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Do I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?

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Do I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?

Old 09-29-17, 04:25 PM
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sumbikerguy123
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Do I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)?

I use my bike for everyday commuting, shopping, basic around town stuff.

I have been having increasing pain in my right hand wrist, forearm, elbow, shoulder and in my back shoulder blade area. I have numbness, tingling and shooting sharp pain in all of those areas.

I am taking 600mg Ibuprofen pills and now I've added 50mg of Tramadrol at night so I can sleep through the pain. The Tramadrol leaves me foggy and spaced out the next day. I really don't like taking it, but it does help with the pain.

I've never had CTS before and I was a bit stumped as to what was causing my pain in my right arm? I mean I use my computer daily, but not as a full time job. Where I could get CTS from that. But then I thought well I ride my bike almost daily around town, so maybe that could be the cause?

The hands, arms, shoulders and some back are more or less our upper body shock absorbers of the road. So I'm thinking that could be the cause of my CTS like pain.

So that's what I'm looking/asking for: Has anyone experienced CTS from daily bike riding? Or have you been diagnosed with CTS as the result of your daily bike riding?

And if so, what kind of treatments, meds, was given to cure CTS?
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Old 09-29-17, 05:13 PM
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Hi there. Obviously only a physician can accurately evaluate and dagnose your condition. All I can tell you is my personal experience with CTS. It is was a long-onset, slow process. My symptoms initially were limited to at night during sleep - I would wake up with numb, tingling thumb and the first two fingers. Over about a 10 year period, it increased to the point both hands would be totally numb, unable to move my fingers in a precise manner - for example, I could not reach over and simply press the off button on the alarm on my clock radio - My hands were too numb and fingers semi-paralyzed - all I could do was mash at it with either my palm ir the back of my hand, until I got lucky and pressed on the button in the right way. Might be the first try, might take 20. I was really glad when I got an Echo and could just say ďAlexa, Stop!Ē
My late-stage CTS produced pain in my hands from the wrist down, a dull throbbing, muted ache. I would shake both hands vigorously and move fingers and wrists to get it to diminish, took 3-5-7/8 minutes. When I started getting significant numbness during normal daytime activities such as typing, holding a computer mouse, telephone handset, steering wheel or ... my handlebars, I said ďitís time.Ē

I never had sharp pain, or pain or numbness more than a couple of inches above my wrists. The feeling of CTS to me is easy to describe - just like being shot up with a heavy dose of novacaine, or sitting on your leg far too long in a position that makes your foot go totally numb. When I woke up, I could have jabbed a needle directly into my finger or palm and barely felt it.

Any kind of long-term repetitive use of your hands that puts pressure on the nerve in your wrist can do it. My probably 10-12 hours a week of gripping handlebars didnít help, but 40 plus hours a week of typing and using a mouse probably did more to cause it. May also be genetic, my mom had both hands done, so did her sister and 2 of her 3 brothers who survived to the age to get it. All 3 of my siblings had the surgery on both hands prior to me, but Iím the youngest by 8 years so that makes sense.

Surgery is the only real treatment. There are OTC and custom splints you can wear that might stave off surgery for a while. Also things like certain hand and wrist exercises, ice and heat, NSAIDS and other anti-inflammatory drugs, and environmental modifications to make things more ergonomic. But if you are getting CTS, sooner or later surgery.

You should see your doctor and get a proper diagnosis. IF it is CTS, I can tell you my experience with both surgeries in 2016 was it was super-easy and no big deal - and mine were both ďopenĒ because the surgeon found the channel between the bones just too tight to do it the minimally-invasive way with two holes and a probe/instrument. Even so, it was about a 3 inch incision on my wrist, very little pain, required no PT, and the morning after the first one, after the novaine had worn off, I woke up for the first time in years with a right hand without numbness, pain and fully funtional immediately to manipulate objects like eyeglasses or buttons. In fact - DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME - it felt so good the next morning that 20 hours out of surgery, I wrapped my wrist and hand carefully to protect it, and hopped on my flat-bar road bike and rode 65 miles.

