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I could really use some board magic! (long)

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
I hate to ask, but the situation is just so bad... Earlier this year, I started having intense pain that would start in the index finger of my left hand and then radiate to the rest of my fingers and up my hand and wrist. It feels like someone is trying to hammer a nail through my fingernail, and then trying to smash my hand with a hammer while sticking an entire box of pins in my fingertips. To touch anything with my left hand while this is happening adds the additional sensation of feeling like my hand is on fire.

The first diagnosis was carpal tunnel syndrome, which turned out to be incorrect. The next suspect was peripheral neuropathy - potentially nerve damage as a result of an underproducing thyroid. I went through the EMG process, and no nerve damage in my hand, arm or neck was found.

Next step was MRIs. A bone spur and a compressed C6 disc in my neck were found, potentially causing the pain by pinching a nerve in my neck that connects to my hand. I've been going through physical therapy/posture retraining, which would hopefully help alleviate the problem.

It seemed to be working for a while - but basically since early December the pain is back and with a vengeance. It is terribly debilitating. A heating pad on my hand, for unknown reasons, often helps. But the pain can last anywhere from minutes to hours, and instead of the 2 - 3 attacks a day, I've been experiencing 5 - 6 a day, and waking up at night now with attacks 5 - 6 times a night. Any time I have to go out, I bring a pack that can be heated in a microwave - and often we find ourselves pulling over at fast food restaurants and paying them to microwave my heating pad!

The Docs are basically at a loss for what to do at this point, other than potentially recommend surgery to remove the bone spur. I am completely uninterested in neck surgery, though may have no choice but to try, because living like this is almost unbearable.

I'm starting acupuncture next week, and Gary and I are going to find an instructor in some type of marial art like Tai Kwon Do - something that involves a lot of movement, but smooth, easy movement. I sooooooo hope the acupuncture can help this unbearable situation! Your good thoughts, vibes and/or prayers would be so appreciated. I really hate asking for stuff for myself, but I seem to have hit a brick wall with this, and I really want to get past it!!!!!
post #2 of 33

Something similar happened to me about 2-3 years ago. I was off work for about close to a month and a half.

They found that the gel had slipped out of my disc (C6) and was actually pushed up against on of my nerves. The pain was so bad I had to have my arm in a sling and needed a neck brace to ease the pressure a bit. At one point, I completely lost the use of my arm. I couldn't hold anything etc...

It was the most terrifying experience.

I was put on very strong pain killers, sent for physio and had to continuously see the doc.

Good news is that it did indeed go away. It took forever for the inflammation to reduce and for the gel to slip back into place. But it did.

I hear you though... I don't think I slept at all during that time. And I was basically living on my heating pad. The most bizarre pain was when I bent my neck even slightly, the pain shot all the way down into my elbow and would almost make me double over.

Please hang in there. It sounds so familiar and I know you will pull through.

The only thing I'm not sure of is the bone spur.... I don't recall that being part of my diagnosis.

post #3 of 33
I was thinking "carpal tunnel syndrome" when I started reading your post, because that sounds like what I go through periodically. I really hope the acupuncture and/or physiotherapy help. I'll keep you in my thoughts.
post #4 of 33
Thread Starter 
Wow Ghys! (And BTW - HI!!!!) I'll have to ask about that - maybe there's a different kind of physio I can do!

And I have to laugh - I wrote "earlier this year..." LOL! I think I meant earlier LAST year now!

Ghys - hope all's well!
post #5 of 33
Oh hon, sending you lots of get well hand vibes! Having had thumb tendonitis, I can only imagine how much you must hurt.

I'd recommend t'ai chi, I took a class with a friend's husband for a few years and found it very relaxing and not stressful.
post #6 of 33
I hope that you feel better soon Laurie. And more importantly, that you get better!
post #7 of 33

Sending many healing thoughts out your way!!! I'm really hoping that alternative therapies will help you to avoid future surgery.

