carpal tunnel, surgery pros and cons?? I am so confused.

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by BethM, Aug 25, 2003.

  1. BethM

    BethM New Member

    I've been under care through workers comp for bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis in my thumbs for almost 2 years. It's decision time, as I've now developed a trigger finger on each hand, and I am continually frustrated with the things I cannot do. The triggering in the middle finger of my right hand is disabling and disruptive in daily living. (Guess that's why I have a disability rating, huh? Doesn't mean I like it...) I saw the worker's comp doc a couple of weeks ago, and need to decide by when I see him Sept. 18 if I want to do the surgery on my right hand or not. The deadline is mine, as then the surgery will take place in November, on a timeframe that is least disruptive to my work schedule.

    The problem is that I hear success stories, I hear horror stories, I am told yes! have the surgery, and no! don't do it! My biggest fear is that the surgery will end up making things worse. On the other hand, it could also have a wonderful outcome. I'd love to be able to crochet, and garden, and, and, and... again.

    I don't know how to make this decision. I am tired of the pain, afraid of the progression of symptoms because of the new symptoms of triggering, and afraid of how the FMS will figure into the surgery and recovery as well. My massage therapist says she can help me, but the doc won't order the therapy, and it's expensive. I'm also not convinced massage is more than palliative, and I want a cure.

    There are many bright and insightful minds on this board. I would appreciate your thoughts and experiences about this dilemma of mine. I am confused and upset and don't know how to sort it all out anymore.

    Thank you!
    Beth.
  2. Cactuslil

    Cactuslil New Member

    As most know on here, I have made a living as a musician, even while an exec.;I played keyboard, synth., et al. Then after my son was born the symptoms of CT began. I elected to weared those heavy lace-up braces at night when it really fired up and I would sometimes even play in the soft type brace.

    I was advised to see a "bone man", Texan for Orthapedic Surgeon, and he concurred it was surgery time. I said it wasn't as far as I was concerned.

    Somewhere along the way, as more changes began to take place leading up to this Board, the symptoms left. The taking of a beta blocker for another reason had the side benefit of taking away the horrific numbing of what I had been told was CT.

    Point/Counter Point. My eldest wild child when she was 30 came down with CT, had the surgery, and is STILL a barber/stylist as I write. She said she had total relief. She is rather strange ????? and refused anything more than a bee-sting in the doc's office for the procedure; he preferred the hosp. but she has a quick there.

    Tough decision. CactusLil'
  3. GreatDaneLady

    GreatDaneLady New Member

    Beth,

    I delt with the pain of carpel tunnel in both hands and wrists for years and I'm only 27. I also have RA and FM and after years of Cortosone shots and braces and other avenues I had had enough I had one hand done Dec 2002 and the next Jan 2003 and the recovery was easy and great and they do feel much better then before. Yes you are still going to have your FM and other problems from before but things will improve. Remember every person is different so every story you hear on surgery will be different and you cannot think that you will turn out exactly like anyone else either bad or good so don't let anyones horrible experiece discourage you. There are more good experiences with the surgery then without it research shows this. The long term effects of the other forms of theraphy don't work as the fluid needs to be drained in order for the pain to go away. Be calm and make your decision for yourself and not from what anyone else tells you about their experience or horror story.
  4. BethM

    BethM New Member

    I checked into the ART therapy, and have sent an email to a chiropractor sort of near me (about a 40 mile drive each way) who is on the list from the ART home page. It will be interesting to see what he says. I've printed out 2 articles on ART, and will probably send them to the ortho doc for his consideration before my next appointment.

    This is a big decision, and I thank all of you for listening to my fears and hopes, and for your information and encouragement.

    Peace,
    Beth.
  5. darlamk

    darlamk New Member

    I don't know if you mentioned or not, have you had neurological testing done to determine if there is any damage? My internal med dr was sure I had to have the surgery but when I saw a neuro surgeon and he reviewed the testing I had done he said I did not have carpal tunnel to the degree which requires surgery. I have a lot of chronic swelling and pain in thumb area,fingers, wrist and arms to elbows. No one can explain why but many of us on this board have similar symptoms and attribute it to the FM. My neighbor had the surgery and it really helped her and she has had no problems. Just be sure your carpal tunnel is the cause of all your symptoms. Also be sure your thyroid has been checked out - there is a link of CT to hypothyroidism too.
    Best Wishes, Darla
  6. BethM

    BethM New Member

    believe me, surgery is not my first choice! I went through many months of physical therapy with a hand specialist, did my exercises faithfully for that time, have an IF (like a TENS unit) machine at home, use splints, ice, rest, etc, even submitted to one cortisone shot a couple of weeks ago. THAT won't be allowed again! It's just that after 2 years and increasing symptoms, I have had enough, and NEED to feel better, to be able to use my hands without pain. Just feeling a bit desperate, I guess.

    I have a few weeks, and will gather more data on the ART, will present it to my ortho doc, and then go from there.

    Beth.
  7. BethM

    BethM New Member

    thank you. I don't know about the extent of the neuro damage, but I will not allow an EMG to be done. Had one, it was excruciatingly painful, and will refuse another one, believe me. I've been taking Thyrolar (T3 and T4 combo) for several months, and during that time the CTS symptoms have worsened. Sorry, but thanks for the hint anyway! The ortho doc hasn't mentioned neuro damage, but I'd prefer not to get to that stage, although I suspect it's too late by now, anyway.

    Beth.
  8. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    The surgery isn't always successful. If there is ANY other less invasive treatment out there, I'd try it first.

    Love, Mikie