But hey, I didnít swear an oath to follow doctorsí orders - I just look at them as helpful but optional suggestions.

Last edited by DaveQ24; 09-29-17 at 05:17 PM.
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Old 09-29-17, 05:18 PM
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I have had problems with my wrists and forearms for a couple of decades. Any kind of overuse (keyboard, mouse, cycling, texting, tennis, etc.) can cause injury, and it's different for everyone.

I'd go see a physiatrist if I were you. Since I've been living with this for so long I've adapted and know how to manage it. There is no "cure". There is surgery for some types of CTS, and some respond to rest, splints, and/or physical therapy.

The first thing they'll say is to stop doing whatever is causing the pain. If you think it's your bike, you may want to look bikes with a more upright riding position.
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Old 09-29-17, 05:36 PM
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More comfortable bike? I am going to change the stem on my Road Bike. Top bar is sort of long, and I with the stem more forward it's obviously making me lean more.
And I always bring the handlebars back. I never use drop bars. But I leave them on.
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Old 09-29-17, 07:21 PM
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Thanks DaveQ24 for the extensive reply:

I'm looking for a doctor to evaluate my situation. I'm not sure which type doctor is best for CTS? I'm assuming a Orthopedic Surgeons do that type of stuff? But there are sports doctors and other type doctors that do CTS surgery. So any suggestions on which type of doctor is most knowledgeable would be appreciated.

Sorry to hear about your CTS symptoms and pain issues. It does get to be really painful and frustrating when it stalls your daily activities or to work out.

Any kind of long-term repetitive use of your hands that puts pressure on the nerve in your wrist can do it. My 10-12 hours a week of gripping handlebars didnít help, but 40 plus hours a week of typing and using a mouse probably did more to cause it.

R. This is what I was referring to which normally causes CTS daily repetitive motions such as typing 40+ hours a week. I never had a desk job typing, so I was a bit stumped until I figured maybe it was the bike causing it?

You should see your doctor and get a proper diagnosis. IF it is CTS, I can tell you my experience with both surgeries in 2016 was it was super-easy and no big deal - and mine were both ďopenĒ because the surgeon found the channel between the bones just too tight to do it the minimally-invasive way with two holes and a probe/instrument. Even so, it was about a 3 inch incision on my wrist, very little pain, required no PT, and the morning after the first one, after the novaine had worn off, I woke up for the first time in years with a right hand without numbness, pain and fully funtional immediately to manipulate objects like eyeglasses or buttons. In fact - DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME - it felt so good the next morning that 20 hours out of surgery, I wrapped my wrist and hand carefully to protect it, and hopped on my flat-bar road bike and rode 65 miles.

R. Must have felt good getting back on your bike pain free after all that time in pain!

Thanks for your personal experience and insight. Hopefully I won't need surgery, but if it eliminates taking pain meds every day & night then I would be a Happy Camper!
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Old 09-29-17, 07:33 PM
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Thanks Osric:

I have had problems with my wrists and forearms for a couple of decades. Any kind of overuse (keyboard, mouse, cycling, texting, tennis, etc.) can cause injury, and it's different for everyone.

I'd go see a physiatrist if I were you.

R. I think we could all use a psychiatrist w/or w/o CTS!

Since I've been living with this for so long I've adapted and know how to manage it. There is no "cure". There is surgery for some types of CTS, and some respond to rest, splints, and/or physical therapy.

The first thing they'll say is to stop doing whatever is causing the pain. If you think it's your bike, you may want to look bikes with a more upright riding position.

R. My bike is one of those Cross Town Hybrids with upright handle bars, but the bars are adjusted leaning more forward than upright. They were a bit high when I first bought the bike. I'll have to wait and see what a doctor has to say about the CTS?
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Old 09-29-17, 07:44 PM
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Thanks StarBiker: More comfortable bike? I am going to change the stem on my Road Bike. Top bar is sort of long, and I with the stem more forward it's obviously making me lean more. And I always bring the handlebars back. I never use drop bars. But I leave them on.

R. I use my hybrid bike mostly for around town stuff. My bars lean forward some to get a lower profile and a bit more torque on the pedals. My bars are currently stuck in that position, I should move them up and a bit closer to me. Have to get some penetrating oil for my bars.

I also have an endurance type road bike with the bars a bit more elevated for more comfort. And a shorter stem too bring he bars closer toward me. But they could be up a bit more also, easier on the back/shoulders. The older I get the more upright I want to be.

Last edited by sumbikerguy123; 09-29-17 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 09-30-17, 06:23 AM
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MY Carpal Tunnel Syndrome numbness/tingling/burning/pain sensations were of the thumb, pointer finger, middle finger and INSIDE EDGE of the ring finger on my left hand. Saw my HAND Orthopedic surgeon who sent me to a Neurologist for an EMG Electromyogram (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies in addition to the standard physical testing.

Surgery was successful but my damage was so severe that symptoms are occurring at times 2 years after surgery.

See a specialist. My neuro told me if I waited just a little longer NOTHING would have been able to be done.

Last edited by OldTryGuy; 10-01-17 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 09-30-17, 07:20 AM
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Or-------------maybe you are a candidate for a recumbent of some type.
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Old 09-30-17, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by sumbikerguy123 View Post
I have been having increasing pain in my right hand ...
Which fingers are going numb?
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Old 09-30-17, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Which fingers are going numb?
diagram of affected fingers CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME - ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬
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Old 09-30-17, 10:32 AM
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Work related? keyboarding daily for years, will do it.
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Old 09-30-17, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
diagram of affected fingers CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME - ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬
Yes, and the fingers most commonly affected by cycling are the rest of them ... the little finger and the ring finger. The ulnar nerve is the one most affected in cycling.
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Old 09-30-17, 05:21 PM
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Check out http://highperformancesports.blogspo...-palsy-or.html

Cyclist's palsy includes CTS. It's just part of the price you pay for riding a DF. But it must be worth it though.

Last edited by elocs; 10-04-17 at 07:25 AM.
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Old 10-01-17, 06:09 AM
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Don't rule out pinched neck nerves. I got that and those symptoms. Don't think you'd get shoulder pain from CTS but I'm no Doctor. See one ASAP.
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Old 10-01-17, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Ald1 View Post
Don't rule out pinched neck nerves. I got that and those symptoms. Don't think you'd get shoulder pain from CTS but I'm no Doctor. See one ASAP.
Given his and your symptoms, this is definitely worth evaluating.

If it is CTS, then you definitely want more than one opinion, and not all from orthopedic surgeons, because "when your tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail." There are conservative, non-surgical treatments that can work in many CTS cases. You may also find something as simple as switching to a shorter-reach stem or tilting your saddle slightly back (nose-up) will take a load off your hands.
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Old 10-01-17, 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Ald1 View Post
Don't rule out pinched neck nerves. I got that and those symptoms. Don't think you'd get shoulder pain from CTS but I'm no Doctor. See one ASAP.
https://www.mycarpaltunnel.com/neck-...l-tunnel.shtml

