wordhtml/press/exerci.htm
if they help, at lease part of your problem may be carpal tunnel. If not, good luck finding a diagnosis.

11-06-2001, 06:12 AM
Sounds like CTS to me. I have CTS in right hand and wrist and use a splint to sleep most nights. I also have an elbow brace that I wear during the day. I am on Celebrex and seems to help with the swelling in my hand. My Neuro also had blood tests done for Thyroid, arthritis, and lyme disease. Thyroid problems have been associated with CTS. Maybe you need to get a second opinion.

Karen P
11-07-2001, 03:09 PM
It sounds like cts to me. I had surgery in May and all is almost well. I don't wake up with the pins and needles feeling. Everybody is different. I had a test were the inserted needles with a electric shock, not sure what the name of the test was, but it confirmed that I had cts. You may want to see another Dr. so that you can get another opinion.
Best of luck.

11-07-2001, 04:58 PM
Thanks for the input. I went back to the Doctor last month. He released me and I am waiting on a letter from him. He said I would continue to have problems with my hands and arms if I continue to do the same job that I am doing now. I have had 2 Emg's done already and they came back ok. He didn't test me for anything else. Still have problems but not at bad since I have been doing a different job at work. I am just waiting for his final report to see what my options are at this point. Thanks again for the inputs. Good luck to all of you.

11-09-2001, 01:48 AM
I had Bi-Lateral Carpal Tunnel Surgery June 1999. I had the same symptoms that you had. I also had the EMG which was positive. My suggestion is that you see another Doctor maybe two. My Docotr was great. I went to the O.S.U. Hospital Orthopedic clinic. The Docotrs there not only use the tests, to confirm but they use common sense. Anyone that has had carpal tunnel knows that unless you have a spinal cord injury, hands that feel asleep is the text book sign for carpal tunnel. Also know that it may not only be your Doctor that is the problem Insurance companies are known for denying almost every Diagnosis for carpal tunnel that requires surgery. Mine did at first. I have Blue cross blue shield. After I had an attorney write a letter stating that if I suffer from permannent nerve damage resulting from not having the surgery that We would be seeking compensation the Insurance company folded quick and allowed my surgery. I have had no problems since the surgery and have the feeling back in both hands. Good Luck.....

[This message has been edited by EBAKER103 (edited 11-09-2001).]

11-13-2001, 08:25 AM
You know what, I wake with both hands being numb also. I dont know what it is.

My left elbow is starting to give me trouble too.

Right smack in the joint. When I extend or contract my arm it hurts. I can't even pick up a book with out it hurting pretty bad with numbness and weakness in my hand strength.

I haven't strained it or anything.

Any ideas?


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"Change is inevitable - Growth is optional"

11-13-2001, 06:57 PM
I hope this helps. I also suffered with this. I get pains in my neck, elbows, wrists, and shoulders. I also get numbness in my hands and sometime up to my elbows. I've been to many specialist, had a cat scan, MRI. All they come up with is that I have chronic neck and arm strain. I'm on medication of Neurontin and Despraiprine. So far it hasn't helped yet, my doctor say that they don't have me on the highest doseage yet. My Doctor also said that this is caused from repetitive movement. I was a cashier in a grocery store.

01-06-2002, 08:55 AM
Hi Kayjoe I had some of the symptons you have with holding the phone and hand going to sleep and waking with hand asleep I had a test called a nerve conduction study where they use a needle and electric shock this test doesn't hurt it just feel weird like you are getting a strong shock as if you were touching a lot of plastic and then touching something metal. I saw a orthopedic surgeon, he is great I had the surgery On Oct 1 2000 and have had no numbness in my right hand since. Recovery took some time but it was just sorness in the palm. He did the surgery where he cut a small insecion in the wrist and used a small camera to cut the tissue. Now you call hardly see the scar it's just a real light red color. you can hardly tell I even had the surgery. Try seeing a orthopedic surgeon. I forgot to say the nerve test showed I did have carpal Tunnel. Surgery was the best thing I did my hand doesn't fall asleep anymore from holding the phone or when I am sleeping. Hope I helped and good luck Tad

01-07-2002, 06:43 AM
Sounds like CTS to me too. I wore splints for about 3 years before undergoing surgery. What happened to me which resulted in a permanent impairment (minor) and chronic pain (taking vioxx daily) happened very quickly. I was a programmer/analyst working on Y2K. Within 4 months, the carpal tunnel went from numbness and pain to severe numbness, discoloration and intense pain along the nerve. I was taking prescription pain medication and up 2400 mg of ibuprophen daily. My employers did not report the incident to WC, so I had to have my private insurance pay (state merit, blue cross blue shield) for surgery. So, watch your symptons closely. I was suprised at how quickly CTS can deteriorate into a serious condition. I think the back pain is caused from the carpal tunnel. Today, I have to be carefull with what I do. I don't have equal strength in both hands, so sometime I overcompensate with my left hand and then (depending on what I do)I notice stress along my upper back.

01-07-2002, 06:26 PM
Thanks all for the inputs. I went to a different doctor and had an EMG done. He says I do have carpal tunnel. My lawyer sent me to this doctor. Now I am waiting to meet with the workman comp lawyers. I have another appointment with another dr in Feb. I am now having problems with my elbow. It hurts to pick up anything. I hope I don't have more damage from waiting so long. The worker comp. dr released me in Oct. I think it is a shame what you have to go through just to get some medical attention. Maybe everything will work out soon. Again, thanks for the inputs.


01-17-2002, 02:49 PM
"Then MRI on neck came back as protruding disc c5-6 on right with minimal nerve root compression and no cord compression."

What happened to your disc herniation? I have almost the same symptoms, after 4 cts surgeries I have been diagnosed with C5-6 herniation. I go to my 1st neurosurgeon app. Feb.20. I worked for a gorcery store for 12 years punishing a body, when I am in pain nothing helps but to lay down, I have no everyday meds as of yet, waiting on my app.

01-17-2002, 04:56 PM
Hi Laurabelle,

The worker comp doctor told me it was not a pinched nerve just arthritis in my neck. He said I have tendonitis and the neck problem should be ok. He wanted to do an EMG to see if I had carpal tunnel. I have had three of those done. The first two came back ok but the last one said I have carpal tunnel. I have another dr appt in Feb. You said you have already had the surgery. Did it not help you? They have not mentioned surgery for me. Not sure if I want to have it after reading everything I have read about it. Thanks for the input. Hope you feel better soon.

chyna doll
01-24-2002, 12:37 PM
I have CTS now for 2 years. My first test came back negative. The EMG Tech told me it could show negative if CTS symptoms has just started. Plus I was also pregnant at the time of my first test. I went back 6 months later and the test came back positive.
I have tried alternative medicians to avoid surgery to no avail. I had surgery on my left hand end of Nov 2001. My hand is much worse now then before. Perhaps I left it to long before the surgery or perhaps it's something else aswell. My Dr's now has ordered a bone scan to look into matters further.
I know people that had the surgery and had great sucess
with the surgery. Don't rule it out at this point as it could be most benefical for you. Find a Dr./surgeon
that you have heard about or have faith in.

Good Luck to you!