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Old 08-19-2005, 11:12 AM   #1
Mikael Všlitalo
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Hello guys,


I have a question because I think I have a lot of symptoms consistent with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (itching feeling in the hands, numbness, discomfort) but strangely the whole problem in my case doesn't seem to originate from the wrist, in fact it seems to start behind the right shoulder/right lats and spread from there. Most of the times the back of my shoulder and my armpit give me the exact Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms. It's very uncomfortable.

Sometimes when it feels bad my girlfriend gives me a back massage and just running her fingers on my spine while gently pressing it sends electrowaves throughout my body and a few moments later a very sharp tingling to my right hand. And right after I feel totally relieved.

What gives?? I thought Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was all about the nerves in your wrist but in my case the problem seems to start in the back? Also, I never feel any pain as such. Only general discomfort, itching, etc.

I'd love to hear your ideas on this.
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Old 08-20-2005, 11:15 AM   #2
William Hunter
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Michael,

CTS is about the nerves in your wrist, but those nerves have to start somewhere right? Also, CTS doesn't have to stay in the wrist and hand areas, it can go up the arm a bit.

Depending on where your g/f is massaging you (and giving you relief) I would investigate that area further. The nerves that end up in the hand start in the lower neck. If she's more in your midback area, around the lats and specifically the shoulderblade where the infraspinatus is located, that may be where your problem is located. Both the lat and infra- are muscles that commonly develop myofascial trigger points, and both refer pain/numbness or other weird stuff down the arm. Also in the area is the subscapularis, which really zaps the wrist area with pain/numbness. If your g/f is massaging you there she'd be getting quite personal with your armpit.

I've also seen people with TrPs in the lower trapezius, just between the shoulderblade and spine, refer pain down the arm, but I've yet to find a text that says the pain will go past the deltoid area.

Regardless, be nice to your g/f and maybe she'll fix your problem for you.
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Old 08-20-2005, 11:18 AM   #3
David Birozy
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Doc Will H is the expert here, so please jump in and correct me or add to.

In general terms, all nerves spread out from the spine to the rest of the body. CTS is simply a compression of the nerve as it passes through the "tunnel" (bones on three sides, ligament on the palm side) in the wrist. Side note: I've seen mine. Had surgery on one wrist and talked the surgeon into letting me watch. Kind of cool, but not for everybody, especially when he pulled one of the forearm ligaments out of my body to show me how it makes my finger move, but I digress.

You can have the same symptoms of CTS anywhere there is a problem with that nerve. If you feel the "shooters" down your fingers when somebody rubs their fingers down your spine, it's probably a subluxation of one of the vertebra (Will?)

My recommendation is to see a chiropractor. I'd suspect with a couple of adjustments, you'll be as good as new. Interestingly, it's fairly common for me to get these same shooters down to my fingertips when I get my neck adjusted at the chiro as everything gets put back into place.
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Old 08-20-2005, 05:06 PM   #4
Mikael Všlitalo
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David and William, many thanks for your insight. I'm not sure exactly where it all starts, if it's the infraspinatus or the subscapularis, I just know (and remember, from my girlfriend's massages) that it is somewhere in the general lats (around armpit)/lower trapezius area. Won't see the girlfriend again until next year though so I think I'll be out of massages for a while
:-(
Do you guys think I can still workout/play tennis at 100% intensity, or are there some exercises that I should refrain from doing?

I'll try and see a physiotherapist/chiropractor soon too.
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Old 08-21-2005, 08:59 AM   #5
William Hunter
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Mikael, first off I'm sorry I spelled your name incorrectly last time.

You're a tennis player? That explains a lot and leads me to believe that the muscles stabilizing the shoulder girdle are in play here. My wife plays tennis 2-3x/week and I have to clean up messes around her shoulderblade with some regularity. If I were you, I'd make sure you keep up your GPP. I think pushups and pullups are great because of their recruitment of the scapular stabilizers, and maybe some static bar hangs in the fully extended position to stretch out the lats, infra- and teres' muscles.



David, I'm not sure I'm the expert here, I just happened to respond. You never know who might be lurking and laughing at my ignorance. I just try to give basic advice in response to the information given. Of course I'm pro-chiropractic, but some of my most useful stuff is more PT-oriented. I'm really a fascist at heart (a myo-fascist that is). Also, I don't want to come across as pimping my profession too much. And oh by the way, I've read your posts. You drop some serious knowledge yourself. I seem to remember that your father and stepmother are DC's. Did I remember that correctly? Either way, welcome to the board.
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Old 08-21-2005, 03:27 PM   #6
Mikael Všlitalo
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William, no worries I'm used to Michael now too!

Yes tennis has been my main sport since I was 8 years old but I feel my GPP has been quite good for the last 3 years. I can do 15 strict pullups and about 50 pushups straight. In fact due to personal life limitations I haven't really played tennis in the last 10 months, only doing GPP. I'm only now beginning to play and train tennis every day like I used to.

However, you may be right! Maybe my shoulderblade muscles aren't up to par... So would that mean that the entire problem could be solved just by making those muscles (latissimus dorsi, trapezius, deltoids, teres major and minor) stronger and more flexible?

Many thanks again for your help, I'm learning a lot here!
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Old 08-21-2005, 05:35 PM   #7
David Birozy
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Thanks Will. Just an FYI, when I posted my first response, yours wasn't on the board yet. You must have hit the send button first!

Yes, father and step-mother are DC's. I ALMOST went to chiro school (I still sometimes kick myself, as I could have gone for free. Dad was with Los Angeles College of Chiro for a long time, and is now with Cleveland College of Chiro.) About the only reason I didn't go is I didn't want to give up my "real" job to go to school, and didn't want to change professions.

Thanks for the compliment I try to help out where possible. Unfortunately, a lifetime of being active in sports (and a thirst for knowledge) has provided me with plenty of experience in how one gets injured and how one gets fixed!
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Old 08-21-2005, 06:37 PM   #8
David Besachio
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Mikael:

Upper thoracic trigger points are a known cause of referred numbness to the upper extremity when activated. I've been fooled by a herniated cervical spine intervertebral disc in the past in situations similar to yours, though.
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