So what's the deal with hand numbness??

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New Member

Date Joined Apr 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 4/5/2010 6:29 AM (GMT -7)   
I have this numbness and some burning pain in my hand mostly at night. Its in my thumb and pointer finger and goes up past my wrist. Doctor said its carpal tunnel but my sister whos a nurse says its tendinitis cuz I work with my hands all day ( Im a florist) Wearing a splint at night helps but I cant do that and work at the same time.

Can you have both? How can you tell if its one or the other? Doctor says to have a test where they stick needles in your arm, but my sister says its not right all the time and hurts like hell. And I hate needles anyway. He said I might need surgery.

Any suggestions or advice? Thank you.

White Beard
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 3673
   Posted 4/5/2010 8:06 AM (GMT -7)   

The test the Doctor is talking about is an EMG Electromyography this test is also often accompanies with Nerve Conduction studies. This is a very good test as it can indicate if the problem you are having is Carpal Tunnel or if your problem is caused by disk problems in your neck or by something else. admittedly the test is not all that pleasant, but it is not all that bad either! and it can show your doctor a wealth of information! I might add that the needles are extremely fine and not at all like the needles used to get shots with! Those are super huge in comparrison! Anyway it really might be a good test to have done, as so many things can cause the problems that you are describing, including disk problems, and a host of other things! It would be best to at least find out what is going on, as letting it go without knowing what the problem actually is, ...well what if it is something that can get worse if not treated?? And by not knowing what it is, and not having it properly treated, well that really has the potential to cause you serious problems later on down the road! Is it worth the risk? Only you can answer that one!
I wish you Well and Good Luck to You!

White Beard

Oh yes one more very important thing! Welcome to Healing Well Chronic Pain Forum! I am sad you have a reason to have found us! But with that said You couldn't have found a better place to come to, for caring and compassionate support, and people to listen to you, and lend you an ear, when you just need to vent your frustrations! I think you will find that you are not alone here, and we are like family! So again I say Welcome to You! I do hope you stay around and become an active member of our forum!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2008
Total Posts : 3193
   Posted 4/5/2010 2:28 PM (GMT -7)   

Welcome. Sorry for the stuff you are dealing with, though. White Beard already said much of what I would say.... I think getting an EMG would be a good thing.

I have carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands... By the time I had my EMG and started proper treatment, I had already caused massive damage. I had about 3 different doctors say that, even if I had the surgery, I would still have some amount of pain/numbness/etc. So, I've had to just deal w/ the pain via splints; nerve medications; cortisone injections; etc. I wish I would've treated things more aggressively in the beginning.

So, I would encourage you to try to figure out what's going on to not cause more damage. Does that make sense?? :)

Take good care...
Main Health Problems: Dysautonomia/POTS; CFS/Fibromyalgia; Severe Hypertension; Hypothyroidism; Hypoadrenalism; Mixed (Obstructive/Central) Sleep Apnea - on Auto BiPap; Depression/Anxiety; Severe Vitamin D Deficiency

Pain Issues: Cervical/Thoracic back pain; migraines; carpal tunnel syndrome; widespread joint/muscle pain, nerve pain in hands/arms/feet; Future Plans: Intrathecal Pain Pump; already completed trial (Sept, 2008); awaiting my decision for implantation

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 4/5/2010 4:17 PM (GMT -7)   
I also want to welcome you to the chronic pain forum of Healing Well. Hopefully, you can find that your problem is something that can be solved, and you won't have the numbness and burning forever.

I had carpal tunnel surgery in both hands. I had an EMG back in the early 1990's that showed severe carpal tunnel in my right hand, and moderate in my left. I was scared of surgery and fought it until I could no longer stand the pain. No medications helped, and I was up all night in pain. And I couldn't even separate two papers because my thumb and index finger were numb.

So I gave in and had the surgery and it was the best thing I ever did. I only wish my back surgery had been as successful. I had my right hand done in 1994, and my left hand in 2004 (as soon as it got bad I went right in and had the left hand done because the right hand surgery worked so well). The pain was gone immediately - the night of the surgery, although there was of course a few months of healing to get my hand back to 100% strength. But you can use your hand for light tasks often within a day or two (may have to keep it dry until the sutures are removed). When I had my left hand done, I was back typing lightly on the computer within a day.

So my advice to you would be to find either a good hand specialist (if that's not the doctor you're already seeing) and ask about option. My numbness in those fingers has never returned. I did have some later problems with tendons in other fingers, and got cortisone injections which, after a series of 3 injections (which admittedly are painful but you can get through them) the tendon problems were resolved.

I wouldn't be so afraid of treatment as long as you have a good doc who specializes in hands. They may also suggest some physical therapy.

Hope this helps some.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 4/5/2010 9:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Both conditions present with many of the same symptoms and the EMG seems to be the definitive diagnosis and Xrays can be non conclusive in determining which condition is there. It is also possible to have both.

I have had both tendinitis and carpal tunnel in the same hand/wrist. From my experience the CP is more about numbness than pain and the tendinitis is more about pain.

I have had several EMG's done and they are not really all that bad. At times they are uncomfortable but by the time you register any real pain that portion of the test is done and over and they are moving on.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

New Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 4/8/2010 2:35 PM (GMT -7)   
There's so much confusion about carpal tunnel, what it is and what to do about it. I've had CT in both hands and have done alot of reading and talked to lots of doctors. The emg test is not that bad, I had it done. But even the tech gal doing the test said its correct only 60% of the time.
The one big take-home message I got was that CT is overdiagnosed and surgery is overdone. Surgery is not as successful as its advertised, and lots of other remedies work just as well or better. Especially if you dont have advanced CT, like it sounds for you. Most doctors will tell you to exhaust the other remedies first. For me, massage takes the pain away, and the Carpal Therapist works just as good. I even bought a second used one (thanks to somebody from this site). My brother just wears splints at night and that keeps his pain and tingling from flaring up during the day. So you should look into every possibility first before thinking of surgery.
Good luck!
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