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Susan RN
Susan RN, Nurse
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 584
Experience:  RN DNP, nurse educator since 1996,hospital RN 10 yrs,Advd practice, OB/Peds,Pharm, medical
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Loss of strength in right hand. What to do?

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My fiance has been gradually losing strength in his right hand, esp. the thumb and index finger. He is a musician and at the start could not play more than 3 or 4 songs without his hand becoming too tired to continue. It has progressed to the point where he cannot complete a song and is having trouble playing chords at all. (He plays left-handed guitar and picks/strums with his left hand and chords with his right.)   What could this possibly be? And is there anything (such as a hand brace made for carpal tunnel) that we should try? Thank you so much. Julia
Does he have pain in his right hand when he loses strength? Does he get any tickling in his fingers or hand when this happens? Has he had carpal tunnel before?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Hi Susan --- no pain, no tickling, has not been diagnosed with carpal tunnel ever.
It could be some carpal tunnel but there are also other types of overuse conditions that it could be related to. Does he have any pain in his forearm or burning sensation in his forearm when this happens?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No pain or burning in forearm. Occasional pain and numbness ind hand but mainly just the weakness.
It could be carpal tunnel or something related to that. He could try wearing a wrist splint for carpal tunnel but they may not help either.
I have given you some information on carpal tunnel syndrome from for you to read and see if this sounds like his symptoms. I will say that there are other conditions similiar to carpal tunnel that are caused by overuse and problems with a nerve or nerves that run down the arm to the fingers. This article also gives some tips on how to prevent it, how to treat it, and how it is diagnosed. If the condition continues to get worse or more bothersome, I would suggest having him see a doctor or an orthopedic since it sounds like his music is his life.

Pressure on the median nerve causes carpal tunnel syndrome. This pressure can come from swelling or anything that makes the carpal tunnel smaller. Things that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome include:

Illnesses such as hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.
Making the same hand movements over and over, especially if the wrist is bent down (your hands lower than your wrists), or making the same wrist movements over and over.
Wrist injuries and bone spurs.
Smoking, because it can reduce blood flow to the median nerve.
What are the symptoms?
Carpal tunnel syndrome can cause tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain in the fingers or hand. Some people may have pain in their arm between their hand and their elbow.

Symptoms most often occur in the thumb, index finger, middle finger, and half of the ring finger. If you have problems with your other fingers but your little finger is fine, this may be a sign that you have carpal tunnel syndrome. A different nerve gives feeling to the little finger.

You may first notice symptoms at night. You may be able to get relief by shaking your hand.

How is carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosed?
Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask about your health and activities. You also may have some tests.

Your doctor will ask if you have any health problems-such as arthritis, hypothyroidism, or diabetes-or if you are pregnant. He or she will ask if you recently hurt your wrist, arm, or neck. Your doctor will want to know about your daily routine and any recent activities that could have hurt your wrist.

During the exam, your doctor will check the feeling, strength, and appearance of your neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, and hands.

Your doctor may suggest tests, such as:

Blood tests to see if any health problems might be causing your symptoms.
Nerve testing to find out if the median nerve is working as it should.
How is it treated?
Mild symptoms usually can be treated with home care. The sooner you start treatment, the better your chances of stopping symptoms and preventing long-term damage to the nerve.

You can do a few things at home to help your hand and wrist feel better:

Stop activities that cause numbness and pain. Rest your wrist longer between activities.
Ice your wrist for 10 to 15 minutes 1 or 2 times an hour. Try taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Wear a wrist splint at night to keep your wrist in a neutral position. This takes pressure off your median nerve. Your wrist is in a neutral position when it is straight or only slightly bent. Holding a glass of water is an example of your wrist in a neutral position.
See your doctor if your symptoms do not get better after 1 to 2 weeks of home care, or if you have had bad symptoms from the start. You may need medicine for carpal tunnel syndrome or for a health problem that made you likely to get carpal tunnel syndrome.

You can also try to take good care of your wrists and hands:

Try to keep your wrist in a neutral position.
Use your whole hand-not just your fingers-to hold objects.
When you type, keep your wrists straight, with your hands a little higher than your wrists. Relax your shoulders when your arms are at your sides.
If you can, switch hands often when you repeat movements.

I hope this information is helpful in answering your question. Please let me know if I can help answer any more questions for you. If this information has helped answer your question, please click the Accept button. If you are very satisfied with my answer, a bonus is welcomed. Thank you.
Susan RN and 7 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you so much, you have relieved some of my anxiety and hopefully his too. We will try what you and WebMed suggest and then go from there.
You are both welcome.