Carpal Tunnel HELP!!

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by j-bearmama, Jun 12, 2003.

  1. j-bearmama

    j-bearmama New Member

    Help, I need info and advice...

    I have SEVERE CTS.
    My Dr. said I am a prime candidate for surgery. Right now I can not afford to take that much time off work for the recovery. ( of course with FM it will take longer to recover )

    Anyway. My dr. is suggesting the cortisone shots.
    I have read both good and bad results. and have been told by CTS patients both good and bad.
    I'm basically polling folks to see if it's WORTH it for me to do the shots.

    FIRST. how bad does the shot hurt?
    Is it worse than the EMG test they gave to dx it? (the EMG was HELL!!!!!!!!!!)

    How much relief did you get from the first shot?
    How long were you sore from shot? (hours, days, weeks? etc.)

    How often did you get shot?

    Now, what about surgery for it?
    How long was recovery time? (til the pain was GONE! form initial surgery)
    Have you had long term relief, and what level of relief? (months? years?)

    My right hand is so severe that it is extremely painful just to wipe myself after using the bath room.
    It is nearly impossible to lift a coffee cup. and I certainly can't drain a pot of mac/cheese in the collander.
    (glad I taught my 9 year old how to cook!)

    I have a horrible cut in my mouth when I slipped trying to brush with my left hand. I'm terribly uncoordinated with my left hand. I joke and say I can't even pick my nose with my left without poking myself in the eye. :) LOL

    I'm very concerned about health risks, and side effects from the cortisone shots.
    the fine print on all meds that says "in rare cases ____ side effect occured."
    I ALWAYS have bad reactions to meds.
    The ONLY meds I'm on are pamelor, Motrin, and I take one ultram about once a week or so when the pain is so intense that I am in tears and can not even think.. ( this is WAY beyond "fog" )

    I asked my dr. yesterday to just amputate at the elbow!
    my pain goes up that far. My thumb is terribly sore all the time. I can't bend it or touch it without it hurting.
    The "pad" of my palm at the base of my thumb feels permanently bruised. So if I bump it it feels like a 400 lb. woman in spiked heels stepped on my hand.

    I was saddened when I lost the use of my hand for competetive shooting that my husband I did together. ( I was REALLY GOOD too!)
    But now the fact that I am in tears just wiping myself and not being able to turn key in egnition and NORMAL daily living breaks my heart!
    The pain of my CTS is 10 tmes worse than my FM pain, and that is REALLY saying something.

    my mind keeps reminding me of the scripture "if your hand offends the, cut it off." No I would never do that, but it sure would feel better NOT having this useless thing.

    At least I was SMART enough to make sure that my dr. documented that the CTS was work related.
    I had NO hand pain until 2 years ago.
    We went from a soft touch register at work to a damned touch screen.
    you don't TOUCH it. you POKE it with about 300 pounds of pressure to make the damn thing work!

    I have started using a pencil erasor to push buttons.
    My boss yelled at me, and I told her that I either use the pencil or I don't work the register. If she had a problem with that I would get a dr.'s note.

    I WON that fight.
    I guess they relized even a broken person with a work ethic is better than a healthy lazy worthless employee.. ( we have LOTS of them too!)And I keep getting my raises, so I guess they have accepted that.
    Now if only I could get them to make the place "fit" my
    5 ft stature.

    I guess they don't realize we aren't ALL the jolly green giant.
    Oh, one other thing...
    that is a problem for me, I am trying to get a handicap parking thing. But DMV says NO because I am not using a cane.
    I MISS my cane. but I can't use it because of the CTS.
    You know, this disease REALLY sucks the spirit right out of you!

    hmmm, didn't intend to throw a pitty party for myself.
    Sorry folks. :)

  2. debbiem31

    debbiem31 New Member

    My experience with cort. shot was not pleasant. My right hand has always been the worst. The doc gave me a shot in my wrist. It hurt terribly while he was doing it. I got it done 60 miles away from home and could hardly drive myself home. For days afterwards, it hurt and throbbed. It didn't do an ounce of good for me. I'm sure you'll find others for whom it has worked.

