constant hand pain

hi all I'm new here, i found the page while searching the net for help or just ideas how i can manage my pain.

Mid last year i started getting left hand pain which started by just throbbing then shooting pain up my left arm, it would get so bad that the only thing i could do was go to bed and try and sleep through it. Im on a computer all day at work last year was poetically busy, and i think is is when my pain started. now I'm right handed so that confused me bit but makes sense as i type a lot. now i started relying on my right hand for literally everything... my right hand started getting pain around the beginning of this year. especially when using a mouse at work, the pain in my right hand is different to the one in my left hand/arm. its more of a cramp-fatigue pain it reminds me of when i was a child and went on a ride at a fun fare and was holding so tight onto the ride that my hands where painful but once i got off they were fine, now my right hand feels like that constantly sometimes the pain travels to my fingers and i have to shake my hand to make it hurt less. now iv had all the tests done on my left hand by a hand specialist but they found nothing and i have been taking amitriptyline for a year now which dulls the left hand pain and helps me sleep. now whatever i take for my right hand the pain doesn't go away,its so frustrating in everyday as gp's have said they can't diagnose either hand and "i should be glad that thats the case" well I'm not because its causing an issue at my work with my attendance which is stressing me out as there is literally nothing i can do to get rid of this. i do feel that I'm not getting the best support or help from my gp. Its my first week back to work after a month signed off, day 3 and I'm struggling, this is affecting everything i do, i can't wash dishes or carry this because my hands just can't handle anything heavy and I'm always aware of them especially my left hand as i don't want it to flare up (sharp shooting & throbbing pain up my left hand & arm). washing my hair is a struggle, driving etc i could go on. i feel so bad for my husband as he does absolutely everything from cleaning to cooking, if i am cooking i need him to help me stir. frustration isn't even the word its beyond that. i really want to find the cure.. so if anyone has any ideas please advise.

thank you.

15 Replies

  • It would be very difficult for anyone to diagnose your problem over the internet if your doctors have failed.

    However - it sounds like some sort of repetitive action strain.

    Have you had massage therapy on the area between your shoulder blades just below your neck? These nerves affect the arms and damage here will produce the symptoms you describe.

    Short term , you could alternately ice and heat the area to loosen the tightened ligaments. Also , check your posture at work- if you are tall or overweight and sitting wrong , then that will cause problems.

    Try a NSAI gel on that area- (Voltarol/ Dyflac etc)

    Another possible aid would be to use one of those gel wrist support bars for the keyboard.

    Doing simple neck and shoulders exercises while typing would help keep limber.

    A good chiropractor should also be able to help.

    I presume your workplace has looked at your whole work scene , in terms of occupational health, and has created a safe work environment for you.?

    I hope you get some relief for your very distressing situation.

    Good luck.

  • Not sure where you work but can you ask for a work place seating assessment? Might be that with some changes at work - seating position, specialist mouse and wrist mat for example - you are in less pain?

  • Hi thats exactly what mine feels like almost word got word and four years ago it happened ER doctor told me Carpal tunnel I was 22 i thought yeah ok but now its back. I can't sleep even pain meds don't help. I went to my doctors yesterday he's sending me to a neurologist. To find it what's wrong and mean time I'm SOL as far as the pain goes he gave me naproxen but it doesnt help. I'll post again after i see the neurologist. Good luck

  • Hermes123 Hello there don't forget replies are guess work based on our own experiences, in my case at present going for three minor operations! could be four, will know next Thursday after my x- ray result has been confirmed, same time last year I went for these electrical impulse test, result came back negative. A year later after much pain and my right hand started to roll up, left hand knuckle bone was very painful had a job to remove my tablets from there blisters as the pressure breaking the foil was really painful.

    Again I went to see a different Consultant who sent me back to see the top local Consultant in know time at all carried out the electrical impulse test and said to me I have carpal tunnel in right wrist and trap nerves in both elbows and a possibility of a problem with my left thumb, for which I went and had an x-ray for. apparently an electrical reading below 40. what ever, mine was 27. so I had a problem.

  • Sounds like an Ulnar Nerve problem (commonly known as carpal tunnel. tennis elbow or golf elbow).

    My colleague had something similar and 'used to shake it off' for a while but it got progressively worse and she eventually had to wear splints on her hands and elbow supports (sometimes whole compression sleeves) to ease the pain. Eventually she had to have operations on BOTH hands!

    Repetitive strain injury was definitely the culprit as we did have to do a great deal of computer work and she definitely struggled with it before her op.

    I am however concerned about the prescription you're taking as it does affect everyone differently but for me, it helps me to sleep! If it affects you the same way, then it's not surprising that you're struggling to keep up with work. Were you given anything else - like an anti-inflammatory?

    Please go back to your GP - explain the work you do and your current circumstances and ask him for the help you need to cope - if you want to continue working. He may also need to refer you to a Neurologist for Nerve Conduction Tests.

