By: Paul Kramer DC
Neck problems are a common cause of pain and numbness in the hands. The nerve involved in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is called the Median Nerve and it runs from your first three fingers, thru the carpal tunnel, up your arm, to your neck.
CTS happens when the tendons of the wrist swell and compress the median nerve as it passes thru the carpal tunnel.
However, if the nerve is pinched at the neck, you can get the same pain and numbness in the hands as when you have CTS. The symptoms are the same, but the nerve is compressed in the neck, not the wrist.
You can also have a condition called “double crush” where the nerve is compressed at both sites. Chiropractors have known for decades that the reason CTS surgery has such a high failure rate, is because undiagnosed neck problems are not addressed. A growing body of research is supporting treatment of the wrist and the neck for CTS.
An article appearing in the March 2009 issue of the Journal Of Orthopedic Sports and Physical Therapy showed that people with CTS have larger postural distortions in the neck and less range of motion than normal healthy people. Other studies have confirmed that pinched nerves in the neck are often mis-diagnosed as CTS.
Chiropractic treatment for CTS is simple, safe, economical and most of all very effective. It involves correctly positioning the bones that are out of place and putting pressure on the median nerve. Depending on what bones are involved, you may get treatment on your wrists, neck and back to correct your posture and relieve nerve pressure. You should be feeling better and getting back to normal activities in 2-4 weeks.
J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2009;39(9):658-664, Epub 19 March 2009.