Does this sound like CTS?

tim_miles
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Hello all,

I have a question relating to ongoing symptoms i've had for the last 4 weeks. I'll give you a little about my background. I'm a musician and have recently done an extensive 30 date tour in the UK which involved a lot of carrying heavy equipment and guitar cases around for sometimes a few miles around London/ various citys etc. I've always suffered from radial head issues in my right arm after an injury a few years ago so began seeing a local Musculoskeletal Therapist when the symptoms flared up. I visited her about 4-5 times and felt much relief from the symptoms in my right arm.

However after one particular treatment (the last one) the following day i began to get pain between my thumb and index finger on my LEFT hand (i'm left handed) it was a dull ache and it lasted a few days, I assumed it was just over use from lots of guitar playing and finger picking techniques but then following another show a few days later my entire left arm cramped up and generally felt tight and strained, pain mainly focused in the forearm, lower bicep and top of my hand (it was almost a cold sensation). I took 3 weeks off playing again assuming it was just a muscle strain and over use. I recontacted the therapist who suggested it is likely tense muscles and gave me some tips on how to loosen them as i had no money to visit her. This pain eased after 3 weeks rest but when i began playing again last week i felt a stinging sensation in the exact same place between thumb and forefinger. Now this pain has gone but instead i have a burning pain running up the middle of my hand through the palm. More often than not the surrounding hand muscles ache aswell but the burning pain is always present regardless of whether the other muscles ache and is made worse by gripping..although i've not lost grip strength.

My question is as all of these symptoms developed after seeing the therapist who made neck/shoulder adjustments and did trigger point work, could she have caused this issue or is it merely a coincidence? as i've played guitar for 15 years and not once had an issue with my left arm.

In the event it was carpel tunnel i did some tests such as tapping the nerve in the wrist and doing the 'praying' position and it doesn't seem to respond with pain, numbness or any tingling.

I'm simply looking for advice more than anything on what you feel this could be.

I'll be visiting my doctor on monday evening.

Thank you in advance! :)

jeremydpbland
Online

That doesn't really sound like CTS from the description but I wouldn't rely on my interpretation of a website history. The questionnaire on here is moderately accurate but again not a substitute for seeing a competent clinician. How exactly does the pain relate to playing - is it immediately aggravated by holding the neck or is it something which is a problem after you have been playing? is it disturbing your sleep? This one might require neurological examination and if it is very clearly related to playing guitar then in a few instances it may help to see your playing position. JB

tim_miles
Offline

Thanks so much for the response. The pain is simply aggrevated by playing, mainly in the left hand. atleast for now and tends to be from the thumb to index finger and surrounding muscles. if i could pinpoint it i'd say it is about 2cm from the base of the index finger right in the muscle/tendon area. I'm just wondering if its a form of tendonitis or simply a tired muscle. It's not currently disturbing my sleep. although i do often get shoulder pain that does (but i've suffered from this for far longer than this arm issue - many years)

thank you again

jeremydpbland
Online

On the evidence available I would say probably not CTS, could be tendonitis, the beginnings of stenosing tenosynovitis (trigger digit) or something more exotic like a task specific dystonia. There are almost certainly other possibilities too - I'm not a hand expert, just someone with a neurological background and an interest in carpal tunnel syndrome. Good luck with getting it sorted out. JB

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