The Neck-Wrist Connection

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In many cases of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, a second source of compression occurs in the neck where the median nerve begins! Cervical vertebrae (neck bones) can misalign as a result of poor posture, bad habits like cradling a phone with your neck or sleeping on your stomach; and from previous neck trauma, like for instance, a car accident.

Doctors refer to this condition as a “double lesion neuropathy,” or “double crush syndrome.”

Even if treatment to the wrist successfully removes nerve compression in that location, symptoms will continue to persist if nerve compression in the neck remains!

Many doctors fail to examine the neck when diagnosing and treating CTS, and unfortunately, many CTS sufferers don’t get the treatment that they really need! 

Standard medical treatment for CTS typically consists of prescription pain blockers, anti-inflammatory medication, hand stretches and exercises, wrist splinting, ultrasound treatment, and massage. If these methods fail, cortisone injections to the wrist are usually done to reduce inflammation (does all of this sound familiar?). By this time, the treating doctor may order two diagnostic tests: a needle EMG and a nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test. These are uncomfortable procedures that measure muscle and nerve function. If it is determined that the nerve is not functioning properly, wrist surgery becomes the final option: an incision is made on the wrist, and the transverse carpal ligament‹a band-like ligament directly over the carpal tunnel‹is cut in half in an attempt to relieve internal pressure. This is a risky procedure that oftentimes results in accidental cutting of adjacent nerves in the hand. Surgery has also been known to result in scar tissue formation, which can actually make the condition worse.