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Pain in index finger

By August 22, 2009 - 5:58pm
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I posted a while ago about hand pain which I have had every test under the sun for and no one has been able to diagnose. I was tested for rheumatolid arthritis and nerve conditions, etc..All negative... I am 39 now but I have had what MAY be carpal tunnel or something of that nature for about 9 years now. In the last week, my index finger on my right hand has started to hurt badly and is very stiff when I wake up. It doesn't seem to be getting better.
All of this worries me as I can't seem to get a decent diagnosis and I am afraid that it is getting worse. It seems to feel similiar to the wrist and even elbow pain which I often have. It all seemed to come on when I began bartending about 9 years ago and even when I stopped, the pain never went away.

I am an artist so it is not feasible to stop using my hands so much. I paint every day.
I am tired of allopathic doctors not being able to tell me anything so am trying a chiropractor next week and may also try acupuncture. I am not happy about taking any type of drug either. I believe that many things in life can be cured by healthy eating and living.
I would appreciate any thoughts or help. Thanks.

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That's fabulous!!! I'll be really interested to hear your progress!!! And yes, my mom has arthritis. Though I have to say that at 81, it still hasn't stopped her from doing much. She goes to an exercise class three times a week, swims twice a week and plays the organ at her church. Half the time she's busier than I am. So I figure if/when I get it, I've got no excuse at all. =)

August 27, 2009 - 8:46am

Thanks Diane!
I saw a new chiropractor/ physical therapist today and he was great. He ruled out arthritis and carpal tunnell and thinks that my issues are related to neck and shoulder areas probably from my years of traditional animation.
He uses an activator instrument rather than just manual manipulation. he was very thorough. I'll be seeing him again next week.
I will let you know how it goes.
I was relieved that he didn't think it was arthritis...a personal fear of mine. Also....even my parents barely have arthritis yet....so early onset is not too likely.
I have lots of confidence in my new doctor!

August 27, 2009 - 12:14am
(reply to rlyons)

That's terrific news!

I like the activator, and prefer it applied to my neck over having my head tossed about (that, to me, is very scary). I also think my Chiropractors are fabulous.

August 27, 2009 - 5:41pm

Hi, Rlyons,

I am wondering if physical therapy might help. I had a repetitive stress injury several years ago from overuse of the computer and in addition to anti-inflammatories for a few weeks, the doctor prescribed physical therapy. They used head, ice, ultrasound and massage to get the area less inflamed and stiff, and then over time taught me some therapeutic exercises to use in that area. It was very successful for me and probably took between 8 to 12 weeks before I started to feel real, and lasting, relief. You might ask your doctor if physical therapy would be a good option for you, especially since it is holistic.

The fact that you have pain in your finger, your wrist and sometimes your elbow makes me think that yes, you are dealing with something more like repetitive stress or carpal tunnel than arthritis, simply because that's how my pain traveled. Somehow, you need to get the inflammation in that area down.

Here's a factsheet about various types of repetitive stress injuries (it's a pdf so it moves kind of slowly):


Has anyone suggested that you might have tendinitis?

This is the Arthritis Society's page, which includes information on RSIs and tendinitis:


Inflammation, of course, is involved in arthritis. So many of these conditions are interrelated and overlapping that I imagine that's why they are difficult to diagnose. Has anyone explored the possibility of arthritis with you?

August 25, 2009 - 8:38am

Hi Tina,
Thanks! I had that nerve, etc. test done and it came up negative. I never had x rays. How might I go about trying to get these done? Would I try a hand specialist or might my MD be able to order x rays?
Since the fingers are also affected, is wrist arthritis likely?
I have tried wearing splints and they help though are very difficult to paint in.

August 24, 2009 - 11:57am

Hello RLyons, thanks for your post. The National Institutes of Health recommend an electromyography and nerve conduction velocity test "which may show decreased conduction across the wrist" and assist in a CPS diagnosis. The agency also recommends that wrist x-rays be performed to rule other problems (such as wrist arthritis). To your knowledge, have you had these tests performed?

And as an artist, I certainly understand your desire to resolve the issue quickly. And I also understand your desire to not want to turn to drugs to help quell the pain.

Fortunately, it looked like splints or ergonomic devices can go a long way toward helping the pain. Have you tried adjusting positions or using splints to ease the discomfort yet?

Will you update us on any diagnosis or progress?

August 24, 2009 - 11:03am
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