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RSI Pain combined with changes in hand

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by bigbuck94, May 24, 2019.

  1. bigbuck94

    bigbuck94 New Member


    Thanks for taking the time to read my story. I've been suffering from TMS like symptoms pretty severely now for approximately two years, but have also probably had TMS like symptoms earlier than that. My issue in fully accepting the TMS diagnosis comes from a few physical and "structural" changes I've noticed around my hands, wrists, and elbows.

    My current primary health issues resolve around my wrists, hands and elbows and medically are believed to be some type of repetitive stress or cubital tunnel syndrome. I have a loss of dexterity and motor function in pinky and ring fingers bilaterally, and those all of my fingers also curl up when my hand is left freely on a table. I have had the tendons on my fingers slide off my knuckles on both hands. Essentially it feels as though my pinky and ring finger knuckles and the muscles around them are losing their ability to keep my fingers up and my hand feels much smaller width wise than before. I've noticed muscle atrophy around my wrist which I've never experienced before, even when I was skinnier than I am now. I also have subloxation of my ulnar nerve on my elbow, meaning it pops out of its socket when I flex my elbow.

    These physical changes in my hand have been accompanied by extreme pain in my fingers, wrists, and elbows when typing or when doing any activity that keeps my elbows bent. I'll now start the narrative on when this particular episode of pain started. My first experience with pain started after I started my first job. I have always been an avid computer user as well as someone that lifted a lot of weights. Once I started my first job I began having extreme numbness and tingling pain shooting down my forearms and into my hands. This wasn't accompanied by any loss of motor function or any loss of strength, it was just extremely painful. I tried splints, vertical mouse, all of the usual items but nothing seemed to work.

    Some background on my life while this was going on. I went to a very prestigious undergraduate school but had to take out huge loans to go there. My family was not very wealthy but encouraged me to go and that they would help me out with the loans. While I was in school my father's businesses got worse and worse to the point that he was struggling to get by. My brother never finished college, and I always felt immense pressure to succeed to help my family. I used drugs and video games to escape this pressure all my life but was naturally smart enough to get to this good school. I unfortunately did not do very well in recruiting after college and basically had to take a temp job just to start out my career. This was a huge disappointment for me as most of my peers were working at investment banks or huge corporate jobs and I was working as a temporary employee. Compounded with that I had the stress of paying off these huge loans and had to live at home while all of my friends were living in their own apartments.

    The pain in my hands was extremely bad but I could still maintain my normal activities and they eventually slowly subsided. However, then an extremely bad pain in my hips started manifesting itself. I remember one of my friends mentioning to me (power of suggestion) that sitting all day at work is extremely bad for your body and then I started to feel a bit achy after that. The pain then exploded one day after doing squats at the gym and was terrible for months. I got an MRI on my spine and hips which did not indicate any trauma or issues. I had full bloodwork done along with EMGs/NCV and no doctor was able to pinpoint any issues. The pain was worst when I was sitting and felt a bit better when I was lying down or standing. This onslaught of pain coincided with the pain generally decreasing in my hands.

    As the pain in my hips generally subsided over the next few months I started a new role at a new job that I had gotten. The job was a lot more in line with what I thought would be acceptable coming out of college, but it was a more hours and a lot of heavier typing that I was used to. About two months into the new job I started getting pain in my elbows and pinky and ring fingers, the same type of pain that is persisting until today. One day after a particularly long and stressful day at work it hit a boiling point where I couldn't type on my keyboard for a prolonged period of time and couldn't do my job. I went back to a bunch of doctors to try and figure out what was wrong and they did an MRI on my cervical spine and saw a few dessicated discs with no nerve compression at C3 C4 and C5 which was enough to get me on disability for a month. At this point I started having neck pain as well as the beginning of the curling in my ring and pinky fingers as well as the elbow pain.

    While I was on this break a friend of mine sent me some of Dr. Sarno's work. I saw myself in the pages and believed I had the personality type and the life events to warrant the diagnosis, and it helped me during my time off. This helped reduce my neck and back pain that had started, and the worst of my elbow and hand pain subsided, but my fingers and wrist still curled and never quite got better. I had EMG and NCV tests done, brain MRIs, complete bloodwork to rule out all of the autoimmune diseases and some type of neuropathy but everything came back clean which was frustrating me.

