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10/31/2010 08:38 AM

Normal EMG, can you still have CTS?

gracedemarco
gracedemarco  
Posts: 11
New Member

Hey all!

Well I just came back from a very disappointing and painful visit from the hospital. I've had carpal tunnel symptoms for over 8 years now, and have always believed something was up, and thought it was CTS. I tried every type of therapy possible, no answers.

My EMG came back absolutely normal...no compression, he said. I actually have great nerves he said! This is really upsetting to me because I don't know what's wrong with me!

Has anyone here had a normal EMG result, but still went ahead with release surgery anyways or got treatment for CTS? I'm desperate for a diagnosis for this pain, and am confused about what I actually have!

Thanks,

Grace

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11/06/2010 09:19 AM
lacasajo
lacasajo  
Posts: 473
Member

Hi Grace: That is very frustrating! I'm thinking there is a difference between EMG and nerve conduction studies, so perhaps ask your doc. I had NCS to diagnose my CTS. If it's not showing up on those tests, then I would think no point in the surgery. In fact I would be surprised if a surgeon would touch you. But you should have more testing done of some kind! If it's not CTS then you need to push the docs to find out just what the source of the problem is. Is the source somewhere further up your arm? or even in your neck? What exactly are your symptoms and when do they happen? What treatments have you tried? The more precise you can be the easier it will be to diagnose. Let us know what happens next or if we can answer more questions for you, or just be here for you to vent! Good luck! Jo

11/08/2010 12:13 PM
gracedemarco
gracedemarco  
Posts: 11
New Member

Hi lacasajo, thank you for your reply. Its great to hear some input.

Basically I have a mystery problem! My symptoms feel like carpal tunnel--numb fingers and thumb, a soreness and tightness in my wrists and forearms, and multiple trigger points from my palms to my shoulders and neck. My elbow is very sore, and my fingers go numb when I push lightly on it. I feel pain 24/7, and constant aching in my hands and fingers. I am weak--if I do the 'queens wave' (fingers together straight upwards, twisting side to side) I start to shake. I also get frequent headaches, sore neck, numbness when I raise my arms, and TMG problems in my jaw.

Treatements: I've had physical, occupational, and massage therapy, sports medicine, cortizone injections, chiropractic help, nerve drugs, and 3 CT scans. They've checked my blood for rheumatoid arthritis, which is all clear, as well as for blocked arteries or blood flow issues. All fine. And of course the EMG was all fine too.

I know this sounds crazy, but could it be a weird case of fibromialgia since I have so many trigger points? Or early onset arthritis? I don't know, I just feel like giving up sometimes.

By the way...I'm only 22yrs old!

Thanks for your advice, anyone please give me any ideas you might have.

Grace


11/08/2010 08:56 PM
lacasajo
lacasajo  
Posts: 473
Member

Well it definitely sounds like more than just CTS. CTS only affects the thumb and next 2 fingers and 1/2 of the ring finger. It doesn't affect the little finger at all. You can get pain radiating up the arm, but you have way too many symptoms for just CTS. Has anyone suggested any other diagnosis? How about thoracic outlet syndrome? Did you have a CT of your neck? It doesn't sound like osteoarthritis and you've already been checked for rheumatoid. Don't give up! Although it won't solve your problems completely, or get you a diagnosis, do you have access to a pain clinic? If not, google "life is now" - he has some good stuff online that's free. Was your physio and OT thorough? or did they just kinda give you the brush off? Hang in there! Jo

11/11/2010 02:57 PM
sunflowerspa
sunflowerspaPosts: 697
Member

Hi Grace! I can iamgine you must be so frustrated with some many problems--and no real answers----------and my goodness you are so very young! I would really try and keep looking for the right doc. that can diagnosis your condition--have you been to a neurologist? I do have fibromyalgia--and it is a very weird conditon--and so many weird symptoms-------have you been checked for that??? I wish you the best. Please keep us posted--ok?? hugs, Sunflowers

11/12/2010 04:04 PM
gracedemarco
gracedemarco  
Posts: 11
New Member

Thank you sunflowers Smile I will keep looking. I have been seeing Dr. Hurley in Chicago, who is supposed to be one of the foremost doctors in the area for neurology and pain. He's intelligent, but hard to talk to sometimes. He wants to try and give me another cortozone shot--yuck!! I don't want to but he says it will help identify if I possibly still have CTS. He is not completely ruled out thoratic outlet, but my nerves are fine and un-pinched in my shoulder CT's, so that can't be it. I have never been checked for fibromyalgia, and I will ask him about this next time I see him.