    As far as surgery goes, everyone says different. I haven't had it (thankfully).

    I would advise going to a doc or chiro who is ART certified before trying the surgery. You can NOT get ART after surgery, so try it now. It stands for Active Release Therapy. I found a chiro 40 miles from me who is certified. He's basically worked out the worst of it. He also gave me exercises to do. ART only works if you do the excercises afterwards.

    To find the closest person to you and read more about ART, go to google search, type in active release therapy. The first hit should be it. There is a doctor locator at that website.

    My chiro also uses the ART on my shoulder. It has worked wonders for me.
  3. tinker-belle

    tinker-belle New Member

    hi. i went through the whole shibang with carpal tunnel. first they tried oral medicine with night splints- but I couldnt sleep with the splints. I had the cortizone shot ONCE- it didnt work, they said it has 50/50 chance of working. The best way I can describe the shot itself, is it feels like an epidural going into your wrist- I dont remember much pain afterwards though from the shot.
    I had to have the surgery on both hands. You are an outpatient, and they give local anaesthesia generally. The whole procedure is about an hour (plus recovery room time). You then have a bandage/splint for a week or two together with the stitches- it was painful- they gave me pain killers which i used for about 3 days to help deal with it and got some help in the house.
    It takes a full year for there to be NO pain left at the incision site--- but the surgery is 90% successful- and i figure for some extreme discomfort for a few weeks--- versus the rest of my life in pain- was worth it.
  4. sofy

    sofy New Member

    I bumped up an old post called accupuncture, by lea. Cortisone shots will help short term but long term it helps to break down the tissue even more. Lots of people have had success managing this without surgery. Usually accupuncture or trigger point therapy.Claire Davis wrote "The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook" that you can do yourself but some pt are trained in this but you have to search for a good one. An old member use to rave about a similar treatment but I couldnt find an old post so will have to use the old memory. I think it was ART therapy. Lots of people who have surgery are not that satisfied.
  5. Lynda B.

    Lynda B. New Member

    I could barely pick up my newborn it got so bad during a pregnancy and got worse after. I could take things out of the oven because my wrists would just bend and my thumbs would not work right. They blamded it on FMS for about 7 years.

    I took the cortisone meds. Didn't work. I had the shots. I was pleasantly surprised. My shots did not hurt at all and I would not hesitate to do it again.

    However, it only last a couple of months.

    I did one hand and then the other. I can't recall how long it took to get past the surgery. I will say the surgery was a little more painful than I expected but the surgeon I was referred to was not the best (he was not even board certified, I found out later). The local was very painful but they give valium ahead of time. I needed lots more valium. The second time he used a much better local because I complained that it hurt much more than it should have. I was able to deal with it due to lots of biofeedback training. In fact, the nurses got worried during both surgeries because my blood pressure and resps stayed so low. I reminded them I knew how to do biofeedback.

    I would do the surgery in a minute. I was so much better. I could not even write a letter at that point. I could not sleep due to pain in both hands and I had used the wrist bands too. I would try ice at night to help sleep but it hurt so much. In theory, once you get it done, that is it. However, I still get pain in my hands if I sew or cut something with scissors, etc, for a long time.

    For my, I would do it in a minute. I would try to figure out any way I could to get it done. But that is me. You have to decide for you. We all have different things to deal with in our lives.

    Good luck,

    Lynda B.
  6. moosefollower

    moosefollower New Member

    hi....i suffered for 15+ years with CTS of both wrists. I was an industrial cook for 10+ years and that career took a toll on me. I had no choice but to go out on short term disability( a difficult decision to make at that time). I had my left wrist done first in jan.2001 and the right in Mar.2001. The procedure was endoscopic and just required 3 stitches per wrist. The prep for day surgery took longer than the procedure( approx. 15-20 minutes). I was bandaged for about two weeks and must admit the pain was excruciating at one point. The end results far outweighed this pain i felt after surgery. My surgeon has been encouraging me to have this surgery for about 15 years and when i finally decided to do it, he kissed me...Please don't suffer anymore than you do. Figure out your work thing, home thing, finances. I have had 95% improvement of both wrists. It's great not to be in pain, no more numb hands, I can now hold my chef knive with no problems. I was out of work for three months and when i returned with all the CTS work restrictions, my boss had no choice but to accomodate me. I as a cook had to rely on co-workers to do certain tasks for me....This was the best thing i have done and i also have FMS, myofacial pain, degenerative disc disease in my back and neck, systemic lyme disease...I hope you do what is right for you my dear!!!be well....
  7. TinysMom