((((( Hugs ))))))
post #8 of 33

After my last accident May of 2002- I was in horrible pain all the time. The doctors tried everything conventional to get it under control, but nothing short of being zoned out on pain pills was working. Then I went to an accupuncturist. he saw me twice a week for 3 months. The first thing he did was wean my body of impurities including all the drugs they had me on- then he went to work with the needles. After the first treatment, I went home and slept for 4 hours! He brought me out of pain quickly and to this day the type of pain I had, I no longer have to endure. I am on no medication, have had no muscle seizures or headaches and I swear by this wonderful man who knows this craft.

Find one that knows what he is doing, and I will bet you will be amazed with the results! Good luck!
post #9 of 33
You have TONS of positive board magic coming from me! I hope you get better SO soon!
post #10 of 33
Laurie.. the physio didn't really help much. When it's a slipped disc up against a pinched nerve, the best solution was to leave it alone after a while. To be honest, I found it hurt more after any treatment where they massaged, pulled or made me do whatever with my arm.

All is well now.

I just have to be very careful and not reach behind me without turning etc...

BTW: Hi back!!!!!!
post #11 of 33
I am so sorry you have to go through that every day . Bless your heart ((((((HUGS)))))) . I hope you will find something what will cure and take the pain away from you .

I will place you on my prayer list and will pray daily for you
post #12 of 33
Oh, I was hoping for the best when you hadn't mentioned it for a while. I'm so sorry that this came back, and hope that the traditional remedies work better than technology for you this time.

post #13 of 33
Laurie, You're definitly in my thoughts! I'm so sorry to hear of the pain your in. Feel better soon!! Hugs.
post #14 of 33

I hope you don't mind if I put on my psychologist's hat for a moment.

If you look at the holy hell you have been through in the past month or two, I am not even the slightest bit surprised that your hand has started to hurt like crazy. There is a HUGE link between our mental state and our physical state. The stress you have been under has likely caused severe weakness in all vulnerable places in your body -- hence the flu you developed and hence the excruciating pain.

So, doctor's orders are to reeeeeelaaaax. Find a special and relaxing place to go (mentally or physically) and stay there for a while. I have high hopes for the accupuncture, but truly believe that once the stress subsides your symptoms will subside as well. (Though it will likely take some time to un-do the damage -- inflammation & weakened immune functioning -- that the stress has caused).

My healing thoughts are zooming your way!

post #15 of 33
Laurie, I'm sending many healing thoughts your way, and I hope you feel better soon!
post #16 of 33
Sending warm healing vibes your way.

I hope you find something soon that helps to ease the pain.

I suffered RSI during my final high school exams which wasn't too much fun. Then it was finally diagnosed tendonitis.

I was given extra time to complete my exams and at one stage, I was offfered a laptop for my final exam, English Literature.

I hope you get some answers soon.
post #17 of 33
I am soo sorry You are having troubles Lori ..... Yes, I can spare some warm healing vibes for You.... I will keep you in my prayers also my friend.
post #18 of 33
I hope the acupuncture sessions work Laurie, I'm sorry you're in so much pain. Sending positive vibes your way.
post #19 of 33
Healing vibes coming your way. Hope the accupuncture works where everything else has failed.
post #20 of 33
I'm so sorry to hear of how much pain you're in, sending lots of *healing vibes* your way.
post #21 of 33
Goodness Laurie! what a year already! Bummer about your hand and am, I wish I had something in the form of a diagnosis for ya but unfortunately all I have is my sympathy and some get well soon vibes for you.
post #22 of 33
Sorry to hear you're not feeling great and I hope you feel better soon.
post #23 of 33
I had an instructor last quarter that had been a physical therapist for years. One of her patients was getting no better, so she recommended that she see a massage therapist. She was so impressed with the progress this patient with regular massages, she gave up physical therapy completely and became a massage therapist herself. She is one of the most respected in the region, and is very knowlegdeable. It is one of those things that will not hurt a condition that it will not help, and will at least be very relaxing.
post #24 of 33
Tons of good vibes coming you way Hope you feel alot better soon!
post #25 of 33
I'm sorry you are dealing with this I pray that it gets better for you.
post #26 of 33
Hi Laurie,
I'm so sorry you're going through this. I will send prayers for you to get better.

If you're looking for alternatives to surgery, please take a look at this site :Sorehand
It's mainly geared toward repetetive strain injuries, but RSI can pinch nerves anywhere from the neck down to the wrist, with symptoms occurring throughout the arms and hands. A lot of people on that mailing list are very knowledgeable about alternative therapies that may help you.

