Do your hands ever tingle or go numb? Do your wrists ache and burn? Your thoughts might immediately turn to carpal tunnel syndrome, or CTS, a condition that occurs when the nerve passing through your wrist is pressed or squeezed.
The problem is the symptoms of CTS are present with many other conditions, which leads to misdiagnosis in over 50 percent of cases. Particularly if burning, tingling or numbness occurs in areas other than your wrists, you probably don’t have carpal tunnel syndrome.
At Spine Correction Center of the Rockies, we begin your treatment program by assessing the real cause of your pain and discomfort. We’re dedicated to determining whether you really have carpal tunnel syndrome or another condition commonly mistaken for CTS. Some of these conditions, as outlined by East Kent Hospitals University, include but are not limited to the following:
- What is it? According to WebMD, when nerve function in the neck is disrupted, it can cause pain and numbness along the nerve’s pathway, which travels down the arm and into the hand.
- What causes it? This condition is caused by a ruptured disc, arthritis or bone degeneration. It’s most commonly seen in middle-aged people or as the result of trauma in younger people.
- What’s the treatment? Usually, a combination of pain medication and physical therapy is used to treat cervical radiculopathy. If nerve compression is too severe, surgery may be necessary.
- What is it? This condition describes any problem with the nerves. The most common types of neuropathy that cause pain and discomfort in the elbow or wrist include ulnar neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy and diabetic neuropathy.
- What causes it? According to Medical News Today, 30 percent of neuropathy cases are of unknown cause. Others may be caused by diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, medications, liver or kidney disease, infections, and more.
- What’s the treatment? Spine Correction Center of the Rockies treats neuropathy by addressing the underlying cause and treating symptoms with various techniques, including non-invasive, chiropractic therapies.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
- What is it? This condition occurs when blood vessels or nerves between the collarbone and first rib are compressed, states the Mayo Clinic. This results in shoulder and neck pain along with numbness in the hands and fingers.
- What causes it? Physical trauma such as a car accident or sports injury is the most common cause. Pregnancy and anatomical defects, such as having an extra rib, can also cause thoracic outlet syndrome.
- What’s the treatment? Physical therapy and pain relief measures usually help the condition improve. Surgery is a last resort.
- What is it? According to WebMD, arthritis is characterized by joint redness, swelling, pain and stiffness. If the symptoms appear in the hands and wrist, arthritis can be mistakenly diagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome.
- What causes it? Osteoarthritis, the most common form, is caused by normal wear and tear and occurs in old age. Rheumatoid arthritis often occurs in younger patients and is caused when the immune system attacks the lining surrounding your joints.
- What’s the treatment? Current treatments often include synthetic drugs and, in severe cases, surgery. However, this pharmaceutical approach is not effective for 20 to 40 percent of arthritis sufferers. Spine Correction Center of the Rockies treats arthritis with stem cell therapy, a promising alternative to surgery. We’re one of the few clinics in the country that offers this option for safe, natural healing.
- What is it? This immune system disorder attacks the protective sheath covering your nerves, causing the nerves to deteriorate. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms vary widely and may include numbness and tingling in the limbs. It can be mistaken for CTS in the early stages.
- What causes it? The cause is unknown, though a combination of factors, such as genetics and childhood infections, may come into play.
- What’s the treatment? There’s no cure for MS. Treatments focus on slowing the disease’s progression and managing symptoms. They include corticosteroids and plasma exchange.
- What is it? According to the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, focal dystonia of the forearm, also known as writer’s cramp, is when your fingers, hand or forearm flex and seize when trying to perform fine motor movements, such as writing, holding a utensil or playing a musical instrument.
- What causes it? Writer’s cramp can be inherited or appear with no family history and no other apparent cause.
- What’s the treatment? Occupational therapy and using adapted devices are common ways to avoid triggering dystonic movements.
Whether you think you have carpal tunnel syndrome or one of these conditions highlighted here, there’s no reason to live in pain. Contact Spine Correction Center of the Rockies or call us at (970) 658-5115 to set up an appointment and let us know how we can help you.