Help Carpal Tunnel

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Pacific lefty, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. Pacific lefty

    Pacific lefty Rookie

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    Now that my fixed shoulder is truly fixed and I have been really enjoying tennis and doing the Thrower's ten religiously, I am coming up against a small carpal tunnel problem.

    About three weeks ago I noticed I was getting pins and needles in my left hand (thumb and two fingers). In fact, I was waking up at night completely numb, having to shake my hand to wake it up...I noticed it when driving, hair drying, and on and off throughout the day. My doctor (he who says "old age is a terrible thing") confirmed that it was a mild case of carpal tunnel. He gave me some "water tablets" that were supposed to clear it, but that has not worked at all!

    Does anybody have any experience with this? I am not going back to my wonderful Dr. as he mentioned the "cortisone" word and not a chance am I going down that route again.

    Can I do exercises to help? Or would exercising it make it worse? It doesn't hurt really at all, only once or twice playing tennis when I hit a sudden volley or unexpectedly fast serve, when I squeezed the racquet grip did it feel like an electric shock!
     
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  2. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    You have a specific carpal tunnel problem called median nerve palsy, the median nerve innervating three and a half fingers from the thumb side. I had this when I was 20. Exercise does not help, in fact usually is the cause of the problem. Can't imagine what the "water pill" was for unless he felt you're very edematous and this somehow was compressing your carpal tunnel. Rest is the first order of business, many people wear wrist splints sold in most pharmacies to limit the motion of the wrist for a while. Not sure why the word cortisone makes you recoil; my problem disappeared permanently after one cortisone injection directly into the wrist. Many people wind up in surgery, not always with satisfactory outcomes.
     
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  3. Pacific lefty

    Pacific lefty Rookie

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    Well Ollinger, I had the cortisone 3 times for my shoulder problem and it did not work at all so I eventually resorted to surgery.

    My Dr gave me the "water tablets" because he said sometimes that can clear the tissues if there is a water build up. I don't think that would be my case though at all as I am fit and healthy and wouldn't have any conditions that would make me prone to water retention!

    It is not that my wrist is sore, the tingling just drives me crazy and the numbness at night. I want to continue playing but I don't know if it can make the condition worse or not. I work at the computer at a correctly ergonomic work station and I am very careful about having correct posture all the time.
     
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  4. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    ^^ the sort of exaggerated flexing and extending of the wrist that occurs in tennis is often the apparent cause of carpal tunnel syndrome. Playing could perhaps make it worse, or delay improvement.
     
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  5. sabala

    sabala Semi-Pro

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    I had CTS back in 93. Yep, very annoying with the numbness at night waking you up that doesn't go away and tingling in the 3 fingers during the day.

    I saw an Ortho told me to stop playing tennis and lifting weights for some time, (can't remember how long, like maybe 1 - 3 months?). He also gave me a wrist brace to wear as well.

    Eventually got better on it's own although I would occassionally get the tingling after say, riding a bike for longer rides or drawing for many hours.

    Doctor said I was probably a few months away from needing surgery if I kept doing what I was doing...and that was gripping too tight on the racket when I played tennis.


    Also, I remember one of the tennis club members came into the shop I was working in and brought a recent article on CTS and how wearing a brace was not a good idea. Something about the muscle atrophy that occurs makes the wrist too weak?? - something like that. That was 20 years ago though and I don't know what the most current talk on dealing with CTS is. I would guess resting is the first thing to try?
     
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  6. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Hi, Pacific Lefty

    Not familiar with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

    Pinched nerves can cause numbness, pain downstream from the location of the pinch. Research pinched nerves. They also have body maps of the location of the pinch and the distal body parts affected.

    My son would get tingling in his fingers if he worked out at the gym for a few months. We were never sure but thought that some muscle buildup or posture issue, possibly in his shoulder blade posture, might have pinched a nerve and could have been related. ?

    He did some shoulder alignment exercises, possibly including Blackburn exercises, and I did not hear him complain again.