    TinysMom New Member

  8. rge

    rge New Member

    Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and Magnesium and Fluoride Intake

    by G.E. Smith (New Zealand Medical Journal, 98:556-557, 1985)


    Repetitive strain injury (RSI), a "new" clinical syndrome, is characterized chiefly by a severe pain in wrists, forearms, hands and fingers. Although to date, the cause and pathogenesis of RSI is obscure, it is clearly related to frequent physical stresses; it seems to involve, mainly, musculoskeletal structures.

    In 12 RSI subjects fluoride (F-) levels in bone were appreciably higher than 12 appropriate controls. Estimate of dietary intake of RSI subjects, revealed a Mg2+ deficit and an excessive F- intake. Fluorotic bone has an increased Mg2+ content possibly due to some deposition of MgF2. The amorphous phase in bone may act as a "reservoir" of ions available to regulate plasma Ca, PO4 and Mg2+ levels. Fluoride accumulates in bone with age, especially in areas of active ossification. A locally raised F- concentration in an osteocyte lacunae (during resorption) could interfere with normal functioning of the cell, or trigger the precipitation of crystalline apatite, or lead to the formation of MgF2. Any one of these reactions might interfere with the passage of Mg2+ ions from the bone "reservoir" into circulating extracellular fluid. A localized Mg2+ deficiency could disturb pyrophosphate metabolism and lead to deposition of Ca salts in sensitive areas.

    Through adjustment of dietary intake of the previously mentioned 12 RSI subjects which included more Mg2+ and less F-, eight of the subjects experienced market relief from previously painful RSI symptoms after a six week test period.


    In a letter to the editor Dr. Smith stated (New Zealand Medical Journal, 28 August, 1985, page 710):

    Chronic fluoride intoxication may play a role in the aetiology of at least some cases of so-called repetitive strain injury. Data obtained in a recent pilot study in Melbourne, where the very soft water has been fluoridated for sever years, support the hypothesis. In the study, specimens were obtained from alveolar bone after tooth extraction. The mean fluoride concentration of bone in subjects with RSI (2737 ppm F) was greater (p=0.0001) than the mean (1687 ppm F) in those who did not complain of that condition.

    While it has been known for many years that an excessive daily intake of fluoride may lead to deleterious effects on musculoskeletal structures, the question of the lower toxic fluoride content of bone has yet to be answered. Roholm suggested that normal bone contains 900 ppm fluoride (range 600-2100 ppm F).

    Early bone flurosis is not clinically obvious, and cases often involve young adults whose only complaints are vague pains in the small joints of the hands and feet, and lower back. Such cases may be misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis. As fluoride continues to accumulate in bone radiologically detectable changes may be diagnostic and these include: calcification along tendons, fascial and muscular attachments, particularly the interosseous membranes of the forearms and legs. It seems reasonable to assume that before x-ray detectable deposits build-up in these tissues, microcrystals or hydroxyapatite must be present. Tendinitis and bursitis are occasionally associated with periarticular deposits of hydroxyapatite. The condition has been called, "calcific periarthritis" and often mimicks acute arthritis.

    Schumacher et all have suggested that apatite crystals, present in joint effusions in a variety of situations, should be considered as possibly responsible for several clinical syndromes. They have also shown that apatite crystals can trigger an acute inflammatory response. Therefore, it is conceivable that some cases of RSI might result from deposition of apatite crystals in and around synovial sheaths and tendons passing through the carpal tunnel.

