Guitar Games: Carpal Tunnel Or A Back/Spine Problem?

Furry Lewis’ “Stackerlee” performed by Dave Van Ronk in a 1980 concert, prefaced by some remarks about his love for Lewis’ music. From the DVD “Dave Van Ronk Memories.” More info at

I am 27 yrs old, healthy, active, drink occasionally and do not smoke.

For the past 4 years I have had problems with my hands, arms, wrists and elbows. I think personally the cause was hours at the computer using one of those Mouse Pad Wrist rest things (Damn you WOW lol). Pressure on my wrists.

I have seen my GP numerous times. Blood tests are fine. I have seen the Rheumatologist, had X-rays of my hands and had physio on my back. This problem has persisted throughout all of this.

Symptoms have remained more or less constant over this time although some of them I no longer get and others have recently developed.

– General aching of hands – typically mild but during a flare up it can go a bit crazy. I have this ALL the time. The severity varies from barely notice to can’t ignore. Depends totally on what I have been doing with my hands.

– Swollen wrists with aching – not so much now but early on this was a constant problem. If I wear anything on my wrists (eg watch) it causes aching)

– Aching elbows – occasional. Depends on the severity of the flare up

– Shooting pains up from wrist to elbows – occasional

– Hotness of palms and more recently entire hands and forearms

– Pulsing pains in 3rd and little fingers – I cant wear any rings etc as this causes these pains to be worse

– Inability to do any “fiddly” work or activity for very long. Early on I found typing at a keyboard tough after a few mins. Now its fine for a lot longer but stuff like playing guitar or gaming on my PS3 for an hour or so can flare up my symptoms.

– Pins and needles (feel hot) in hands and forearms. Surprisingly I also had the same (or was I imagining it?) in my legs (knee down) last night. This is a totally new development as of last night. It took me ages to get to sleep as my arms were “buzzing” all night.

I think this could be either Carpal Tunnel or a problem with my spine maybe compressing a nerve in my back. The doc did not think it was carpal tunnel as I did not have all the symptoms at one time (Surely that does not matter? )

It could be my back. I have had a bad back for years and I always seem to have a bad back when I have bad hands etc. It even seems sometimes that if I have a bad back and don’t take measures to rest it, after a month or so my hands flare up. Possible connection?

I take Cocodamol when I need it (30/500mg) but it only takes the edge off the aching. Tramadol seems to work to a greater extent. Diclofenac if taken with paracetamol can achieve the same results. I have been prescribed, but have never taken, Naproxen also.

I ask this question because I was curious to see what others think could be up with me. I am waiting to see a Neurologist on Aug 5th but after a big flare up yesterday (with new symptoms appearing) after a long gaming session on Sunday I was curious to investigate.

Any info on what this could be would be appreciated


  1. Suzane J says:

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a disorder that results from dysfunction of one of the nerves in the wrist and hand. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway in the wrist through which the median nerves passes from the forearm into the hand. In CTS, as the nerve passes through the wrist, the nerve does not function properly since there is compression due to Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI) or overuse injury.
    By some dietary guidelines you may overcome the situation:
    To avoid the accumulation of fatty deposits, a diet low in hydrogenated fats is recommended. It is beneficial to use monosaturated oils such as olive oil and eat plenty of coldwater fish.Foods to emphasize are brown rice, whole grains, lentils, sunflower seeds, salmon, tuna, avocado, turkey and fresh fruits and vegetables.Eating fresh pineapple can provide an excellent source of bromelain, an enzyme that inhibits inflammation.Foods that promote the production of certain acids are discouraged and include red meats, wines, cheeses, and fatty dairy products.Avoid a high fat diet, stress, excess salt and caffeine.
    Besides this Very mild hand exercises such as rotating the wrists in circles helps to increase circulation and may alleviate some of the tingling. Exercise should be used with caution as resting the wrists is sometimes more effective to control symptoms.Change the position of your hands when crocheting, knitting, typing, holding tools etc. to facilitate better circulation.Rotate repetitive tasks and rest from them from time to time.
    Some dietary and herbal supplements are also there to minimize the severity.Visit the following url for detailed info: