Hand Numb: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome? 3 Self Tests
Is it Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, is a buzz word today among many people, especially office workers. There is an assumption that most hand pain or numbness is carpal tunnel. The fact is, not all hand pain is CTS.
CTS typically causes a numbness or tingling in the thumb and first two fingers. This is the area that the median nerve provides sensation to. True carpal tunnel is a compression of this nerve in the underside of the wrist. It is commonly aggravated if the wrist is kept in a flexed (bent forward position) for long periods of time, like sleeping at night.
In many cases, what individuals attribute to CTS are other problem areas. These include nerve root irritation in the neck, shoulder or elbow. In some cases, there is compression at the wrist as well as the neck: this is known as a “double crush syndrome.”
The following are three home test that can be performed to give an idea if your symptoms are caused by CTS. These are standard orthopedic/neurological tests and results, positive or negative, should be verified by a chiropractic physician.
In the Tinel test, tap on the median nerve in the patient’s wrist. The test is positive when tingling in the fingers or a resultant shock-like sensation occurs.
The Phalen, or wrist-flexion, test involves having the patient hold his or her forearms upright by pointing the fingers down and pressing the backs of the hands together.
In this test, apply pressure at the carpal tunnel for 30 seconds. Production of tingling in the fingers suggests carpal tunnel syndrome.
Should any of these test produce numbness or tingling OR if they do not AND you still experience hand pain or numbness, CLICK TO CALL NOW for a FREE consultation. The key to treating carpal tunnel syndrome is a correct diagnosis.
Dr. Schmaltz’ approach to carpal tunnel is to thoroughly examine from the fingers to the neck, looking for the cause of the symptoms. In most cases, there are multiple levels of nerve irritation such as in the wrist, elbow, shoulder or neck. All areas of irritation must be treated to effectively relieve the symptoms.