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Thread: Carpal Tunnel "Syndrome"

  1. #1 Carpal Tunnel "Syndrome" 
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    Evidently, I got it in my old age, after a lifetime of very hard work, heavy lifting, extreme use of the hands, but little of that repetitive, as mentioned in most literature.

    Many "experts" claim early repair is most important, as permanent nerve damage results from letting the condition "slide".

    I don't know WTH to believe. The local Charlatans want nerve conduction studies, do not guarantee viability of results. An old friend Surgeon, back in Kansas, studied my written history of this, pics of my hands, and replied he would waive the nerve studies as unnecessary, claiming me "a classical case".

    Trouble is, my Healthcare Provider will not cover any work done outside of my County of Residence (in AZ).

    What is positively known about this condition?

    Thank you appreciatively! jocular


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  3. #2  
    has lost interest seagypsy's Avatar
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    The only thing I know about it is that my mom developed it in both wrists and she ended up having surgery. Before that her wrists had become so swollen and weak that she couldn't pick up a cup of coffee to drink it. Huge knots right on top of her wrists. But 20 years later she is fine. She never got full strength back and she can no longer bowl a 300 at the alley but other than that she has no problems now.


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  4. #3  
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    Ma'am, I appreciate your contribution. Seems everyone has either someone, or known someone, with these problems. The searches reveal horrendous pix of hands all fu''ed-up by this problem, and yet, though they say loss of the muscle at the base of the thumb deprives ability to pick up objects, etc., I have total loss of those muscles, can still lift and load bags of concrete mix into our drum, for our masonry project, and though they claim loss of power of grip, I can shake hands and make someone wince with pain.

    I still don't know WTF to do next, but really appreciate your contribution. Tell Neverfly I like him too, so he don't feel "ignored". joc
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  5. #4  
    has lost interest seagypsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post
    Ma'am, I appreciate your contribution. Seems everyone has either someone, or known someone, with these problems. The searches reveal horrendous pix of hands all fu''ed-up by this problem, and yet, though they say loss of the muscle at the base of the thumb deprives ability to pick up objects, etc., I have total loss of those muscles, can still lift and load bags of concrete mix into our drum, for our masonry project, and though they claim loss of power of grip, I can shake hands and make someone wince with pain.

    I still don't know WTF to do next, but really appreciate your contribution. Tell Neverfly I like him too, so he don't feel "ignored". joc
    I can try to talk to my mom in the next few days and see if she can tell me anything more. I was a kid when it happened to her and was a little too self absorbed to pay attention to her talk about her wrists. I do seem to remember something about inflamed nerves but never heard anything about muscle lost in the thumb.

    Without getting too nosy and asking what your actual symptoms are I wouldn't be able to even relay it to any doc I know to get their opinion of whether or not your case is classic. It seems odd to me though that you still have full range of motion when a doc says you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Are you still able to feel temp changes at your finger tips and pain if a needle were to poke your finger? If not then it may be that you have already got nerve damage but it's your pain receptors not working or something. That procedure they want to do is probably to figure out why you aren't incapable of lifting things. But then again the damage is gradual, you don't go from power lifting one day to being unable to hold a lollipop the next.
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  6. #5  
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    My mother in law is having surgery on her wrists just next week.

    If you don't get it treated early (she let it "slide" as you say) you can end up with some pretty nasty issues. She lost complete feeling in her fingertips and has no strength in her hands anymore. She said it used to get so painful that she couldn't sleep at night, even with braces on her wrists.

    The surgery can provide relief, but I don't think they can guarantee the problem won't come back if you keep using your hands the same way.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  7. #6  
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    [QUOTE=seagypsy;425867]
    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post

    Without getting too nosy.... I like nosy folks!
    and asking what your actual symptoms are I wouldn't be able to even relay it to any doc I know to get their opinion of whether or not your case is classic. It seems odd to me though that you still have full range of motion when a doc says you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Are you still able to feel temp changes at your finger tips and pain if a needle were to poke your finger? I do still have pretty much the full range of motion of the wrists and fingers. But, another issue, arthritis I think, has over the past decade or so gradually "bent" the location of my thumb joints in such a way as to make them less and less opposed to the index fingers. This makes picking things up, especially little things, difficult, and has made simple chores like buttoning my shirt or pants a slow and perplexing process. This I believe is not related to the nerve issue in any way. Fingertip sensitivity to heat, pain, cold, etc., is gravely affected, with "pins & needles" feeling prevailing upon touching objects. Everything I rub my fingertips on, no matter how smooth, feels like the surface of sandpaper.

    My "projects" of the past several months, mixing and pouring concrete for patio and sidewalks, and now building rock walls, has definitely worsened the carpal symptoms, but surprisingly, I seem to have not lost strength in the hands and fingers, lifting 80 lb. bags of concrete mix up onto the lip of the mixer. My grip is still pretty strong; I can still make a man wince during a hanshake. So, there is obviously contradictory cause and effect here. I have not had endearing results in consulting with Medicos.

