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Noticed burning pain in top of hands. EMG test done. Tested negative for arthritis and lime disease. Any ideas?

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About a year ago I noticed severe burning/achey pain on the top of my hands after using a computer for a few hours. (I'm a programmer so its my job :/)
I went to a doctor and was prescribed a brace to wear at night. This helped for a month or two but the pain came back strong and would hinder my work performance.
Thereafter I revisited the doctor and had an EMG test done. After the results showed minor cortisone shot in my carpal tunnel just to see how I would feel.
Fast forward a few more months and I have gone to a new doctor for a second opinion. The pain has spread to my knees and ankles. My hands ache all day even without touching a computer. I underwent rigorous blood testing and x-rays looking for everything from arthritis to lime disease... everything came up negative.
I've been to 6 different doctors now, all of them fairly stumped as to what is causing this. I've tried massage, chiropractors even muscle and joint cremes like trammel.
I'm currently going to a Rheumatologist continuing to look for other avenues to stop this pain.
I'm just looking for some advice, what would you recommend my next step be? It's getting to a point where getting through a whole work day is excruciating.
Posted Mon, 20 Aug 2012 in Bones, Muscles and Joints
Answered by Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan 2 hours later
Hi there,

You are doing the right thing by visiting a rheumatologist.

Also you might want to sign up for yoga, as it might help you relax, and in the long run also reduce the pain.

I'm assuming you have already tried hot fomentation on the joints.

If even after the visit to the rheumatologist, there is no diagnosis or treatment relief, I suggest you try acupressure.

Hope I have answered your queries. If you don't have any further queries, kindly accept my answer.

Any reviews are welcome.

Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Noticed burning pain in top of hands. EMG test done. Tested negative for arthritis and lime disease. Any ideas? 35 hours later
Thank you for your response. I just have a few more questions.

Do you think requesting an MRI of my hands would help with the diagnosis at all?

I'm not too sure what hot fomentation is, could you explain?

Are there any exercises or stretches I can do at work to relive some of the pain? As I said it's seriously affecting my work so I need to figure out what I can do ASAP.

I've taken ibuprofen and prednisone in the past with no pain relief, are there other pain medications or vitamins that you recommend?
Answered by Dr. Divya Kuttikrishnan 10 hours later
MRI of the hand might be helpful in diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis.Rheumatoid arthritis can sometimes present with symptoms of ESR, CRP, RF factor, ANA? Like I said, a rheumatologist will be the best person to help you.

By hot fomentation, I meant dip a thick cotton towel in hot water ,wring it , and apply towel intermittently over the skin of the affected joints for 5-10 minutes. The heat application might reduce the pain to a certain extent. Hot fomentation is preferable for pain in the joints.

However, if there are signs of an acutely inflammed joint, like swelling, warmth,tenderness etc,then ice packs are preferable .

A physical therapist might be better to help you with the exercises, as he can visually demonstrate it to you as well as be sure that you are doing it right.
I can give you one example, there are many more.
Keep your hands in the neutral position with knuckles straight, slowly and gently spread your fingers as far apart as you can and hold this position for 5 seconds. From this position make a fist. Hold this position for 5 seconds.

Brufen along with antacids should help in pain relief.Try it once again. If that doesn't work,there are other pain relief medications like narcotic analgesics. However, it is a prescription drug.

Hope this helps
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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