    The posibility that some individuals are now receiving too much fluoride merits serious attention. The US National Research Council has tenatively recommended as safe for adults an intake of 1.5-4.0 mg fluoride per day. However, people are now exposed to fluoride in a multiplicity of everyday sources, and Marier, of the Canadian National Research Council, believes that fluoride intake in fluoridated areas is now 5 mg or more fluoride per day.
  9. debbiem31

    debbiem31 New Member

    I'm so happy to hear that these guys have had success with their surgery. It's always nice to hear of positive experiences!

    I just wanted to say again, though (not trying to be pushy!!), ART "might" help. You've got nothing to lose (my insurance paid for it, ART is considered PT) and everything to gain. You don't have to take time off work, you don't have to be cut on, it's cheaper than surgery, etc. And if it doesn't work, then by all means, go to the last resort. That's what surgery is. You'll know within 4 or 5 visits, whether the ART is going to work. Don't let someone try to work on you too much more, though, if there's no response. My chiro is very honest and nice. He said if it wasn't showing improvement after that then it was probably not going to work.

    If you have surgery and it doesn't work, you can't do the ART. It doesn't work that way... So if you even consider it, do it now before they cut on you.

    Just want you to realize your options.

    BTW, I do know that some surgeries are unavoidable. My mom had to have her hip replaced, and it was the best surgery she's had. BUT, there were no other alternatives...

    Love, Debbie
  10. pearls

    pearls New Member

    I had my last session on Monday. Honestly, I thought I was getting better overall, but the progress, if any, has been really slow. This last time, I had a lot of the burning pain I had about a month ago. It has been that long since I've been trying A.R.T., and I've been going two to three times a week on average. I had to search for a practioner and the one I found hasn't been doing it for very long. I believe it is time to try something new, though. To have to travel 200 miles two to three times a week to find another person who does it, and to hurt so much at the same time is not an option for me. I'll try injections, and then I'll find a person who does lapriscoptic (spelling?) surgery.

  11. rge

    rge New Member

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can often be a result of hypothyrodism.
    Conditions that increase tissue edema such as hypothyroidism are well-known
    causes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

    In 1998 Dr. Bob Carton wrote:

    "Based on Roholm's work and other recent studies, there is every reason
    to believe that the increasing number of people with carpal-tunnel syndrome
    and arthritis-like pains are due to the mass fluoridation of drinking
    water" - EPA
    Scientists, 1998

    "Applying the NAEP code of ethics to the Environmental Protection Agency
    and the fluoride in drinking water standard".
    Carton, R.J. and Hirzy, J.W., Proceedings of the 23rd Ann. Conf. of the
    National Association of Environmental Professionals. 20-24 June, 1998. GEN
  12. debbiem31

    debbiem31 New Member

    Pearl, I am so sorry that ART has not worked for you. It doesn't work for everyone. I guess it depends on the severity and ability to do the excercises and the experience of the doc. I'm not 100% better, but I'll take 75% any day over surgery if I can help it!

    I wish you much luck with your surgery.

    Love, Debbie
  13. garyandkim

    garyandkim New Member

    did all the stuff. Shot didn't hurt me but, didn't help either. Had the surgery. It's like being a baby for 6 weeks. Can't open a jar, can't put any preasure on it, pull up your pants, all that. So have easy stuff and help. It's vital that you start moving fingures right after surgery then moving up to squeezing a stress ball. I love the pain free hand I have and will do the other one soon. Maybe in July. Make sure you get a doc with a great record, ask. One that does it a lot.

    Good luck, Kim
  14. elaine_p

    elaine_p New Member

    My dad (a retired ob-gyn) gave me an article about B-6 deficiency in regards to my numb hands/feet. But the article focused on CTS. (The patient in the article had been a "candidate" for surgery for her CTS. The B-6 took care of her problem without the need for surgery.)

    The article was from the book "Guide to Healing with Nutrition" by Jonathan Wright. (I'll try to remember to do a search on this and post what I find, but don't have time now.)

    He treats CTS with B-6. If orally doesn't work, he suggests injections. Since reading the article, I take B-6 supplements and the numbness has greatly reduced.

