Is It Worth Getting Carpal Tunnel Surgery
Most people with carpal tunnel syndrome only consider having surgery if other treatments dont provide enough relief. Surgery can help relieve symptoms or make them go away for good, but it is not without risks. In carpal tunnel syndrome the median nerve, which runs through the carpal tunnel in your wrist, is squashed.
Do I Have Carpal Tunnel Or Something Else
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common term that we hear from family and friends when we complain of numbness or pain in the wrist. Its the one condition that seems the most likely cause because its quite well known. However, just because carpal tunnel syndrome is well-known does not mean it is the only condition that causes wrist pain and numbness.
It is important to understand the symptoms of other common conditions that relate to the hand and wrist, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome, to rule out other possibilities.
In this article, we will cover common conditions that cause numbing, tingling, pain, or numbness in the fingers and wrists as well as what you should do if you believe you have one of these conditions.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when pressure is applied to your median nerve by the carpal bones. When swelling happens in your wrist, the carpal tunnel constricts the median nerve causing symptoms to appear. These symptoms could be radiating pain from the forearm to the shoulder, numbness, burning, or tingling starting at the thumb, pinky, or felt within the forearm.
The symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome typically start slow and are felt mostly at night. This is due to sleeping positions that cause restriction within the wrists. How to tell is if you feel the need to shake your wrist to regain feeling. As the condition worsens, you will begin to feel symptoms during the day while driving, typing, or talking on the phone.
Stretch For Increased Flexibility
Doing stretches that increase flexibility is one of the best ways to reduce pressure and tension in your neck and shoulder.
Remember to keep your stretches gentle. Pulling your muscles too deeply can worsen your symptoms.
The most effective time to do stretches is after you have done a warm-up exercise or after your workout.
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Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Tingling and numbness in palm, thumb, or first two fingers, especially during the night or in the morning. The sensation may cause people to want to shake out the hand.
- Aching pain in the wrist and hand, with occasional shooting pains up the forearm
- Weakness in the hands and fingers and trouble gripping or holding objects
Carpal tunnel syndrome is treated with nonsurgical methods such as splinting, ice therapy, and behavioral modifications. It can also be treated surgically with a procedure called carpal tunnel release.
Arm & Shoulder Pain Symptoms
Sometimes shoulder pain and arm pain can occur suddenly or it can occur slowly. Shoulder pain and arm pain can also occur immediately after an injury or the onset of symptoms can be delayed.
Symptoms may include deep pain, sharp pain, or a stiff shoulder, pain radiating down into the arm or up into the head. There might be tingling, numbness and pins and needles. There may be pain between the shoulder blades.
Sometimes people can be very unwell if there is a more serious cause like an infection or fracture of the spine.
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Understanding Your Neck Nerves
Your spine is made up of 33 small bones called vertebrae, and they stack one on top of the next in a long line commonly known as the spinal column. The bottom section is called the lumbar region, the middle is the thoracic section, and the top part your neck is the cervical region. Each vertebra is numbered, and the cervical section contains C1-C8.
In order to give your extremities feeling and movement, the nerves rooted in your spine branch out from in between your vertebrae and travel throughout your body. You have eight pairs of cervical nerve roots. If you have an injury or develop a condition such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, or a herniated disc that puts pressure on those cervical nerves, you may feel the effects not only in your neck, but in the places where those nerves travel.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms of cervical radiculopathy:
Surgery For Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
If surgery is needed, it’s typically done on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia . The ligament overlying the top of the carpal tunnel is cut to relieve pressure. The healed ligament will allow more space in the carpal tunnel. Sometimes the procedure is done endoscopically, using a tiny camera inserted through a very small incision to guide the procedure.
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Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Cause Shoulder Pain
The answer is yes carpal tunnel syndrome can cause shoulder pain. Such pain occurs because of something called referred pain. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a disorder that impacts your wrists nevertheless, it can also affect other areas of your body, including your neck and shoulders.
Referred pain occurs when a person experiences pain in one area due to an injury or condition in another area. For instance, if you have lower back discomfort, you may experience referred pain or radiating pain down your legs.
Can I Prevent Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
There are no proven ways to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome. But, there are things you can do to minimize the pain.
Take short breaks. Stretching or gently bending your hands is a good idea, especially if you use equipment that vibrates or requires force.
Avoid bending your wrist. Bending your wrist all the way up or down is never a good idea. Try to keep it in a relaxed middle position.
Check your posture. When you have bad posture, your shoulders tend to roll forward. This can shorten your neck and shoulder muscles, compressing nerves in your neck. This can have an impact on your wrists and hands too.
Check your computer mouse. Make sure your mouse is in a comfortable position and doesnt strain your wrist.
Keep your hands warm. When youre in a cold environment, your hands can hurt more. If you can control the temperature, it can help you have better movement of your hands and joints.
