Diagnosis – Anybody With Similar Symptoms?

I’m desperately trying to find out what is wrong with my hands and arms. I have been under the care of orthopaedic surgeons and hand specialists for two years but can’t seem to get an inclusive diagnosis to my problems. I have also been to a physical therapist–and in December opted for surgery on my elbow with the hope (or rather guess) that my problem may be cubital tunnel syndrome. My problems persist.¬† Here are my major symptoms;

  1. BILATERAL!!
  2. Weakness
  3. Burning sensation that happens soon after any activity (such as opening a door) near the thumb joint (underside of hands) and at the elbow
  4. Numbness in neck and shoulder muscles(back side) 5) when exercising with arms overhead dramatic pulsations felt in my wrist  Almost all activities aggravate my problem at this point.

The major ones include;

  1. Lifting
  2. Finger mobility exercise (such as typing or playing a musical instrument)
  3. Holding a book

Does anyone out there share these symptoms? Could this be thoracic outlet syndrome? If so, are there specific diagnostic measures that someone can personally recommend?

Answer: Your symptoms sound very similar to those I have experienced. It took me approximately three years and referrals to several rheumatologists, physiotherapists and neurologists before a neurologist finally made the diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome. In the end he had an x-ray done of my neck which showed clearly a protrusion on one of my vertebrae which was causing a narrowing of the nerve path. There is nothing that can be done about it.

But I had an excellent course of physiotherapy designed specifically to free up my shoulder muscles and strengthen my upper body. Now I’m mostly pain free, although I avoid lifting or carrying anything and have had to give up playing clarinet. I also reduced my typing to a minimum – I use Dragon Dictate for large amounts of typing.


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