    I started (at my dad's suggestion) with 200mg 3xday. That didn't help, so I went to 900mg/day. That still didn't help, so I now take 1200mg/day. I still have some numbness in my hands (and, presumably my feet), but it's not very noticeable. (I think 1250mg/day is better for me.)

    I think you need to be on whatever dosage for a month before increasing to the next level.

    The article said something about "if something-or-other, reduce the dosage" because you don't need that much. It's nothing severe, so don't freak out (and by then, I'll have researched more). They also point to studies where patients have taken 2000mg/day for a year with no adverse effects. So I figure anything below that should be okay (but I am NOT a medical professional).

    Hope this info helps someone!
  15. Achy-shaky

    Achy-shaky New Member

    My CTS has been with me for about ten years now but has greatly improved since not working. During the times it was bad I tried lots of alternatives other than surgery or shots but yours sounds pretty severe and surgery just might be the best in long term. I know what it's like to need to use your nondominent hand but the more you use it the easier it will become...just take it slow. The bathroom issue was a problem for me too - what helps there is to use the moist wipes instead of toilet paper using your left will adjust. Wearing a good wrist support helps me a lot whenever it flares up but you need to keep it loose so it doesn't cause more swelling. When I first started using a cane (I have bad leg and back problems) it flared up again so I now also wear support and switch cane from left to right hand to lessen the stress.

    To answer your DMV question, not sure if states are different but all I had to do was download the form from DMV website, take it to my doctor for approval and then send it in - I got my permanent placard in a few weeks.

    Hope this helps - good luck which ever way you go.
  16. j-bearmama

    j-bearmama New Member

    so much advice. I'm impressed. Y'all really did your homework.
    I made an appt to see my reumy on tues.
    I talked with lots of folks who suffer chronic pain who get cortisone shots. They all suggested i give it a "whirl".

    They told me if I dont' have significant pain reduction within a couple days of the first shot, then it may not work for me.
    But to keep trying other options.

    The ART sounds interesting....
    can a regualr P.T. dr. do it? or is it just chiros?
    My ins. (military dependent!) does not allow for chiro, and as a navy family we can't go out of pocket.

    but on a VERY interesting note...
    My Primary Dr. ( who I refered to as Dr. Jekyl a number of times) is NO LONGER EMPLOYED!!!

    So I get a new dr. A woman this time ( YEAH!!!)
    I have been told by her office staff that she is a believer in FM (YEAH!!!) and that she likes to treat GERD aggressively ( YEAH!!!)

    I find it very interesting that dr. jekyl ONLY worked there since last Nov.
    That's a MIGHTY short stay at a practice. I also learned that he was ASKED to leave his previous practice.

    I KNEW my instincts about him were RIGHT, the second I saw him.
    He had that "look". That he was up to something, or almost wicked.
    He always creeped me out.
    Sure am glad that he did ignore much of my symptoms. Who knows what he would have done to me if he had treated them.

    He had a habit of seeing me, Me explaining my "problem" (reason for visit) but never DOING anything about it.
    He didn't offer natural suggestions, meds, anything.
    He just told me "it's all stress".

    well, he's gone now. can't wait to find out what REALLY happened.
    one of the office girls is really sweet. When I told her that he said that I would feel "completely better when I'm not so fat anymore" she about dropped dead. She is a LOT heavier than I am.
    If I ever see him again, I can surely tell him where he can stick his stethascope. LOL

    Well, here I am rambling on, off topic.
    Anyway, thanks for the info.
    I would REALLY appreciate more info on the ART thing.
    Does it hurt? I can't stand to have my hand touched.
    Sunday mornings shaking hands KILLS me.
    I wear my splint to church so folks have to grab my left.
    (my husband suggested that one... now if I could only get him to go to church with us...)

    If any of you are prayerful folks. I'd sure appreciate the prayers around 2pm Eastern time on the 17th when I go in for my shot. I am nervous!

  17. debbiem31

    debbiem31 New Member

    I won't lie to you. ART does hurt like a bitch when they are performing it. They are moving stuff around, so to say. There will be pain, but it doesn't last.

