does anyone get pain in the elbow?

lindap
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I've had carpal tunnel on three separate occasions over the past few years. I think the first time I had a borderline under active thyroid, the second time the GP just blamed the hot weather and on this occasion, the GP just provided me with pain killers and would not test my thyroid level (this was two weeks ago). I started this episode around December 2012.

Each time I have had an attack, I have suffered immense pain some nights. I would actually score it 20/10 when it is at its worse and I actually dread going to sleep (as it wakes me up several times). I notice that either my right or both hands have pain around the base of the hand and the pain extends to my elbow (I would compare the feeling to trapping my hand(s) in the door, at the same time, as banging my elbow on the 'funny bone' - this pain can go on for hours!! If I am lucky and do not get the pain on a night, I always wake up with severe pins and needles in my hand(s) - this is such a strange feeling as it is impossible to wash my hair in the shower, as I can only slightly feel my right hand fingers (apart from the little finger). I sometimes even have to move my fingers to get them to work!

Amazingly after about an hour of getting out of bed, the pain has subsided and I am left with a feeling in my forearm which feels like gum ache (sorry can't think of another explanation of the pain).

One tip I have discovered is to hang the effected arm over the side of the bed, sometimes this works and relieves the pins/needles.

My question to the forum is: does anyone else suffer such level of pain and do they get it in the hand and elbow at the same time?

jeremydpbland
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One of the many unanswered questions I have about CTS is why some people get so much pain while others get hardly any - even when, by any other measure, they have essentially similar CTS. The pain associated with CTS also has a 'non-anatomical' distribution - is people tend not to feel it either at the exact site where the nerve is irritated or even in the normal sensory territory of the nerve - it can be felt in the whole hand and can spread up the forearm and even to the shoulder and neck. The one thing that I think does ring alarm bells about another diagnosis being appropriate however is pain in the elbow or shoulder which occurs at separate times from the hand symptoms.

Apart from the severity of the pain your description of the symptoms is fairly typical CTS - have you ever had it tested? JB

lindap
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Thank you for your comments regarding pain. I have never had any tests, as I they have never been offered. My GP mentioned that CTS is not serious and will not consider any treatment for at least six months. I will therefore have to wait and see if he does anything. I'll spend some time reading your wonderful website to see what tests you mean.

jeremydpbland
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Depends what your GP means by 'serious' I suppose. It's not fatal but it can be quite disabling - it is a major cause of absence form work in the USA where they track these things better than we do in the UK. It is also easily treatable in most cases so even if it's just a matter of trying to solve the problem of sleep disturbance I think a policy of doing nothing for 6 months if the patient has significantly troublesome symptoms is a bit hard on the patient. JB

lindap
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totally agree with you.

lindap
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Brilliant news today, I saw another GP at the surgery today and he was so understanding that he ran out the room, only to return with anaesthetic and steroid injections and injected my worse hand during the consultation! I am so grateful for your website as it gave me the will to return and not feel a nuisance. The level of pain in my right hand has got worse and worse recently. I actually felt rather frustrated yesterday when I couldn't even squeeze the bottle of shampoo and it kept on falling out of my hands, and then spent the rest of the day with swollen hands (which is awful when you are trying to draw and not feel your hand). My GP has offered to do my left hand in the next week or two and has offered surgery if the injections do not work. The thought of getting a nights sleep in the near future is a dream.

jeremydpbland
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It will be interesting to see how well it works. Usually injection has an effect within 48 hours. There probably is not any point in injecting local anaesthetic as well as the steroid as there is very little evidence that it contributes anything to the therapeutic effect but lots of people still do it. JB

lindap
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Two weeks since the injection in my right hand and the pain at night has stopped. Unfortunately both my hands keep on swelling up during the day and I still get tingling in fingers (plus twangs when I try and unscrew a lid or drive the car).

I went back to my GP recently and he has suggested leaving it a further two weeks. If the symptoms do not subside then he is going to organise surgery. What is amazing is that there is a team who travel to GP surgeries and do the procedure on site. Have you heard of this practice?

jeremydpbland
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If they are measurably swelling during the day one might wonder if there is not another primary problem in the hand and the CTS is secondary to that. That scenario would fit quite well with a partial response of symptoms to injection.

A lot of minor surgery of CTS is now carried out in general practice. Quite a few GPs who are interested in minor surgery do it themselves and lots of big modern practices have simple operating rooms which can be used either by the GPs or visiting surgical teams for minor procedures. JB

kathyM
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Hello,

I am new to this site but my reason for going on it was to look up common symptoms of CTS which I was formally diagnosed with last week by a hand surgeon. I had an EMG done which pointed to CTS also. I am not rushing to have surgery because I dont have the typical symptoms of CTS like hand/wrist pain. I have also had neck pain and have had a cervical fusion in the past(13 years ago) I am having new neck symptoms along with all this but my biggest complaint is numbness in my hand at night that wakes me, elbow nerve painaQA most of the time, forearm(top) pain, and shoulder pain. Lots going on and Im not convinced this is CTS. Can anyone say they have the same symptoms as well? I am confused on where to go with this not to mention very frustrated because I have been around the loop with doctors, physical therapy etc. km

jeremydpbland
Online

Waking with numbness at night is very typical of CTS - provided the distribution of symptoms within the hand fits. It therefore seems quite possible that you have CTS plus something else. I think local steroid injection for the CTS is very useful in these curcumstances - it helps to distinguish which symptoms are CTS related. JB

MaryAnne
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Hi Kathy,
Good idea not to rush into surgery and great that you had an emg before hand to have a baseline in case your condition worsens. There are ways to treat this condition without surgery , one is injections, and the other which I found very helpful was to wear a brace. I used one for a month and my symptoms disappeared for a year and a half. I would recommend trying everything first before surgery, and dont be afraid to get other opinions.. I would make sure to see a neurologist in addition to the orthopedic dr.
Good Luck, and it was your good luck to find this site, its very interactive and will be VERY helpful .
MaryAnne

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