If you sign up for the mailing list you can send a question to the subscribers and also search the archives for helpful advice given to people in situations similar to yours. If you sign up, I'd recommend using a 'disposable' email like hotmail or yahoo that you can dedicate solely to the list.

My troubles are from RSI, so I can't help with the bone spur, but for me relaxation therapy and yoga have helped - if you go for yoga, make sure that you explain any limitations to the teacher so that he/she can modify your poses appropriately. I find that relaxation (meditation) can help to reduce pain quite effectively.

Massage can really help, though it's expensive...you may be able to get your Dr. to write a prescription if your insurance will cover it. I scrimped & paid out of pocket for mine, just because it helps so much.

These books may help too...they have carpal tunnel in the titles, but that's b/c it's the 'popular' (mis)diagnosis for many other hand, arm & neck trouble. This book outlines problems associated with pinched nerves, and offers home (and Dr.'s office) treatment options, and this book outlines stretches you can do at home. Sometimes muscle trigger points can cause nerve pain & problems in the arm too...this book does a great job of explaining it & guiding home treatment of trigger point related pain. My massage therapist told me about this book, and I'll be forever grateful.

I hope that the sorehand mailing list people's info or some of this other info might help you to get better, along with all of the board magic we can send.


I just reread your post, and realized I missed that you mentioned you have a compressed disc. You'll want to check w/ your doctor B4 doing any stretches - some may be contraindicated. Just a note - herniated discs can sometimes heal, depending on the severity. I certainly hope that yours will heal quickly.
post #27 of 33
Thread Starter 
Tess, thanks so much for all the info! I am definitely going to look into the resources you've provided - no matter WHAT the issue, it sure can't hurt, LOL!

Renae - I am absolutely certain you are right. I always get realllllly sick just after very stressful periods in my life. I happens without fail. I missed my 10th high school reunion because of it (after my partner in business had a breakdown and left me in charge of everything before I really had enough experience to handle it all!). The problem is reorganizing our lives to create a space for problems like this. I guess the difference now is that it has become a real priority.

Christy - I would love to take T'ai Chi! But this type of class we really want to do locally, and there's only Tai Kwon Do or Chinese Kick-boxing around here. We're going to meet with the various instructurs and go forward based on the one we like the best.

Everyone - I cannot thank you enough for your good wishes! Acupuncture has worked for me in the past - and it in and of itself is incredibly relaxing, so maybe that will help too.
post #28 of 33
A friend of mine had shingles. He went to see an acupuncturist and the pain of shingles cleared up almost immediatly!

Also, I had terrible pain in the muscles under my right shoulder. A massage therapist did massages, ultrasound therapy and nerve stimulation. The three things combined cleared up the shoulder pain.

Good luck to you! Sending some board magic your way!
post #29 of 33
Thread Starter 

I really think it's working! Well - at least the Board Magic is if the acupuncture isn't!

I had my appointment Monday. Doc said the pain in my hand might get intense during the treatment. It did (which I didn't really believe would happen - I've had acupuncture before, though not for pain).

Anyway, he identified the problem as an inflamed nerve between my C5 and C6 disc (which was cool, because that matches up with the Western Medical Docs). Why - apparently no one knows.

BUT I've only been having 2 - 3 episodes of pain a day and almost none at night since then.

The only problem is that I don't know yet if the acupuncture's working or if it's the collar Gary bought for me. He bought one of those cervical collars for my neck and I've been using it since Sunday - at it seemed to be helping too. The acupuncturist suggested I use it for a week and then see. I was supposed to have another appointment this week, which we had to cancel because of the cold. Our pipes were frozen and we could not leave home with things like that. It takes us at least two hours to get into NYC and 1+ hours for the appointment and then at least 2 hours home. It was just too long. So I essentially have to start over again on Tuesday - but I had to jump in here to thank everyone who sent good wishes, because I am doing SO MUCH better than I was!!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #30 of 33
Glad to hear you're better.

BTW, how do you find a good acupuncturist? I've been thinking about trying it, but want to find someone who really knows what he/she is doing.

still sending healing
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