    A chiro is NOT the only MD who can perform ART. It can be any kind of doctor. The key is to find someone who is ART certified. Most are chiros for the fact that most people who get ART are sports people.

    Go to google and type in active release therapy. You should come to their site. They have a doc locator on that site. You can type in how far you are willing to travel, and it will find the docs for you.

    If you absolutely can't stand for anyone to touch you, you might not be able to handle it. I took a pain pill before I went!!

    Good luck with whatever you do, and I hope the shot gives you some relief. Just remember that the shots are very short term (if they work at all), and it's not good to get them continually. Surgery or ART is probably your only hope at this point.

    Love, Debbie
  18. j-bearmama

    j-bearmama New Member

    I think what you have is a form of tendonitis.
    it is usually caused by repetitive motion. If this is work related make SURE it is documented in drs. notes!!!

    I have a 3 friends who have it so severely.
    THey are all competitive shooters and the years of recoil have done some damage.
    One is learning to shoot left handed so he can keep competing.
    I used to competative shoot too, but the CTS has ended that!

    You can buy this little brace thingy... it just goes around your elbow and there is a tiny little ice pack that is inserted into the brace for some MINOR relief.

    Motrin may help if you don't have tummy trouble from it. or any other NSAID.
    I have found Ultram works ok for me to take the edge off the pain. ( I can only take ONE a day though. a second ultram supresses my breathing. scarey!)On a scale from 1-10 my CTs pain is usually at a 6-7 at rest, and a 8-9 while working either at work or doing house work.

    It really sucks, I know how you feel. my CTS has moved up to my elbow now, but the elbow pain is about 3-4 most of the time unless I over use or lift something I shouldn't.

    What you need to do is ask the dr. to order an EMG test.
    But be forwarned. It hurts like hell!
    but if my wimpy little self got through it, you can too.

    In the mean time alternate ice/moist heat and take some anti inflamatory meds.
    My husband insists that valium worked wonders on his back pain.
    The drs. won't re write the prescription for him (what do navy corpsman know anyway) so I bought him valadium herbal pills. he takes one as needed for breakthrough pain.
    Usually about 2x a week.
    It will make you VERY sleepy. and you should ask a pharmiscist if it is ok to take it with whatever meds you are on.
    I can't take valadium root. It does't "go" with my meds. :(

    Hope you feel better soon!

  19. fancylady69

    fancylady69 New Member

    This is for anyone. Ijust had surgery ct yesterday after many yrs of pain. I am hoping it will help I had one of the best drs. And as for the elbow I had a fall about 6 yrs ago and had to have surgery to release the tendons because they got smashed. But the surgery fixed it. The fibro is so bad I stay depredded most of the time but keep going. Have been turned down for disability 3 times and ideas on help for that? I have lawyers but a jerk for the judge. Is there a way to get the system to reliaze that fibro is so bad that you can't always work? Any info would be greatly apperciated. And to the one that needs the hand fixed I say find a way for the surgery I tried all the other treatments and this was the solution I hope. Hard to get any rest when you can't sleep. I am also a 26 yr cancer survior and have had twenty 0ne surgerys so hang in there everyone I have but dont know why yet lol. Feel free to talk to me about anything.Laura in Okla
  20. jolly

    jolly New Member

    At the moment I'm so tired and didnt' read all the replies, but some people think they have carpal when it's really not. My husband actually had it and had the surgery through the va. Before they would do it, they hooked up these electrode things and shocked the crap out of him to see if it was really carpal or nerve entrapment/trigger points. He said it hurt like hell.

    If your little (pinkie) finger is not affected, it's probably carpal. The pinkie finger doesn't run through the bone structure that gets plugged.

    If it's not carpal, your problem usually stems from a place behind your shoulder blade ( believe it or not!) I lost complete control of my right hand and cured it within two weeks by working out the trigger points from my shoulder blade all the way down my shoulder and arm. You need Clair Davies' trigger point book to know how to do this.

    Sorry to be so short, but if you're interested, post me and I'll elaborate when I'm a little fresher. Jo Ellen