Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
The Complete Picture
It is very useful to have a full understanding of the Symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe.
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms can be intermittent, or constant.
Caution: If your symptoms are intermittent now, you can count on them becoming constant at some point in the future. Sooner or later. It's just the way the body works.
Like all syndromes, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a label for a collection of symptoms.
You don't have to have a narrowing of the carpal tunnel or nerve damage to have the symptoms. You don't even have to have all the symptoms to get the diagnosis.
Some doctors will put you through an exam and a battery of tests, like a
Nerve Conduction Test,
before labeling you as having CTS.
Others will just listen to your complaints and your usual daily activities before diagnosing you.
Maybe you have been accurately diagnosed. Maybe you haven't.
Ideally, your doctor will rule out other serious medical issues like tumors and other possible problematic issues of the wrist.
In our culture, we're subconsciously trained to believe that if we feel pain, there must be something wrong with us.
The good news is, just because you are experiencing Carpal Tunnel Symptoms like pain and numbness, that doesn't necessarily mean that there is something wrong with you.
Still, making small adjustments to your physical state can make drastic benefit.
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms and explanations --
*Wrist Pain and/or Hand Pain
Pain in the hand and wrist is one of the 'worst' Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms.
Pain in the hand and pain in the wrist can show up differently for different people. It can be burning, aching, sharp or dull, constant or recurring.
Normally, the onset of pain happens slowly over time, comes and goes, and gets worse as you continue to do the same activities that made it start hurting in the first place. Then it gets so bad that you realize that you have a problem that isn't going to go away.
It is likely that you also have tightness and pain in your forearms, front of your shoulders and your upper back.
If you press your fingers or thumb into the muscles in your thumb pad, you will likely find them to be -very- tender.
One possible cause of pain related to Carpel Tunnel is due to Vitamin B6 Deficiency that is caused by the inflammation that comes with CTS.
*Numbness in the thumb and first three fingers
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms can be scary. They hurt, and they feel....'real'.
Numbness is likely the scariest of all the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptoms.
As the dynamic of this particular Carpal Tunnel Symptom progresses, one can expect to get numbness and/or tingling in the fingers and even in the hand.
That's because the median nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel feeds the thumb and first three fingers, and part of the hand.
If you have numbness/tingling in your ring and pinky finger, this is because the cubital nerve that passes through the rear of your elbow is compressed. This causes a syndrome called Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.
When you have numbness/tingling again and again, or when it stops going away, it is normal to begin to worry that you are at risk for
Fortunately the overwhelming majority of people with numbness/tingling in their fingers do not actually get 'nerve damage', even if it has been numb for long periods of time.
In a decade of practice, I have yet to see a case of 'permanent' nerve damage.
As soon as the compression of the nerve is reduced, feeling starts coming back.
People with Carpal Tunnel symptoms are amazed by how fast and how much of the numbness and tingling go away when the direct and indirect causes of the compression are dealt with.
Even if they have had symptoms for years and years.
Having said that, the last remnants of numbness can take quite a while to get back to 'normal' if the compression has been severe, and/or for long periods of time.
People have been conditioned to think that they have a major problem on their hands (pun intended). And they do, unless they get access to the RIGHT information.
For a discussion on numbness and surgery, visit the
Carpal Tunnel Surgery
Carpal Tunnel Surgery Statistics
The question becomes, where is the nerve being compressed? The wrist? Or the forearm? The shoulder and front of the chest? The neck?
Or all of the above?
It seems that doctors do not take into account that nerve conduction can be reduced from areas other than the wrist(and they are not the only profession to overlook this).
*Shooting pain into the hand, sometimes up the arm
Shooting pain is the rarest of Carpal Tunnel symptoms.
For various reasons including repetitive motions, all the muscles and structure connected to your wrist (hand, forearm, shoulder, neck) become too tight. Then you start to feel pain.
After a certain amount of time of being too tight and hurting, the body becomes hyper-reactive.
This means your body gets more and more into a defensive mode.
The shooting pain is from short intense spasms of already severely tight, painful, unhappy muscles.
Consider that your body is trying to keep you safe from future harm. Ironically, the way it does that is by causing you pain.
Essentially, your body is trying to keep you from moving, in the hopes that you stop causing yourself more pain. Again, the irony, it uses more pain to do that.
Unfortunately, there's more to the story.
may help reduce the pain, but it does not change the dynamic of pain and tightness that has become your body's new habit. So if you start doing the actions that cause you pain after a period of rest, pain almost always returns.
Pain Causing Dynamic
is constant and deeply ingrained by the time you experience pain. It takes something to reverse it.
Primarily, you don't want to stop doing the activities that you love, or that you must do for work.
Of all the Carpal Tunnel Symptoms, shooting pain is the most misunderstood.
There is information throughout this website that can help you. The best way I've found to get your body out of pain and back to healthy function, is to visit my DVD page.
*Decreased range of motion
Of all the Carpal Tunnel Symptoms, decreased range of motion is the one that people notice less. We just get used to being able to move less and less. It becomes normal, and we just don't notice.
Muscles and connective tissue get tight, restricting our range a little. Then a little more, then a little more.
This causes some degree of tenderness or pain in the body.
In an attempt to protect you from pain, muscle and connective tissue get tight, more and more. This constricts the mobility of your wrist, fingers, and even your elbow joint.
Imagine wrapping your wrist tightly in saran wrap. Then imagine trying to move it around.
Essentially, the same thing is happening as your tissue shrink- wraps itself down around your bones.
WARNING! When your muscles are tight they compress your joints.
As your hands and arm hurt more and more, your muscles are getting tighter and tighter. This means your wrist joint is getting compressed, and your finger joints are getting compressed.
To some degree the joint is basically grinding when you move your wrist around. You are grinding your little finger joints when you are moving them around.
When you sleep at night, the joints are still compressed because your muscles stay tight.
All that pressure and grinding causes the body to try and protect itself. This can look like 'getting Arthritis'.
Technically, Arthritis isn't one of the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel.
But over the long term, I say the medical community should start looking at Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and Wrist Tendonitis, as a precursor to Arthritis in the wrist and fingers.
*Loss of hand strength
This can be a very distressing Carpal Tunnel Syndrome symptom.
As the nerve that feeds the arm, hand, and fingers gets more and more compressed by tight muscles, the nerve is less able to operate at full capacity.
Kind of like stepping on a hose, it slows or stops the flow of water.
You may be experiencing a barely noticeable decrease, or a severe loss of strength.
This loss of strength may mean that you drop small items, have a hard time handling objects, or you notice you just aren't gripping like you should be. You may find it impossible to open a jar.
Immediately as you open up the structures that are adding compression to the nerve, strength will begin to return. As you will see me say repeatedly throughout this site, it is rare that nerve compression happens –only- at the carpal tunnel.
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms are caused by an entire dynamic of muscle tightness, tissue shortening, and pain that results from that.
Loss of hand strength might also look like increased pain when trying to use your hands, like pain when trying to hold a cup or squeeze your fingers together.
This pain can be, but for the most part is not directly due to nerve compression. It is due to the many other factors like muscle tightness and
that are working together to make your structure very unhappy.
Did you know that there is a link between Carpal Tunnel and Arthritis?
The same dynamic that causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome can cause Arthritis, and Arthritis symptoms.
Carpal Tunnel Symptoms
Don't ignore them!
Ignoring Carpal Tunnel Symptoms and continuing to do what you've been doing physically results in the development of more changes to your structure and more severe symptoms.
That's just the way the body works.
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