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Chronic Cold Hands: Symptoms Of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes numbness, tingling and other symptoms in the hand and arm, including cold hands.
Cold hands are a common symptom of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome along with pain in the shoulder, pain in the forearm and even in your neck. The most notable reason for chronic cold hands with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are caused by pinched nerves that restrict blood circulation which interferes with the healing process and most time leaving your hands cold regardless of the weather.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by a compressed nerve in the carpal tunnel, a narrow passageway on the palm side of your wrist. Two reasons for this condition is injured soft tissue and the other is inflammation that traps parts of the hand and wrist creating prtessure on the blood flow and causing numbing, tingling and cold hands.
Some of the cause of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Repetitive Motions, like typing, or any motions of the wrist that your do over and over. This typically occurs when your hands are lower than your wrists.
- Medical conditions, such as thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and obesity are common conditions that can be associated with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Be Causing Your Shoulder Pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a prevalent condition that involves a nerve in the wrist being squeezed or compressed. It can cause numbness, pain, and tingling in the hand and part of the arm when this happens.
The condition is often caused by repetitive motions of the wrist and fingers . Trauma to the wrists, such as a fracture, can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome, but this is less common.
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Nature Of Shoulder Pain
Shoulder pain arising due to neck pain often has characteristic features, which when present, involvement of the neck should be suspected.
- Pain in the neck region, radiating to the shoulders, arms and hands.
- Burning, tingling sensation or shooting pain in shoulders and arms.
- Shoulder and neck pain worsens on movement of neck.
- Shoulder pain is relieved when neck is supported, rested or when lying down.
- Using a neck brace, cold or warm compresses to the neck, provide relief to shoulder pain and reduce stiffness.
Some features that may be noted when shoulder pain is more local and may not be necessarily related to the neck include:
- Dull aching shoulder pain, may be around arms but not the hands.
- Shoulder pain worsens on movements of the shoulder and not of the neck.
- Pain in shoulder is experienced after a fall or blow to the shoulder.
- Shoulder pain is relieved after resting or supporting the arm.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Causes
Physical conditions like inflammatory arthritis and the fluid retention related to pregnancy can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. However, most cases are the result of repetitive stress injury, nerve damage, or anatomical anomalies.
For example, it is not unusual for people who work in the textile and fabric finishing industry to suffer from this condition. According to a 2018 CDC report, nearly 45% of all textile and fabric industry workers report carpal tunnel syndrome. Nearly 40% of all slaughterhouse workers report it as well.
We often hear of carpal tunnel syndrome among office workers who sit behind computers all day. When office work is the culprit, carpal tunnel syndrome can usually be traced to the patients position in front of the computer. The position of the persons hands relative to keyboard and mouse, along with chair height and distance to monitor, all play a role.
Fortunately, carpal tunnel syndrome is very treatable. A typical case can be addressed with anti-inflammatory medication, a wrist brace, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes. Only in the most serious cases is more aggressive treatment required.
Make a point to visit us at our clinic if you are suffering from chronic pain that you think could be related to carpal tunnel syndrome. Our highly experienced team of pain doctors are here to help you feel better.
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What Other Conditions Can Cause Similar Symptoms
Several of them. One, which doctors call de Quervain tenosynovitis, causes problems with the tendons that control your thumb. It hurts to turn your wrist, make a fist, or try to grasp an object. Your doctor can do some simple tests to tell whether you have this condition or carpal tunnel.
Other health problems that may seem like carpal tunnel syndrome include:
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Double Crush Syndrome And Recurrence
First, well start by saying that double crush is still considered a hypothesis rather than a proven fact. However, it certainly explains why relieving the pressure in the wrist doesnt always fix the problem. The idea behind double crush is that there is another location along the nerve where compression is occurring. We dont specifically say median nerve because double crush doesnt specifically refer to an issue with this nerve or to carpal tunnel. Rather, it is an issue in any peripheral nerve when compression is taking place at multiple points.
Since the median nerve goes all the way to the spinal cord in the neck, a misalignment in this area can potentially be the source of a second compression point. As a result, relieving pressure at the wrist only works temporarily. The initial issue in the neck will eventually cause symptoms to flare. This could explain why patients experience carpal tunnel again after surgery, sometimes even several years later.
This hypothesis would also explain why researchers have discovered a higher rate of arthritis in the neck when examining patients who experience carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms.
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What Are Some Risk Factors
Risk factors of carpal tunnel syndrome can vary. Here are some of the more common ones:
More women tend to get carpal tunnel syndrome than men. This may be because the carpal tunnel area is usually smaller in women than men. Women who get carpal tunnel also may have smaller carpal tunnel areas than women who dont get it.
Problems with Your Wrist
If youve fractured or dislocated your wrist or have arthritis, it can affect the small bones in the wrist. This can put pressure on the median nerve and alter the space in the carpal tunnel.
