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Thread: Pinched Nerves and Hand Tremor?

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    Default Pinched Nerves and Hand Tremor?

    I play the banjo/mandolin/guitar. I'm a rank amateur, but it means a lot to me. I have some cervical stenosis and have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel in both hands. Sometimes I get postural or intention tremors, nothing to the level of dysfunction that banjo great Eddie Adcock had, but just enough to compromise my hand dexterity and banjo playing a bit. Does anyone know, as a general thing, if cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerves in neck) or carpal tunnel syndrome (pinched nerves in wrist) or cubital tunnel syndrome (pinched nerves in elbow) or thoracic outlet syndrome (pinched nerves in the shoulder area) EVER cause hand tremors? Thanks for any help or advice you can give to me.

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    Layer of Complexity Kevin Knippa's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pinched Nerves and Hand Tremor?

    I have a stenosis in my neck. Ultimately physical therapy eased the symptoms, but it did initially cause involuntary movements, which could be described as tremors, and weakness, as well as nerve pain.

    Search online for "nerve flossing" which are exercises to help keep the nerves moving through the constriction points.

    My neurologist suggested the books Treat Your Own Neck and Treat Your Own Back, both by Robin McKenzie, too. I found multiple copies at a local used bookstore.

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    Registered User Erin M's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pinched Nerves and Hand Tremor?

    Quote Originally Posted by timacn View Post
    I play the banjo/mandolin/guitar. I'm a rank amateur, but it means a lot to me. I have some cervical stenosis and have been diagnosed with carpal tunnel in both hands. Sometimes I get postural or intention tremors, nothing to the level of dysfunction that banjo great Eddie Adcock had, but just enough to compromise my hand dexterity and banjo playing a bit. Does anyone know, as a general thing, if cervical radiculopathy (pinched nerves in neck) or carpal tunnel syndrome (pinched nerves in wrist) or cubital tunnel syndrome (pinched nerves in elbow) or thoracic outlet syndrome (pinched nerves in the shoulder area) EVER cause hand tremors? Thanks for any help or advice you can give to me.
    Any compression in vertebrae starting with C5 through C7 (including the C8 spinal nerve) can cause all sorts of problems down the arms and hands. Numbness or tingling are common but not universal (but may be triggered in certain positions or movements). Muscle tone can degrade with nerve impingement which can certainly cause tremors.

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is its own condition and is independent of cervical spine problems, but since things are so interconnected, problems in the cervical spine may affect how you are using your hands which may contribute to CTS.

    I have compression from C5 through C7 (including C8 nerve) as well as C4 which affects mainly muscles in the neck area. My hands aren't too badly affected, though my left pinky can get a little twitchy from time to time. Also some intention tremor when rotating my left arm/wrist occasionally. Most of my problems are still in and around my neck where I actually have an occasional mild dystonic tremor.

    I'm doing some physiotherapy for it, but it's only postponing the inevitable, I think. I have to weigh the options of surgery - it's really a roll of the dice with a 1/3 chance of it helping, a 1/3 chance of it doing nothing, and a 1/3 chance of surgery making it worse.

    Here's the book Kevin suggested: https://www.optp.com/Treat-Your-Own-Neck and more info here: https://www.mckenziemethod.com/about...own-neck-pain/

    You'd probably need to get imaging done (if you haven't already) to see the extent of the damage. I need to get mine again soon since it's been almost 10 years and I'm curious how much worse it's gotten.

    Only a doc is qualified to give medical advice after an exam, but I will emphatically say this much: please - PLEASE - stay away from chiropractors. Just doing a quick search for "Cervical artery dissection" should be easily enough to put anybody off of ever seeing a chiropractor (along with risks of stroke).
    Last edited by Erin M; Sep-10-2020 at 7:12pm.
    "Flow, river flow. Let your waters wash down, take me from this road, to some other town." - Roger McGuinn

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pinched Nerves and Hand Tremor?

    About 10 years ago I had C3-C4-C5 fusion surgery due to degenerative disc disease. This was coincidental with, but not directly related to a bout of GBS that I was experiencing at the time. I did have some tremors at that time but it wasn't really a consistent or serious problem. While the surgery solved other issues, the tremors have continued. I was told after the surgery that another fusion of C-5 and lower might be helpful, but I have decided against it because of the loss of movement I've experienced with the first surgery.

    Tremors seem to happen for a lot of reasons, including but not limited to degenerative disc disease or other physical issues. In my experience, that includes a form of stage fright to a large degree. I perform well for casual stage situations, but if I get nervous, especially in situations where I know I am out of touch with the audience, usually tremors are the first thing that I notice.

    Postures make a big difference too and different instruments require different postures. In my case, I never get tremors playing double bass or mandolin, just playing banjo, so there's also something about my posture with banjo that allows this to happen.

    Anyway, one thing for sure, worrying about it doesn't help. For me, having alternative postures and techniques ready for when tremors occur seems to be the biggest help. It doesn't make it perfect, but eventually the tremors subside and then I can play normally.

    And for me, feeling more in touch with the audience provides a more casual and stress-free playing environment, and that helps me a lot.
    -- Don

    "Music: A minor auditory irritation occasionally characterized as pleasant."
    "It is a lot more fun to make music than it is to argue about it."


    2002 Gibson F-9
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