Tendonitis pain from Carpal Tunnel To Shoulder, Doctor Wants To Do Surgery
First I want to thank you for ALL the information in your website. I read other ones but yours is GREAT!!
This is my history: I'm a 42 years old woman, short, in good shape even though I don’t do any kind of sports, my wrist are small.
How everything started: a year and half ago my right hand started to be swollen just in the mornings (a couple of weeks), I didn't pay too much attention to that, then also some discomfort in my wrist and fingers (the middle one and the other two next to it, the thumb and the little one never bothered me, neck neither), I still didn't think it was a big deal, I just thought my right hand was just tired, because when all this symptoms started I was working harder than ever for the last 3 months in my job because it was increased A LOT, maybe too much (the job I do is constantly repetitive emotions with hands, fingers, arms, shoulders and lifting 25lb to 50lb, and about that time I was doing that job for over 3 years).
I started to get a little bit concern but I didn't do anything about it. Two months later I had to go to the doctor because my right wrist hurt me really bad (pain in palm side), swollen most of the time (you couldn't see the swollen), sensation of pin and needle sometimes in fingers tips (mainly in the middle one, sometimes even the other two), during night my hand fallen sleep, the pain built up to the forearm, elbow, bicep and shoulder, I couldn't sleep in my right side anymore, a lot of time when working I was having the sensation of burning in my palm, and pain and more pain.
My family doctor said that sounded like Carpal Tunnel, so he wanted me to wear a brace for two weeks and anti-inflammatory pills. I was changed of position at work and reduced hours (no more 45 to 50 hrs, just 30 hrs). I wore the brace as doctor told me, it helped me a little bit for one week.
I went back to the doctor, he requested an EMG/Nerve Conduction test. It was scheduled for three months later. In the meantime I continued icing my wrist, wearing my brace, resting as much as I could, taking Aleve, and not doing the same job as before but similar with less hours.
In some way all this together helped to get better, two weeks before the test was suppose to be done I was feelings 90% better, so I cancelled it. at the end of the year I was fine and very happy for that.
Two months later I was trasfered to another location doing the same job as before all my symptoms started, but in this one I had to use the knife more for chopping and cutting. In just a couple of months ALL my symptoms came back faster and even worse (the funny is in the same month as before "April", I'm really going to hate that month, LOL). I started to take care of my hand in the same way as before but didn't work at all this time, so I looked for the best orthopedic surgeon in the area, I went to see him, he requested an EMG/Nerve Conduction test, it came back NEGATIVE, I was very glad of that because I didn't really want to have Carpal Tunnel, I was expecting to hear ..... I had Wrist Tendonitis, but I didn't get that lucky, the doctor told me that sometimes the test comes negative and he still believe is carpal tunnel, he saw in my face that I wasn't too convinced it, so he referred me to another orthopedic surgeon with even better reputation than him for a second opinion.
I almost forgot to say that ONCE AGAIN I was changed position at work and hours reduced to 20hrs and that seems helped to reduce the pain from 10 to 8. This new doctor wasn't too convinced of the Carpal Tunnel diagnosis because of the negative test, and like me was thinking that it could be just hand tendonitis.
He checked my hand, shoulder and elbow because my pain was from my fingers to my shoulder. He found out that the inside part of my elbow was tender but it wasn't the main reason for all my symptoms, the main pain was in my wrist in the palm side and at that point I was even feeling it very tight, I couldn't shake hands anymore, dropping stuff all the time, I couldn't open jars, I didn't feel my hand and finger strong anymore, I felt useless. Scared!!.
He decided to inject a cortisone shot to my right carpal tunnel space as both therapeutic and diagnostic. Next day I was better 80%, three days later 90% better, shoulder feel some discomfort only when I use my arm to reach over my head over and over at work, I was feeling my hand stronger, pain in the hand and wrist disappeared totally and all the wear symptoms but.... the inside part of my elbow still I had discomfort.
I went back to see my main orthopedic doctor and I told him about it. He said the shot confirmed his diagnosis and he was glad did so great. He gave me more anti-inflammatory medicine for the discomfort of my elbow and told me if the pain and symptoms came back, then he would want to do the surgery.
I still don't want to believe is Carpal Tunnel, although I have read a lot that a lot of times the test comes negative for some people and they went through surgery anyway and solved the problem. My concern is ... if the pain come back what to do? is the cortisone shot a good diagnostic tool? I wonder if I have wrist tendonitis where the doctor would inject the cortisone shot? in the same place like for carpal tunnel? if so, how they can know for sure that is a proof of carpal tunnel?
The cortisone shot in my wrist (carpal tunnel space) was done on August of this year, today is Nov 2nd and I'm still fine about my hand and wrist but three weeks after I had the shot and I stopped wearing my wrist brace, my elbow started to get worse and worse, pain and burning sensation in the inside part of the elbow, especially when working, so I went back to the doctor, now I also have medial epicondylitis (golfer elbow), so another cortisone shot in the inside of the elbow and a strap to wear in the forearm, it's helping a lot with the elbow issue but slowly, I still have some little discomfort with my shoulder sometimes .
This makes me think did I have two problems all this time or it was just the elbow? for what I read affect the hand too, although all the pain and symptom started in my hand.
I know my job requires repetitive motions, long hours and some lifting but the negative test result makes me STILL think that maybe it's not Carpal Tunnel, it could be just Wrist Tendonitis, or the elbow issue OR the problem comes from another part of the body (I read that happen a lot too), if I said this is because in December of 2009 I was carrying a piece of a furniture (wood) under my right arm from my car to my house when I slipped and my body bent to my right side hitting my rib pretty hard against what I was carrying (my hand, elbow or body never touch the ground, only my right knee), the hospital took X-ray of my rib and doctor said it was a rib contusion, it took over a month to get well, it was very painful and with difficulty to breath but I got well. Then all this issues with my hand and arm started on April of 2010, just a couple of months later, coincidence? maybe!! but for some reason makes me think that maybe it could have something to do with my problem even the doctor doesn't think so.
I read something about Thoracic Outlet Sindrome, I really don't have any pain or discomfort in my neck, chest or back, but just makes me wonder. I would really appreciate A LOT any help about all this, I’m even thinking to go for a third opinion if ALL the symptoms come back. I’m not afraid of the surgery, but I want to be SURE that I have what the doctors say I have. ----------------------
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Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expertwww.TendonitisExpert.com