    I hope you're able to sort it out with your GP's help.

  • So sorry to hear of your constant pain, can be very scary without a diagnosis. When I first started to read your post I thought it must be carpal tunnel, I had this many years ago and the pain was extreme, however this was dx and I had an operation which was successful. I have erosive RA so have had further operations due to this condition. Have they taken blood tests, are your hands swollen. I used to work in a busy insurance office and my work station was fully assessed and I was given a support pad to help me use the mouse, my computer raised to the correct height for me, also a well designed chair, so I was sitting in the right position. Clearly this can't go on, I can only suggest you make your GP aware how much this affecting your whole life. I do wish you all the very best.

  • I'm not a medical doctor but that sounds like carpal tunnel. I would get it checked out by a hand specialist. I developed carpal tunnel onboth hands afte my second baby. My hands actually went numb but your symptoms,S are more typical than mine.

  • I don't if it would help you but I've started using voice regonision justmake sure langue is set to English UK not American English

  • You need some wrist splints they do help but as long as you keep doing the action you are doing to make it hurt ,it will remain . Sorry for you I also suffer with arm wrist and hand pain I know how it hurts . X

  • I had something very similar and eventually I had to have cortisone injections into either elbows,nobody can give you conclusive answers how and why and what treatment you'll receive as all symptoms warrants different treatments,I found that the injections helped and whilst that there's no guarantee they'd last forever I really would of struggled to get by with out them,but my pain was from both my elbows going into my hands,which is back to front from your condition,so it's slightly different,as a manual worker at the time I was also doing alot of repetitive heavy lifting so I hope you get plenty of help from this forum and get your husband a big bottle of washing up liquid lol,but I wish you some sort of result to being pain free,good luck

  • See both an Alexander Teacher and McTimony chiropractor. A McTimony chiropractor can help with any micro cramps that are pulling structures onto nerve roots. The Alexander teacher can help you become more aware of faulty posture and poor muscle coordination. This will help reduce some of the things you do that cause pain.

    It is worth seeing a sports massage therapist. There is the possibility that you have over contracted muscles. The trouble with over contracted muscles is that they are painful and weak. To uncontract over contracted muscles can be painful, but will leave you more pain free and greater muscular strength.

    Unfortunately muscle system behaviour is not something the medical profession know much about.

    Hope this helps.

  • Hermes123. Well a year last October I went for an electrical nerve test for my hands and arms all came back negative, so this year as the pains increased I reported if to the hand and arm clinic who sent me back to see the top consultant. as a result I have to have four small operations as an out patient, first two in five weeks time and the other two after Christmas.

    So you see although we don't like to hassle the N.H.S. It is your health that matters, I am certain there is a lot of people less deserving who could be off loaded to make room for the more urgent pain sufferers. When these four op's are over I have to prioritise weather it's neck : spine : hips : knees or ankles, I don't suppose I will get them all done before my expiry date, but some relief from pain would not go amiss, keep smiling it looks funny when one is in pain? you can see the gritted teeth. Ha - Ha.

  • You might consider Traditional Chinese style Acupuncture. But I was also wondering if you had taken any Osteoporosis drugs whilst your hand pain started, some drugs can affect joints etc. I agree with the person who suggested splints, I found them to be very helpful and supportive. I think one way to check if it's Carpal tunnel, is if it is painful at night. Mine wasn't but if it is, then it could be Carpal tunnel.

  • Well Tiaalou! I hope it will encourage you, last year October 2015. I went to a neurological hospital for electrical impulse test, it came back negative in the meantime my right hand was curling up with more acute pain. So i contacted my hand and arm clinician who sent me back to the neurological hospital saying she required further test, this time on my return I visited the top Consultant who carried out the test in no time and gave me the results there and then, I had four problems, two in each elbow and two in the hands which are off different problems, as a result 3. operation planed, at present out on the fourth as they are trying the easy option first cortisone injections if they do not work, it will mean a fourth operation which will be the removal of the thumb bone which is badly infected with arthritis.

    Moral to my story is if you don't get the answer you first hope go back and ask for a second opinion, I have my first two operations, right wrist and elbow on the 29th November as an out patient 2./3. hours then go home. reassessment on the left arm after the first has healed.


  • Tiaalou, Like yourself I to had a negative reading the first time round, my Clinic sent me back for another test in which the reading said I had a problem in both arms and wrist at that point I was told an appointment would be made for an elbow and wrist operation to be done on my right arm first, since received a letter to say the Consultant wish to see me to cheek out how the operation had gone, that will be Feb. 7th before that I cannot go back to my arm and wrist clinic, when I do I shall tell after the results of my first operation, I will not be having another and will stick to cortisone injection in my thumb joint. I cannot face going through all that again and be left with a near useless hand. Hermes123.

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