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Is it really Carpal Tunnel?

Posted Oct 04 2009 11:11pm

A new patient came in recently with complaints of pinkie and ring finger tingling and thought she had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.  She had gone on line and typed in her symptoms and Carpal Tunnel is what they came up with.  So she went out and got a wrist brace but two weeks later her finger are still numb.  She wanted to know if she had to have surgery.

After hearing her history, I told her I didn’t think she had Carpal Tunnel.  I think she had a condition called Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.  The culprit in Carpal Tunnel is the Median Nerve which starts at the neck and travels down the arm to the thumb, index, middle and half the ring finger.  The Ulnar nerve also starts at the neck, travels down the arm, passes around the elbow and goes into the little finger and the other half of the ring finger.

The symptoms of Carpal Tunnel and Cubital Tunnel are similiar in that they both will cause numbess and tingling in the hand but in different fingers.  And this is important because doing Carpal Tunnel surgery on a Cubital Tunnel syndrome is like taking out the appendix for a gall bladder problem.  (Of course, as a Chiropractor, I would hate to see you have any of you God given organs removed).

The things that trigger Cubital Tunnel Syndrome are leaning on the elbow especially when you sit at a desk or keeping the elbow bent for long periods of time like during sleep.  In my office, we would treat the problem with Cold laser or ultrasound to reduce the inflammation, do some trigger point therapy including massage to the area and adjust the elbow and wrist.  Hand exercises and posture recommendations are important as well.  If you are concerned that your hand tingling might be Carpal Tunnel or Cubital Tunnel call our office at 860-620-9523 or visit our website at

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