Do I have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome?

Question: I have consulted my GP who referred me to a specialist who recommended wrist splints. These do reduce the effect of my symptoms which relate directly to keyboard use. The specialist diagnosed Carpel Tunnel Syndrome but wanted me to go for an EMG test. I have just had this test, my left arm passed with flying colours, my right arm passed the timing test and showed only a slight failure in the amplitude test, leaving this specialist to conclude that I do not really have a problem. Over Christmas I experienced no problems but back at my desk and one day later the symptoms reoccurred with very little keyboard / writing work. Has anyone else had this experience? Have I been misdiagnosed? Could it be tendinitis? Your comments would be greatly appreciated.

Answer 1: I think you have probably been misdiagnosed since I was diagnosed as having a frozen right shoulder some 18 months ago – then suddenly I got the same problem in my left shoulder! I have been to see a specialist this morning who now informs me that I was misdiagnosed and have in fact got tendinitis and she promptly gave me a cortisone injection which she informs me will give me slightly more pain for the next 24 hours, but after this I should be relatively pain free! She also gave me a few hints on a couple of little exercises to do with posture whilst sitting at a computer – I now wait to see the results of the injection over the next week or so. I suggest you ask for a consultation or at least a second opinion since I have just wasted 18 months of having physio treatment which only aggravated the problem instead of relieving it.

Answer 2: When the symptoms have disappeared over the holiday that is positive. There often is a lot of time, energy and money hunting a diagnosis. With what you have mentioned the area that needs the greatest treatment is your workplace. A workstation assessment and an evaluation of your work procedures should identify the factors that are causing the problems and hopefully they can be addressed and lead to a positive outcome for you. Splints etc treat the symptoms and not the problem.

Answer 3: No, you probably do not have CTS, but it could be tendinitis or adverse mechanical tension.

Answer 4: Maybe my anatomy is shaky but I have not heard of tendinitis in the shoulder before. Anyway, for help in improving posture, I really recommend Alexander Technique – details in the list archives, and the RSI-UK web site has contact information for the teaching body that can point you to a local teacher of the Alexander Technique.

Answer 5: “Shoulder tendinitis” was my last diagnosis, before I gave up and stopped paying attention to what they were calling it. I got the frozen shoulder one, too, somewhere along the line. I myself don’t have a lot of faith in those diagnoses — adverse mechanical tension makes more sense to me, and is less misleading. Shoulder this and shoulder that gives the impression it is a localized difficulty in the shoulder, which I think is very misleading.

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