    See hand illustration in the second row, symptoms of radial nerve or medial nerve based on hand illustration? Pinched by CTS or elsewhere? -
    https://www.google.com/search?q=ner...1Eanj0gGY2ICoBg&ved=0CDAQsAQ&biw=1334&bih=722

    Pinched Radial Nerve description-
    http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/radial-nerve-dysfunction/overview.html
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
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  7. Pacific lefty

    Pacific lefty Rookie

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    Hi Chas, it is definitely the medial nerve, because the tingling only encompasses part of the ring finger, and nothing at all noticeable on small finger. It isn't sore, but the tingling is driving me crazy. It's only at night when I wake up that it is really numb and sometimes my hand feels like it is burning. I can set it off straight away by using touchscreen devices like my iPhone or iPad...

    I am going to check in with my PT and see if she can give me some exercises. I have really worked on posture and scapular strength etc with my shoulder so I am not sure where the problem originated.
     
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  8. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Map of the hand showing where these nerves affect the hand. The median nerve affects mostly the palm and complete thumb & finger tips and the radial nerve the back of the hand. Both the same fingers.

    http://www.emedicinehealth.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=145539&ref=127930
    [​IMG]

    Radial Nerve
    http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/radial-nerve-dysfunction/overview.html

    Maybe your shoulder surgeon would know of a possible link since I think that these nerves run past the shoulder. I also saw where the nerves can get pinched in the elbow. Not familiar with Carpal - does it pinch only the median nerve? Is your shoulder or elbow always in some position when you get the tingling? Have you noticeably developed any muscle in the gym or tennis that might be pressing on one of these nerves?

    Exercising too much and irritating your Carpal area?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
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  9. Pacific lefty

    Pacific lefty Rookie

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    Just looking at the diagram, it is the medial nerve for sure because the times it has caused me to wake up, or first thing in the morning my hand is really numb on the palm side and even the odd time feels like it is burning. Then I have to shake it and open and close my fingers. After having the arthroscopic shoulder decompression I didn't experience that at all. In fact I rehabbed shoulder and everything progressed fine until about beginning Feb.

    It is a good idea though to check back with shoulder surgeon maybe. I don't think I have developed any new muscles in gym that I hadn't started back last summer. The only new thing I am doing is a short 2000m row on the rowing machine...
     
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  10. Chas Tennis

    Chas Tennis Hall of Fame

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    Searched Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, it usually affects the medial nerve and your symptoms fit well.

    http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/carpal_tunnel/detail_carpal_tunnel.htm

    You might farther research whether your symptoms can also be caused by other pinched locations of the median nerve, especially since your recent surgery. In the meantime, why not stop exercising for a few weeks while you look into it?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
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  11. El Diablo

    El Diablo Hall of Fame

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    ^^ well, no, what is sometimes called the medial nerve is a branch of a different nerve in the leg. The issue here is the median nerve.
     
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  12. Pacific lefty

    Pacific lefty Rookie

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    I am going to research it for certain and check with PT next Thursday. I can't seem to find any connection in the tingling with any different shoulder positions or elbow positions. I played 3.5 sets of doubles last night and noticed nothing while playing but this morning the tingling is still there...Will have to get this sorted soon as I'm studying for 3 hour written exam in June and will need 100% non numb hand!!!
     
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  13. sabala

    sabala Semi-Pro

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    You'll probably have to stop playing tennis for awhile at least and hope the inflammation pressing against the nerve goes away. You don't want it to get as bad as I had it where you wake up in the night with the entire arm numb from shoulder to hand - and you can't "wake it up"either.

    I kept playing as I first started getting symptoms and it only got worse of course - I even ended up having to defer going to art school for a whole year because of CTS.
     
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  14. Pacific lefty

    Pacific lefty Rookie

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    Yes, a break is definitely in order. One night it was so numb I was a bit freaked out and really had to shake and open and close my hand to wake it up...
     
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