    For example, never smoked, never had the slightest hint of respiratory difficulty, all at once in 2003 I began experiencing shortness of breath. My regular Dr. prescribed a bronchodilator, the usefullness of which became less and less over several months. Had an Allergist do the standard allergen regimen, negative. Chest X-Ray, negative. She proclaimed childhood asthma had returned. Yet another diagnosed heart trouble (left ventricular thickening). Then, my regular diagnosed emphysema. I struggled with this for about a year, then symptoms mysteriously subsided and disappeared; I could again do all the strenuous exercise I was accustomed to. No symptoms whatsoever until last Christmas, 8 years later, they returned! Treated briefly with Budesonide, a steroid, they are again gone. Doctors have not explained it, I cannot explain it. Theories abound. "Everyday" Doctors operate by rote, largely, I believe. Great Doctors seek answers; such help I cannot afford.


    If not then it may be that you have already got nerve damage but it's your pain receptors not working or something. That procedure they want to do is probably to figure out why you aren't incapable of lifting things. But then again the damage is gradual, you don't go from power lifting one day to being unable to hold a lollipop the next. That's exactly it! I can powerlift, but lack the sensitivity of tactile touch to judge the amount of pressure my fingertips are applying to an object: I have been thus dropping my glasses, etc.
    Any additional info you might be able to glean would be deeply appreciated! joc
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  8. #7  
    has lost interest seagypsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jocular View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by seagypsy View Post

    Without getting too nosy.... I like nosy folks!
    and asking what your actual symptoms are I wouldn't be able to even relay it to any doc I know to get their opinion of whether or not your case is classic. It seems odd to me though that you still have full range of motion when a doc says you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Are you still able to feel temp changes at your finger tips and pain if a needle were to poke your finger? I do still have pretty much the full range of motion of the wrists and fingers. But, another issue, arthritis I think, has over the past decade or so gradually "bent" the location of my thumb joints in such a way as to make them less and less opposed to the index fingers. This makes picking things up, especially little things, difficult, and has made simple chores like buttoning my shirt or pants a slow and perplexing process. This I believe is not related to the nerve issue in any way. Fingertip sensitivity to heat, pain, cold, etc., is gravely affected, with "pins & needles" feeling prevailing upon touching objects. Everything I rub my fingertips on, no matter how smooth, feels like the surface of sandpaper.

    My "projects" of the past several months, mixing and pouring concrete for patio and sidewalks, and now building rock walls, has definitely worsened the carpal symptoms, but surprisingly, I seem to have not lost strength in the hands and fingers, lifting 80 lb. bags of concrete mix up onto the lip of the mixer. My grip is still pretty strong; I can still make a man wince during a hanshake. So, there is obviously contradictory cause and effect here. I have not had endearing results in consulting with Medicos.

    For example, never smoked, never had the slightest hint of respiratory difficulty, all at once in 2003 I began experiencing shortness of breath. My regular Dr. prescribed a bronchodilator, the usefullness of which became less and less over several months. Had an Allergist do the standard allergen regimen, negative. Chest X-Ray, negative. She proclaimed childhood asthma had returned. Yet another diagnosed heart trouble (left ventricular thickening). Then, my regular diagnosed emphysema. I struggled with this for about a year, then symptoms mysteriously subsided and disappeared; I could again do all the strenuous exercise I was accustomed to. No symptoms whatsoever until last Christmas, 8 years later, they returned! Treated briefly with Budesonide, a steroid, they are again gone. Doctors have not explained it, I cannot explain it. Theories abound. "Everyday" Doctors operate by rote, largely, I believe. Great Doctors seek answers; such help I cannot afford.


    If not then it may be that you have already got nerve damage but it's your pain receptors not working or something. That procedure they want to do is probably to figure out why you aren't incapable of lifting things. But then again the damage is gradual, you don't go from power lifting one day to being unable to hold a lollipop the next. That's exactly it! I can powerlift, but lack the sensitivity of tactile touch to judge the amount of pressure my fingertips are applying to an object: I have been thus dropping my glasses, etc.
    Any additional info you might be able to glean would be deeply appreciated! joc
    Have you ever been checked for autoimmune disorders? There are some that are out there, I can't remember specific names but I was reading about rare conditions a long time ago and I remember one case that sounds kind of like yours that ended up being a rare autoimmune disorder but it had the docs baffled for over 2 decades with the patient.

    Edit: I just found something. Have you hurt your shoulder recently? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axillary_nerve_palsy
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  9. #8  
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    The Wiki link is most interesting! However, I do not believe I ever dislocated a shoulder. There is a "kicker" here though: I began experiencing shoulder pain about 10 years ago, sort of concurrently with the arthritic degeneration of my thumb joints. The shoulder pain was not severe enough to limit any activity, but in recent months it has become most severe, such that raising my arms at the shoulder is extremely painful, to the point that reaching for items in a kitchen cabinet, for example, is quite painful. I take no pain killers (unless one includes alcohol!). I am not aware of anything ever showing up that might be indicative of autoimmune origin.

    When I do finally go to yet another doctor, I'm not even sure, at this point, what my chief complaint will be! joc
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  10. #9  
    has lost interest seagypsy's Avatar
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    I love to try and solve puzzles, however having no medical training this one is beyond my hope of solving but at least you will have other things to mention to the doc, they are limited by what questions they think to ask, and the questions tend to be motivated by preliminary suspicions.

    Too bad there isn't a real Dr. House, MD for you to see about it.
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