"Not only will Carpal Tunnel affect the hand, fingers and wrist which are the joints and muscles near the Carpal Tunnel, but often patients report that they are experiencing Neck Pain or Shoulder Pain or both and find it difficult to believe that this discomfort can be resulting from pinching of the nerve in the hand."
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Old 10-01-17, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
You may also find something as simple as switching to a shorter-reach stem or tilting your saddle slightly back (nose-up) will take a load off your hands.
There is also another very simple solution that somehow is only ever rarely mentioned: Get bent.
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Old 10-01-17, 07:07 AM
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In my case I have arthritis spurs in my neck pressing on nerves. I agree about getting second, third opinions. I was talked into hand surgery for CTS, trigger thumb and basal joint removal, replacement (right hand 2014) due to the joint deterioration. I have basically the same thing in my left hand but PE keeps things well and i wish I didn't rush into the 2014 surgery. I also manage my neck stuff with PE and a good bike fit. Before my neck got bad my CTS, bad joint gave me some should pain on the top of shoulder. My pinched neck nerves gives me the pain on the back scapula, inner shoulder FWIW....
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Old 10-01-17, 08:35 AM
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If you choose a doctor, maybe an orthopedist (not orthopedic surgeon) would be a good choice. I've had bicyclist palsy for years and so I switched to recumbent bikes and trikes a long time ago. In spite of that I developed trigger finger in one hand. Typical in our modern health care system I had to undergo 12 months of tests including nerve testing (mild electrocution!) to finally get a referral to an orthopedist. The orthopedist mentioned surgery as a last choice option but suggested trying a cortisone shot. It was probably the most painful shot I have ever received but cured the problem in a couple of days. Start with the simple things and then work to the more invasive if it doesn't work.
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Old 10-01-17, 09:01 AM
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OP, Without a nerve conduction study it is almost impossible to tell what's causing your pain. I have Carpel Tunnel issues. I had NONE of the typical problems associated with that condition. It was found out because I had a problem with my elbows that required further evaluation. At the completion of the nerve conduction study the Doc informed me I had Carpel Tunnel issues and they were at least moderate, one step shy of an operation.
With neck pain I would be setting an appointment with an orthopedist ASAP. You're probably a candidate for a neck MRI and a nerve conduction study.
Been there, done that.
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Old 10-01-17, 10:13 AM
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The other thing you could try is modifying your position. Do that in combination with doctor visits. Post photos of you on your bike over in Fitting your Bike. Hands on hoods, one photo with cranks up and down, one with forearms horizontal and cranks level, plus one photo of just your bike.
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Old 10-01-17, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by OldTryGuy View Post
MY Carpal Tunnel Syndrome numbness/tingling/burning/pain sensations were of the thumb, pointer finger, middle finger and INSIDE EDGE of the ring finger on my left hand. Saw my HAND Orthopedic surgeon who sent me to a Neurologist for an EMG Electromyogram (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies in addition to the standard physical testing.

Surgery was successful but my damage was so severe that symptoms are occurring at times 2 years after surgery.

See a specialist. My neuro told me if I waited just a little longer NOTHING would have been able to be done.
R. Thanks OTG. Was your CTS the result of bike riding or some other form of repetitive movement, ie; typing every day, or both, etc?

So your Ortho referred you to a Neurologist. When I was looking at a list of doctors in my area I got Ortho, Sports Medicine Specialists, Neurologist's, etc. and wasn't sure which one is the most preferable? This is all new to me?

An orthopedic surgeon (orthopedist). A neurologist. A hand surgeon. A plastic surgeon. A rheumatologist. A physiatrist?

Seems like Ortho Doc's specialize in a certain area's they feel more proficient in. If not, then makes sense to refer a patient out to someone with more expertise and knowledge in that specialty.

I just started experiencing these CTS type symptoms about 6 weeks ago. My VA Doc gave me some Voltaren Gel (diclofenac sodium topical gel 1%) the other day. Only tried twice, but don't see any decrease in pain yet?

Just have to wait to see whatever Doc I chose has to say?
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Old 10-01-17, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Or-------------maybe you are a candidate for a recumbent of some type.
R. Thanks. Maybe, a Lazy Boy on wheels?
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Old 10-01-17, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Which fingers are going numb?
R. Right now, I'd say mostly in the smaller end fingers, wrist, forearm, elbow and in the shoulder blade in my back.

I started having what I thought was a muscle/tendon/soft tissue injury in my right shoulder blade back area. Then it progressed to my whole right arm. I haven't been working out or doing any home related exercises since then hoping it would heal on its own.

But right now it seems to be more CTS related. Hopefully a Doctor can give me an accurate diagnosis?
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