Discussions By Condition: Spinal conditions

Carpel tunnel symdrome, neck, back and rib pain

Posted In: Spinal conditions 5 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • September 10, 2010
  • 06:02 AM

Hi. Please help me, I'm in a lot of pain and have been for years. I am female in my early thirties and on a lot of meds. I was diagnosed with carpel tunnel six years ago and now my pain is so severe, I am seeing a surgeon. He had me go to a Neurologist whom rediagnosed me and he doesn't want to look at my neck, elbow, shoulder until he cuts on my hand. I am scheduled in a few weeks to do this and I hope it is beneficial. However, I think my other symptoms which are worse right now might be caused by something else. I recently suffered an injury in my elbow by starting my lawnmower, I pounded my elbow against a metal pole. It has been excruciatingly painful ever since. My PCP ordered an x-ray which didn't show anything. Then he refered me to an Orthopedic Surgeon who doesn't think that it's worth spending the money for MRI's and I agree. Let's see which pains and aches this minor surgeory can relieve me of. My entire right arm is in pain but in feels like it is coming all the way from my neck.My right shoulder is just sore usually. My elbow pain is the worst for me right now. Sometimes I can pinpoint the pain and sometimes not. At times upon waking, my right arm will feel like it is electrically being shocked and the pain shoots up my arm. I know I have carpel tunnel, that's not my question. I am soon to find out if the carpel tunnel is causing my elbow pain. Then he can find the hairline crack or fracture if there is one, or perhaps it is "tennis elbow" I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. My question involves my right side altogether. It will get better if I go to a chiropractor but only for a little while. I suffered a bad neck and back injury about 8 years ago that has never been treated other than by a chiropractor. I went to the er with visible back injuries and they did an mri on my nose! Really. Today my neck is swollen at the right side on the back of it and has been for a couple weeks now.It is painful and causes headaches at the bottom back of my head. Another symptom of the injury is that it seems like my right lowest rib or ribs are not connected like they used to be. They get inflamed from being able to move too much. For the first year I had to wear a back brace modified for my ribs. I can feel it actually "stick out" when I stand a certain way. Has anyone else ever heard of or experienced that? That is my question about my ribs.
Also recently my lower back, again on the right side goes out often and feels like it is pinching a nerve.
Sorry that was long. So that said, I am just curious about the whole tennis elbow, rotator cup, shoulder problems they will find to fix next. And why does my neck get swollen? Is it the bone or muscle or spinal fluid? How can they find out? Couldn't my neck and back be causing problems for my arm and ribs? Should I have this Doctor check out my neck next? He's gonna go for the elbow- but can't that heal itself eventually? My neck has been a problem for years. Should I keep going to the chiro and live with it?
Thank you in advance for the replies, I could really use some input.

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5 Replies:

