Carpal Tunnel diagnosis

Ergonomics and Posture for Classical Guitarists, Aches and Pains, Injuries, etc...
uptempo

Carpal Tunnel diagnosis

Post by uptempo » Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:00 pm

I thought i would post again because of a diagnosis I have had.

So after seeing five therapists including a chiropractor and my doctor I have had a diagnosis of CTS in both hands. This will be confirmed by further studies but it is clear from my symptoms and the progression over the last few months that CTS is well established. I am out of action for what is likely to be a long time and naturally I am pretty depressed about everything right now.

My symptoms began innocently: a tiny bit of a weak feeling in the right hand m finger which I ignored. This progressed over the coming months to a kind of tingling in most of the hand and a painful sensitive nerve type sensation. I started using my computer with my left hand and within a week I was feeling the same in this hand too. My forearm muscles are mega tight; the shoulders are tight and I have spent a small fortune seeing specialists for massage and adjustments.

I am now stretching every day and doing something about my posture in an effort to rectify the issue but as yet there is no change. I have various stretches to perform and I have cleaned up my diet - all in an effort to get better. I actually fear that surgery will be the only option but perhaps I am just being too pessimistic. Oh, I am wearing splints at night too.

My message to others is not to ignore pain in the body no matter how insignificant it seems at the time.

italian_job
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Re: Carpal Tunnel diagnosis

Post by italian_job » Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:20 pm

I think you're doing right, it might need quite a long time to clear up completely but don't let that discourage you........
and surgery is rarely a solution in this case.
Good luck mate!

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Tomzooki
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Re: Carpal Tunnel diagnosis

Post by Tomzooki » Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:09 pm

italian_job wrote:I think you're doing right, it might need quite a long time to clear up completely but don't let that discourage you........
and surgery is rarely a solution in this case.
Good luck mate!
Concerning the surgery I just partially agree. While it is a last resort solution, if your doctor think you should have one go for it. The other solutions are first physiotherapy - and of course splints at night, then anti-inflammatory drugs, then corticosteroids shots. If those do not work, the problem may progress and damage the nerves permanently. The surgery is an simple one, and its results depends much on the extent of the nerves damages. A lot of people say that they had it and it had not really improved their condition; they have waited too long...
Miodrag Zerdoner 8 string Stauffer-Legnani
Benoît Raby, Engelmann sp/Ziricote
11-strings alto guitar by Heikki Rousu, sp/indonesian RW

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Tomzooki
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Re: Carpal Tunnel diagnosis

Post by Tomzooki » Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:09 pm

Did your doctor checked your thyroid function??
Miodrag Zerdoner 8 string Stauffer-Legnani
Benoît Raby, Engelmann sp/Ziricote
11-strings alto guitar by Heikki Rousu, sp/indonesian RW

italian_job
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Re: Carpal Tunnel diagnosis

Post by italian_job » Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:22 pm

Does the pain lessen or go away when you dont play/type for few days? can you have uninterrupted sleep at night?
If yes then it' very likely that you won't need surgery.
Last edited by italian_job on Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

uptempo

Re: Carpal Tunnel diagnosis

Post by uptempo » Fri Jul 15, 2016 5:49 pm

Firstly, sorry for the double post - perhaps the mods can merge them.

I have subclinical thyroid diagnosis and have trialed thyroxine but felt ill. However, I do not present with any symptoms of thyroid trouble and I have taken advice of many professionals who have said that whilst there is a link between thyroid and CTS it is only a tentative link and that in my case I am simply not near the scale of really needing treatment. This affirmation has come from four doctors who, for the time being have put my mind at rest. I am booked in for another thyroid test soon though.

The pain does lessen if I play and I can sleep at night without waking. That said, now that I am having to wear splints at night they are stopping me from sleeping simply because they are not comfortable.

My gut feeling is that I have compressed the nerve from vast amounts of computer use over a fifteen year career as a designer. I have clearly had a habit of leaning on my carpal tunnel (both) hands for long periods and having my wrists in extention. I also realise that I sleep on my arms/hands and wrists and of course I have now taken steps to stop that.

