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Cervical Disc Herniations and Carpal Tunnel Symptoms

Posted Jun 02 2009 4:34pm

San Francisco Chiropractic Doctor and Carpal Tunnel Specialist comments on the relationship Between Disc Herniations in The Neck and Symptoms in the Arm & Hand:

Tec_013c1 It is fairly common to be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome when you have pain, numbness/tingling, or weakness in the hands. The thing is...You get the same symptoms in the hands when you have disc herniations in the neck. The reason for this is that the median nerve which is the nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel in the hand, originates in the neck.  So,  pressure on the nerve roots in the neck, where the nerves exit from in between the cervical vertebrae can cause the same symptoms as pressure on the median nerve in the hand. I know it's a little confusing, just as it is for many doctors that are examining patients with arm and hand pain. Doctors that don't specialize in carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive stress injuries have a lot of trouble correctly diagnosing these problems. Especially emergency room doctors. It's best to do your home work and find a carpal tunnel doctor. Go online and read as much as you can about what they do. It really will pay-off.

The last thing you want if you have disc herniations in the neck is to be diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. The part that is confusing to the inexperienced doctor, as well as the patient, is that often times there are no symptoms in the neck. That's right. You can have bulging discs, herniated discs, or badly degenerated discs in the cervical spine and not have any neck pain. The only symptoms are the burning, aching, throbbing, arms and hands. Who wouldn't think the problem was in the hands? A carpal tunnel expert, that's who. Any carpal tunnel doctor that knows what they are doing will do a thorough exam from the neck to the fingertips, on both upper extremities. If herniated discs in the neck are suspected, a cervical x-ray or MRI will be ordered. I will usually start with an x-ray of the neck, then order an MRI of the cervical spine at a later date if necessary.  Sometimes we need an EMG, which is a nerve study that is considered the gold standard for carpal tunnel diagnosis. The point is...you want a doctor that knows how to diagnose and how to treat CTS and disc herniations, without surgery if possible.

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