    I went back to work after a month and was able to tolerate the pain but did not get better. My hands slowly got worse and worse and the curling and weakness in my fingers increased. I pushed through the pain because I needed to keep my job and also because I hoped it was TMS and that it would just cure itself. I tried on/off Sarnos programs but I never fully committed. I was able to survive for almost 11 months, twice I had a 1 week episode where the pain became so bad in my elbows that I could barely extend them. Finally last month the pain became so great at all time in my hands that I finally gave up and looked to take another round of disability.

    I completely believe in the possibility of TMS for me, however the physical changes in my body are so difficult to ignore. My hands have wasted away muscle wise, my fingers have curled, I have pain in my knuckles if I press hard on them. I've been forced to give up everything that I loved because of this pain. I can no longer work out which was one of my greatest joys. I had to give up computer games which I spent my entire childhood playing. Now I have to possibly reconsider changing careers after I finally found a good paying job. I was just on the verge of leaving my house and getting my own apartment, something I've been hoping to achieve for the last two years when the pain became too unbearable, but prior to this it had been building very steadily and consistently. I have also had redness and what appears to me as swelling, though no doctor has confirmed that diagnosis with me. I've also had my hands appear wrinkled when it becomes very cold.

    Still on the crossroads of fully accepting a tms diagnosis or whether or not these issues could be related to the subloxation of my ulnar nerve, even though there is no abnormalities as of now on my EMG studies. My biggest issue is the physical changes in my hand and the sliding of my tendons. I have definite motor function change in my pinky and ring fingers, as in they’re more clumsy, yet I’ve seen orthopedists and NYU and Columbia have examined me and found nothing particularly wrong with me. I’ve also visited with Ira Rashbaum at NYU who is a TMS dr who worked with Sarno, he believed that I had TMS but I still can’t shake the idea that there is something structurally wrong with my hands and elbows which is causing these physical symptoms.

    I’ve had an mri on my elbow and pinky finger and they’ve both came back normal. By virtually every medical test I’ve had has come back normal, which is typically opposite of what most people on here experience. I’ve been more searching for something to explain this pain and physical changes but have come up dry.

    If the it were simply pain, I’d have a much easier time accepting the TMS diagnosis. However the muscle atrophy, tendon sliding, and curling of the fingers just make it so difficult for me to accept it. I attached pictures of my hands to kind of show what’s happening. From reading these forums I know a common response will be that TMS always feels structural, but I am interested to see if anyone else has experienced something similar to what I am going through.

    knuckle curving.jpg
    Wrist atrophy.jpg

    Thanks for the help.

    Attached Files:

  2. HealthyPhil

    HealthyPhil Newcomer

    Thanks for sharing your story bigbuck. Sounds like you feel terrified that you'll never be able to do the things that you love in life. I admire your bravery in persistently pursuing a cause for your symptoms. While the underlying cause of symptoms caused by TMS is non-structural, in my experience, it can absolutely cause muscular changes and physical abnormalities. The TMS specialist I see is not surprised at all when I report very physical changes to my body. My response to this has become two-fold: when I have a new symptom, I get it checked by a doctor. And then I get a second opinion. When all tests suggest non-structural causes, I immediately know it is TMS. My (already poor) vision blurs for weeks at a time even with contacts in. Impossible that its TMS right? Wrong. Its TMS. The symptoms persist for a while and then I find relief. For what its worth, the specialist I have seen for RSI has never once seen an occurrence of RSI that is not TMS.
  3. Bicepmuffins

    Bicepmuffins Peer Supporter

    Your atrophy is bc your avoiding using your hand and wrist. Repetive tasks are also the same that keep the hand strong. Life is full of repetive tasks. Im basically in your boat minus serious structural issues. Vid games, weightlifting, hand wrist and elbow pain. It's just my opinion, I'm no doctor but its hard for me to believe fully that it's simply oxygen deprivation that TMS functions with. I think some of us, especially those with elbow pain have a long, semi chronic road of pain ahead of us. Tennis elbow is commonly a difficult TMS symptom from my readings of others experiences with it. My hand and wrist pain somewhat vanished but my elbows come and go and are currently trigger by stressful games and weightlifting. I think TMS is capable of causing physical symptoms or at least exacerbating small symptoms that pass medical exams but feel obviously like permanent damage when contorted by your obsessive feelings towards them.m

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