MessyTendon
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Re: Carpal Tunnel diagnosis

Post by MessyTendon » Fri Jul 15, 2016 6:06 pm

Surgery can make it worse...nerves are delicate and often get damaged in surgery...Keep stretching and splinting. Let nature run it's course.

Any surgeon who says it's easy is full of it. Stay the course. I like an anti inflammatory called Zyflamend. It takes a few weeks to months to get working but it's non narcotic and does not cause risks of bleeding like NSAID pain meds.

goldenoldie
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Re: Carpal Tunnel diagnosis

Post by goldenoldie » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:41 pm

Zyflamend works slowly. Do consider a second opinion — your case is not simple, and it seems that time is of the essence!

uptempo

Re: Carpal Tunnel diagnosis

Post by uptempo » Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:34 pm

Thanks all

At the moment I am doing all I can - regular stretching and splinting so hopefully over time it will heal.

And yes, I'm not sure mine is a simple case so hopefully the investigations will shed some light on causes. I will look at Zyflamend.

I am not keen on surgery at all but in the end if it is the only option I will have to have it. I have read a lot about the surgery and mostly it appears to be positive. That said, it is not something I will undertake lightly.

uptempo

Re: Carpal Tunnel diagnosis

Post by uptempo » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:29 pm

I thought I would update if not for the reason to urge anyone with issues to see specialists rather than try and guess what the problems are:

I had a full assessment today with a hand specialist. In this assessment she pretty much ruled out carpal tunnel syndrome and has strongly intimated that my hand issues are coming from my upper back and neck region. She has clearly discovered a lot of stiffness in these areas and was able to demonstrate just how inflexible I had become - it was glaringly obvious!. I have to perform several exercises and she thinks I will make a good recovery. She has suggested I do the nerve conduction tests to rule out with certainty that CTS is not present but she is 90 percent certain it is not CTS.

Anyway, during the past four weeks I have been doing loads and loads of guitar related stretches and she was really surprised at just how flexible and supple my wrist and hands were. This pretty much goes to show just how important and valuable working on mobility is (if only I had applied that to my back). One issues that she did warn against though was the so called 'nerve glides' of 'nerve flossing' exercises which I had gleaned from a touch of self - diagnosis on Dr Google. I actually feel certain that over-doing these glides has really irritated my nerves and the physio said that these 'nerve glides' are really only best performed under specific and individual supervision because indeed nerves are very easy to irritate and can take ages to settle.

I am now going to start playing CG standing up because I feel that my posture is not helping when seated. It pains me to fit strap buttons on my guitar but to be honest it's not as if I am heading for a recital anytime soon and I want to play the damn thing and not just look at it.

goldenoldie
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Re: Carpal Tunnel diagnosis

Post by goldenoldie » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:44 pm

:okok: Thank you for the update. I have been thinking of you. I have a colleague who plays piano but has focal dystopia. A friend in church, a Julliard trained pianist with a touch and command capable of playing with an orchestra, had surgery for very severe wrist issues and tendonitis. It grieves me to see how the gift of music is stifled by these problems, and every bit of good news makes my day.

uptempo

Re: Carpal Tunnel diagnosis

Post by uptempo » Sat Jul 23, 2016 5:28 pm

goldenoldie wrote::okok: Thank you for the update. I have been thinking of you. I have a colleague who plays piano but has focal dystopia. A friend in church, a Julliard trained pianist with a touch and command capable of playing with an orchestra, had surgery for very severe wrist issues and tendonitis. It grieves me to see how the gift of music is stifled by these problems, and every bit of good news makes my day.
Thank you.

Yes this has been a real wake up call for me. It is clear that as our bodies age the metaphorical bubble can burst at any time and for me that time arrived.

All those years of sitting at a computer for long long hours has caught up with me and add to that about five years of sitting in the classical guitar position with clearly bad posture and it's no surprise what the outcome might be.

I am just about to attach the newly arrived snakewood strap buttons and will be attempting to play standing up. I'm a bit concerned about having strap buttons on my guitar but I did buy it to play and not just to look at.

By the way at some point I will write a post on the kind of exercises I am having to do. I don't think it will be a quick fix though.

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