  • You need to get your neck checked out before doing any surgery at all on the hands. Did your neurologist test the nerves in your neck/shoulders? Carpel tunnel can be caused by your neck primarily or even alone, especially with your history of neck problems first, and the surgery could make little difference at all in that case, not to mention the risk to your hands. I had carpel tunnel with neck problems for years (along with arm, elbow and shoulder problems), and ALL were relieved immediately after neck surgery 7 years ago. It was amazingly gone overnight. My physical therapist had told me years prior that carpel tunnel had been traced to C6 & C7 in the neck and that some surgeons aren't open about it because it takes away from their surgical specialty. If this doctor specializes in the hand, then get another opinion from a neurosurgeon specializing in the spine and demand a MRI of the neck. Now I have cervical stenosis from overgrowth of bone in the same fused area in my neck which has caused the carpel tunnel and arm problems to return but surgery on the hand was not recommended until I dealt with the neck which might relieve it as before without the added risk to my hands. I have been advised by two doctors not to have the carpel tunnel surgery if I could avoid it. There is a lot of success with it but when it goes wrong, it can be bad. There is something called a "double crush" (as told to me by my spinal surgeon) where the carpel tunnel is impacted by both the neck and the wrist. I've pasted in some info about it below. Hope it helps. "Double crush syndrome was first described in The Lancet in 1973. The term refers to a diagnosis of a compressed or trapped nerve in one area (e.g. the carpal tunnel in the wrist or Guyon's tunnel in the elbow), with a second entrapment in another location (e.g. the neck or shoulder) along the course of the entire nerve, with both entrapments contributing to symptoms. Some researchers suggest that the presence of an undiagnosed entrapment in another location may explain why some people still experience symptoms after carpal tunnel surgery. Some also suggest that an examination of the hand alone is not sufficient when diagnosing and treating carpal tunnel syndrome, and that the nerves along the whole length of the arm should be examined from the hand to the neck. Double crush conditions may affect either the upper extremity or the lower extremity. It is vital that the possibility of concurrent problems be evaluated prior to any surgical steps. In CTS, many times the nerves to the hand are damaged due to injuries of the wrist along with concurrent injuries ranging from the forearm to the upper neck ("Double Crush"). Like the situation with the wire, the effects of the damage occurring at the wrist are exaggerated due to the other injury site, thus producing more pronounced wrist and hand symptoms. If this additional site of injury is overlooked and not treated, it will result in the incomplete resolution of CTS. It also will be a factor in the success of surgical procedures performed on the wrist itself."
    terrij123 10 Replies
    • September 14, 2010
    • 10:24 PM
    • 0
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  • Interestly enough, I just came across this while continuing my research on cervical stenosis, which mentions the "electrical shock" you described, which is called Lermitte’s phenomenon and associated with other neck problems as well. Thought I'd post it back here. People with cervical stenosis with myelopathy may note one or more of the following spinal stenosis symptoms: Heavy feeling in the legsInability to walk at a brisk paceDeterioration in fine motor skills (such as handwriting or buttoning a shirt)Intermittent shooting pains into the arms and legs (like an electrical shock), especially when bending their head forward (known as Lermitte’s phenomenon)Arm pain (radiculopathy).
    terrij123 10 Replies
    • September 14, 2010
    • 11:25 PM
    • 0
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  • Thank you for the reply. It is very helpful. Yes, the Neurologist did some tests on my elbow and neck with the needle things and she shocked me. She said it was the worst in my right wrist. I have changed my pre-op into a consult and I am going to ask him respectfully to MRI my elbow, and maybe shoulder and neck before the cts surgery. I just want to know what is causing all of my pains before surgery because I really think I messed up my elbow. I have had cts for 6 years now and it's not causing this pain. If it is damaged and they can't fix it atleast I will know not to expect the cts surgery to fix it! Instead I will go see a spine specialist to look at my neck before I consider it. I am seeing a chiropractor for my neck and arm problems in the meantime and I am working on improving my posture. I really found your reply helpful and empowering. Thanks again. You need to get your neck checked out before doing any surgery at all on the hands. Did your neurologist test the nerves in your neck/shoulders? Carpel tunnel can be caused by your neck primarily or even alone, especially with your history of neck problems first, and the surgery could make little difference at all in that case, not to mention the risk to your hands. I had carpel tunnel with neck problems for years (along with arm, elbow and shoulder problems), and ALL were relieved immediately after neck surgery 7 years ago. It was amazingly gone overnight. My physical therapist had told me years prior that carpel tunnel had been traced to C6 & C7 in the neck and that some surgeons aren't open about it because it takes away from their surgical specialty. If this doctor specializes in the hand, then get another opinion from a neurosurgeon specializing in the spine and demand a MRI of the neck. Now I have cervical stenosis from overgrowth of bone in the same fused area in my neck which has caused the carpel tunnel and arm problems to return but surgery on the hand was not recommended until I dealt with the neck which might relieve it as before without the added risk to my hands. I have been advised by two doctors not to have the carpel tunnel surgery if I could avoid it. There is a lot of success with it but when it goes wrong, it can be bad. There is something called a "double crush" (as told to me by my spinal surgeon) where the carpel tunnel is impacted by both the neck and the wrist. I've pasted in some info about it below. Hope it helps. "Double crush syndrome was first described in The Lancet in 1973. The term refers to a diagnosis of a compressed or trapped nerve in one area (e.g. the carpal tunnel in the wrist or Guyon's tunnel in the elbow), with a second entrapment in another location (e.g. the neck or shoulder) along the course of the entire nerve, with both entrapments contributing to symptoms. Some researchers suggest that the presence of an undiagnosed entrapment in another location may explain why some people still experience symptoms after carpal tunnel surgery. Some also suggest that an examination of the hand alone is not sufficient when diagnosing and treating carpal tunnel syndrome, and that the nerves along the whole length of the arm should be examined from the hand to the neck. Double crush conditions may affect either the upper extremity or the lower extremity. It is vital that the possibility of concurrent problems be evaluated prior to any surgical steps. In CTS, many times the nerves to the hand are damaged due to injuries of the wrist along with concurrent injuries ranging from the forearm to the upper neck ("Double Crush"). Like the situation with the wire, the effects of the damage occurring at the wrist are exaggerated due to the other injury site, thus producing more pronounced wrist and hand symptoms. If this additional site of injury is overlooked and not treated, it will result in the incomplete resolution of CTS. It also will be a factor in the success of surgical procedures performed on the wrist itself."
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • September 19, 2010
    • 05:06 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • So glad it helped. I'm interested to hear what your doctors say so please post an update...I might be able to learn something from your experience.
    terrij123 10 Replies
    • September 20, 2010
    • 02:42 AM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • hello there i wonder if anyone could give me some advice i have just been told by my gp i have carpel tunnel symdrome and he suggested 2 me to go and buy some wrist straps for the night and i must say even though they are heavy the do indeed work what i want to know does this ever go away or do i have it for life kind regards louise
    louisehinkin 1 Replies
    • November 4, 2011
    • 05:56 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
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