I am going to Dr. Hurley as well as a hand surgeon next week. They both want to discuss my EMG and CT results, and discuss where else the pain is coming from. I'll causally drop the fibromyalgia idea and see what they think. I'll keep this updated as I go!

-Grace


11/17/2010 06:10 PM
sunflowerspa
sunflowerspaPosts: 697
Member

Smile Hi Grace! How are you doing??? Have you seen the doc.?? It is difficult going from one doc. to another to find out what is going on--- especially when you dont feel well----- but, that is necessary.Some neurologists are really good----very patient--and then others, hmm not so nice.Silly

If you can get a referral from a family doc. or from a friend--that is a good way to find a good doc.Tongue

Just stopped in to say HI--and hope you are getting some dignosis and start feeling better---you are so you are so young!!Keep us posted--ok???? Take care. Hugs, SunflowersSmile


11/20/2010 04:31 AM
gracedemarco
gracedemarco  
Posts: 11
New Member

My prayers have been answered! I finally got a diagnosis!!!!

So I drove into Chicago yesterday for my appointment with Dr. Vender, a hand surgeon referred to me by Dr. Hurley. They were very busy that day, but the nurse had time to talk to me and get my history. Both she and her were surprised at how long I've been dealing with hand pain. He noted my neck and shoulder pain but mostly was concerned with my hands. He did a few strength tests, and we discussed my negative EMG.

Then, came the magical test! He asked me to do the simplest thing: touch the tip of your thumb to the base of your pinky on the same palm. On my left, I could bend my thumb in a full arc and touch the other side of my palm. On my right, I couldn't do it!!! I guess I've noticed causally in the past that I can't hold my flute in a certain way, or that I can't bend my thumb very easily. The interesting thing though, is I could bend it only when I bend the index finger at the same time. When he squeezed my fingers, I couldn't move my thumb over.

He came to the conclusion, after an x-ray, that my tendons are actually stuck together! They are stuck together and inflamed, therefore inflaming my carpal tunnel area as well. I asked him what my options are, and he immediately said surgery. The procedure is the only way to seperate the tendons, he explained, and although he couldn't guarantee complete release of pain, he did say it would help me restore the function of my hand (I can play flute without so much pain!!!) and maybe it would release tension in my shoulders and other hand as well.

I am scheduled for a synovectomy tenolysis on December 21st! It is a minor outpatient surgery, similar to release surgery, and although I'll have scarring and about a month's full recovery, I should be able to use my hand immediately. With therapy, then I will next focus on my back and neck problems (maybe posture wor and excersize could help) I am extremely thrilled and happy that all this time, it hasn't been my nerves: its been my tendons, something that hopefully can be fixed after all. Wish me luck, and I pray this procedure helps. I'm off to the surgery discussion boards to discuss the procedure haha Smile

You were right sunflowerspa--never give up on finding the answers!!!

Grace

Post edited by: gracedemarco, at: 11/20/2010 04:34 AM


11/21/2010 01:26 PM
lacasajo
lacasajo  
Posts: 473
Member

Hey, Grace! So glad you persisted and got some answers and can get on with treatment! I don't know much, actually I don't know anythng, about this type of surgery, but when you are told "a month" of recovery, take it with a grain of salt! If it's anything like CTS recovery, it is quite variable from person to person. It may be a month from a surgeon's perspective, but how the soft tissue around the area responds may be faster or slower. I hope it is fast for you! Just don't be alarmed if it is slower, it doesn't mean the surgery failed. I was told 6 wks for CTS, and it was 9 wks before I could go back to work, and 5 months before I had full strength. Also, regarding the scarring, if you can get into a hand therapist, or a regular physiotherapist, to get some treatment and advice on how to do your own treatments at home to reduce the scarring it will pay long term benefits, especially if you are prone to scarring. I was given very specific scar massage techniques and my scar is hardly visible. A friend who did nothing has quite a noticable scar (same surgeon). It doesn't affect how she can use her hand but mine definitely LOOKS better!

Let us know how it goes! Good luck! Jo


11/21/2010 01:56 PM
gracedemarco
gracedemarco  
Posts: 11
New Member

Thanks Jo! I will keep that in mind when I start recovering. Luckily I am getting the surgery just three days after i come home for winter break, so I'll have almost 3 weeks to rest and do nothing. For the month or so after that too, I'll be really careful and not lift or pull things, be hard on it, ect. I have lots of good friends that will help me at school and a boyfriend who I can definately ask for favors haha Smile The scar massage thing you mentioned is very interesting. I'll look into doing something like that. I don't really mind the scarring too much, but I guess it would be nice not to have a huge scar. Thanks for the suggestion!

Grace

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