I'm so confused!


My name is Heather. I am in agony right now typing but i need to know what's wrong.

I went to the emergency room a week ago for right hand pain. Dr said carpal tunnel.

Next few days i noticed numbness while driving in my left hand. Then I was just laying in bed and it turned into an ice cold but hot burning pain and it came in waves, went to the ER again. They did xrays and said it was cervical radiculopathy.

I had an mri today but wont know the results for 2 weeks. My neck doesnt hurt unless i move it into a certain position, but its my left arm that hurts, i think im cutting off the circulation to my hand at night maybe because my arm feels like deadweight at the top and it hurts in the bicep area.

i did the test and it shows i dont have cts. i guess im shocked by this... im 29 and ive been on computers all my life and not ergonomically. my right wrist, thumb, first finger and middle finger have been very painful in the past but have gotten better before. I guess im just curious on why the test doesn't think I have cts? thanks for any answers.



I don't have time to look at all your questionnaire answers just now but one reason for a low score would certainly be age - it is quite uncommon to get CTS at the age of 29. It has also become apparent in the last few years that typing is probably not a factor in developing CTS but the popular press and the mental image of CTS in the mind of the general public have not quite caught up with that yet. The disorder is actually less common in people who type a lot. The short acute history is also a bit strange. Problems in the neck can certainly manifest quite suddenly and you do not have to have prominent local symptoms in the neck - sometimes you just get pain in the arm, the distribution varying depending on which nerve root is being irritated. It is a pity you have to wait 2 weeks for the MRI result if you have severe symptoms but I'm afraid I can't do anything about that but sympathise I'm afraid. Circulatory problems are also a possible differential diagnosis - though a rare one, you would be considering something like a vascular thoracic outlet syndrome due to a cervical rib in a person your age.

The online test scores are of course only an indicator and cannot be relied upon absolutely to diagnose CTS so your score of about 0% does not literally mean that there is NO chance that this is CTS but it is certainly relatively unlikely. There are now enough patients registered on the system for me to do a study checking how accurate it is and when I get some time I will do that and put the results up on here of course. One should also remember that there is in fact no absolutely reliable way to tell that your problem is CTS. History taking and examination by a doctor, provocative tests, imaging, nerve conduction studies and judgements made from the responses to trials of treatment (including surgery) all have false positives and false negatives so ultimately the diagnosis of CTS is always probabilistic - though if every one of those things points in the same direction the probability obviously becomes so high that most people would accept it as a definite diagnosis.

I would be curious to know what the eventual solution is, if one is found. JB

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