Wrist Tendonitis or Carpal Tunnel after Cervical Surgery?

by Mercy Hernandez
(Miami, FL)

I am a 42 year old female who was recently diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome after years of wrist/arm pain.

I did undergo an EMG, which was positive. The hand doctor recommended surgery and I'm just afraid that it might be something else similar since the nerve that runs down the arm is connected with so many other parts (neck, shoulder, etc.).

I had had shoulder pain two years ago and underwent arthroscopic surgery. I didn't have a tear. Now, recently, i am having similar pain with the shoulder in conjunction with wrist pain.

I also had C5-6 cervical spine surgery in 2002, and I understand that the discs in that area control the nerves going down the arm and into the hand.

So, i have all these factors and not sure what is causing my arm pain. Could it be an impinged nerve in my neck or shoulder?

Again, the EMG was positive, and I am having trouble opening jars, typing, writing and I do feel pain in my hand/thumb, but is it enough to warrant surgery? Just don't want to go through all that if the pain is mainly caused by something else like my shoulder/neck.

When I move my arm up and to the side and don't feel any pain. When I press on my shoulder or anywhere down my arm down up to my wrist, the pain goes away which leads me to believe it is nerve related. My shoulder is also making a crackling sound when I rotate/roll it back and seems to find relief when I do that.

I have tried icing the shoulder and that seems to help. I also ice my wrist and that seems to help, but only because i am putting pressure on the hand. I have worn a hand splint to sleep and work for the past two years. It
did help for a while, but it doesn't seem to be working any more. I have to practically put it so tight it cuts my circulation off.

Does carpal tunnel cause pain up to the shoulder as well?


Joshua Answers:

Hi Mercy.

I'm going to keep this short as you didn't leave your email address for notification and don't know if you will find this.

1. It makes sense that your Wrist splints and braces stopped 'working'. They're good for the short term, but not the long term.

2. Yes, Carpal Tunnel can cause pain and other symptoms to go UP the arm.

3. If you've had shoulder problems, -and- cervical surgery, then I'm 100% not surprised that you have numbness and pain down in your forearm/wrist/hand.

The hose of the nerve gets stepped on up at the neck and shoulder, by way-too-tight muscles and connective tissue.

Carpal Tunnel surgery CAN'T help your pain and problem if it's coming from up at the shoulder, chest, and neck.

Much of the dynamic of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tendonitis dynamic in general comes from areas other than just the spot that hurts.

4. Which isn't to say that you have true Carpal Tunnel, but I'd put my money on you needing good targeted work up at the neck and shoulder, and nutrition like Magnesium for Tendonitis.

Let me know if you find this, we can talk more.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Aug 21, 2017
Carpal tunnel symptoms after c5-c6 fusion, are my symptoms one in a million?
by: Mike of the North

My story began with a fall from a load of hardwood in Wisconsin. Upon regaining my wits a obvious problem with my neck was apparent. As I slowly worked to straighten up and regain my composure I was noticing a burning and tingling sensation in my right hand and forearm.

After popping my neck back into position the burning and tingling persisted and became my main concern as a result of this accident.

To make a long story short, I underwent surgery to fuse c5 and c6 as a result of having crushed the disc in this location.

It was determined by the attending physician that the burning and tingling was carpal tunnel syndrome and could not be associated with this injury and therefore would not be covered by the workmen's compensation claim that covered the fusion surgery.

This has become what may be my demise. Lack of sleep and numerous other complications by not being able to feel with two fingers on this hand have become my walking nightmare. I had absolutely no symptoms of carpal tunnel previous to the fall and was in the best of health.

Is nerve damage in this area not associated with impact or the over extension of the wrist? Is this the only example of this on earth in the history of medicine? Just my luck I guess if it is and now it has been nearly two years that I wonder if I will see another day.

Curious as to any input in this matter and anxious know of any similar instances.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Mike.

"It was determined by the attending physician that the burning and tingling was carpal tunnel syndrome and could not be associated with this injury"

You had an accident that crushed a cervical vertebrae, and the doctor (like, an actual doctor?) proclaimed that numbness and tingling in your hand couldn't be attributed to that???

That's.....that should be criminal.

I'm not a lawyer, but if you got a workman's comp (or malpractice) lawyer and reviewed the case/got 2nd and 3rd opinions, I bet you'd have a case. (Not that courts are fun, I usually suggest trying to stay the heck out of court at all costs).

C5-C6 nerve root feeds the forearm and hand. It's absurd and/or (should be) criminal to declare that a crushed c5-6 disk would have no relationship to symptoms in the forearm and hand (from impinged/damaged/inflammed nerve/nerve root).

Plus all the secondary tightness and inflammation in the area (neck, shoulder, etc). It's all going to clamp down and tighten up to 'guard and protect' the neck injury.

"Is nerve damage in this area not associated with impact or the over extension of the wrist?"

I'm not sure about that question. Did you overextend your wrist in the accident?

Nerve damage in the area ABSOLUTELY is associated with tingling/burning in the forearm/thumb side of the hand.

"Is this the only example of this on earth in the history of medicine? "

Unfortunately no. Doctors make terrible calls like that far to often. (I was going to say 'all the time', but I'll be charitable.)

Anyhoo, looking to the future. You have symptoms.

YOu also have a TON of tightness at all layers in the neck.

HOPEFULLY if you reverse that tightness your symptoms will lighten up.

Multiple factors must be dealt with including nutrition (which the stress/pain/tightness/inflammation have all resulted in you having less and less nutrition available, nutrition that is necessary to relax too tight muscles.

Maybe the fusion is trapping the nerve, we'll see. But as I see it your only real option is to cover the basics:

-- Make too tight muscle and connective tissue at all levels of the neck/top of shoulder less tight....back to soft and relaxed.

- Reduce the chronic inflammation down to non-inflammed levels.

- Give your body all the nutrition it needs to it can work properly.

Successfully dealing with these three factors is a must. Do the work, and let's see what happens (good news/bad news, that's your only real option...but realistically that's how it works).

I'm biased but I suggest that get and start working with the Reversing Whiplash Tendonitis program.

You absolutely do have whiplash, and a lot of it. (What's whiplash? Scar tissue, connective tissue tightness, muscle tightness, chronic inflammation process, lack of nutrition).

There's nothing we can do about the fusion that's a one way deal. So our job is to make everything else as optimal as possible (and right now, it's clamped down like a vice).

Jan 15, 2018
by: Vanessa

Can you get carpal tunnel after a c4-c7 fusion?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Vanessa.

Of course you can.

All that trauma is going to tighten things up (compression).

All that lack of range of motion is going to cause/allow connective tissue to shrinkwrap down (compression).

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