Diabetes and other chronic illnesses can increase your risk of nerve damage and lead to carpal tunnel
Rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions can affect your wrist and put pressure on the median nerve.
Obesity and Body Fluid Changes
Obese people are at risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome as are people who retain fluid.
People who work with vibrating tools or who repeatedly have to flex their wrist can develop carpal tunnel syndrome. This is because pressure is being put on the median nerve and can cause damage.
Many people who work at a desk may complain of carpal tunnel syndrome symptoms. Some studies have suggested that using a mouse can be linked to carpal tunnel, but there hasnt been enough evidence to strongly support that claim.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome And The Neck
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a problem that occurs when the median nerve is pinched as it passes through the tunnel at the wrist, resulting in numbness that includes the palm side of the hand, the thumb through digit three and the thumb-side half of the ring or fourth finger. So, how does the neck fit into the cause and/or the treatment of CTS? Lets take a look!
The neck is comprised of seven vertebrae and eight pairs of nerves that travel down the arms allowing us to feel sensations such as hot/cold, vibration, and sharp/dull. These nerves allow us to move our muscles and joints including the fingers, wrist, elbow, and shoulder. These eight pairs of nerve roots, like a super highway of eight lanes of traffic, eventually merge into the ulnar, median, and radial nerves that extend down our arms. The median nerve is the primary nerve involved in carpal tunnel syndrome, so lets take a look at the route that it takes as it leaves the cervical spine or neck.
If a fracture should occur anywhere along the route of the nerve, that too can cause a compression. The neck is a common location where the cause of the numbness can arise. The median nerve arises from three nerve roots that exit the neck therefore, ANYTHING that places pressure at this location in the neck can result in similar symptoms as CTS.
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Restoring The Neck Alignment: Key To Cts Pain Relief
A carpal tunnel syndrome chiropractor practicing NUCCA can help people find relief by focusing on the atlas vertebra, or the uppermost neck bone. This neck bone is significant because it supports the heads weight and protects the casing of the brainstem.
When a NUCCA doctor adjusts the neck bones, pressure on the arms and hands may immediately be relieved. You can also feel relaxed in other parts of your body. The good thing about NUCCA chiropractic is that it is gentle and safe for people of all ages.
TheNational Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association or NUCCA has a specially designed system to evaluate spinal misalignments. This includes precise x-rays and measurements of a persons neck and spine bone structure to check for structural imbalance.
To get your spine and nerve system evaluated Look for a NUCCA doctor in your area today.
Is Your Shoulder Pain Related To Your Numb Hands Or Fingers
n some people, shoulder pain may be a symptom of a nerve being pinched where it originates in the upper spine. ReadBlood and Nerve Supply of the Shoulder
Consider these conditions:
A pinched nerve, also called cervical radiculopathy, can result in shoulder pain, along with numbness and weakness in your arm and hand.1 Some patients describe the numbing sensation in their hands and fingers as pins and needles. A pinched nerve can occur when a nerve in the neck is squeezed or aggravated.1>
Brachial plexus injuries can cause shoulder pain and numbness and weakness in your arm and hand, among other symptoms.2 The brachial plexus refers to a web of nerves that starts in your neck. It controls feeling and movement in your hand and arm.3,4
Thoracic outlet syndrome is a condition that may cause shoulder and neck pain, as well as numbness in your fingers.5 It occurs when blood vessels or nerves in your collarbone and first rib are squeezed.5
Most of us experience minor instances of shoulder pain and numbness from time to time, and occasionally these symptoms are the result of a more serious medical condition. When it comes to shoulder pain and hand numbness, there are many causes for your doctor to consider.
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Shoulder & Neck Pain From The Carpal Tunnel
Most doctors and the general public are not aware that entrapment of a nerve as far down as the wrist can cause pain in the persons shoulder or neck. This can be the only symptom a person comes in with, i.e. they may not be complaining of numbness, tingling, clumsiness, or any nighttime symptoms. Usually the shoulder pain experienced in a person who is getting it from entrapment of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel is going to be in the area between the neck and the top of the shoulder . Occasionally, it is directly in the neck and sometimes in the general shoulder area. Many people who come in with carpal tunnel syndrome that are over the age of 30 have another problem at the same time as the carpal tunnel syndrome and thus, shoulder pain from motion of the shoulder is more likely to be from impingement syndrome.
Shoulder or neck pain coming from the carpal tunnel typically disappears immediately or almost immediately within a matter of days of the carpal tunnel release surgery. We have no way of determining in advance whether the pain in a persons shoulder or neck is going to be affected by their carpal tunnel release.
Khan, M.I. Carpal tunnel syndrome: A curable cause of chronic neck pain. Contemporary Orthopaedics, August 1988 Vol. 17, No. 2, pp. 29-__.
Kummel, B.M., Zazanis, G.A. Shoulder pain as the presenting complaint in carpal tunnel syndrome. Clinical Orthopaedics, May 1973 92:227-___.
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