Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and The Neck

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and The Neck

Many people who complain of wrist or hand pain often think it’s Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. In reality pain in your hands can actually be linked to issues with your neck.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a specific type of hand pain. The majority of patients that have complaints about hand pain don’t have the right pattern of pain for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Many people with hand or wrist pain, also have neck problems. Neck issues can actually create pain all the way down the arm.

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Transcript: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and the neck

Dr. Heather Tick: Many patients say to me: “Doctor I don’t understand. Everybody tells me I have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and you’re telling me it’s my neck.” Over the years, I have treated a lot of people who have come to me, who had hand pain and they had been told that it was Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is indeed hand pain but it’s a very particular kind of hand pain, and it involves more than just the hand in the vast majority of cases. Now there are a few cases where people have certain conditions that make the bones and their wrists growth too big or when they have a crush injury or when they have rheumatoid arthritis. Those people may have just an isolated problem in the wrists but again, that’s not the vast majority of people.

Most of the people who have come to me don’t even have the right pattern of pain in the fingers and hands to actually mean Carpal Tunnel but most people with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome also have neck problems. They can’t turn their head properly. They can’t tilt their head properly and these muscles in the neck are squeezing the nerves as they try and come out from the back of the neck down into the shoulder and then down into the arm and the hand. And so the muscles might be squeezing here, this is another site right here at the top of the shoulder, the front of the shoulder where the muscles might be squeezing. The top of the arm and then down into the forearm here and then the Carpal Tunnel is here. This tiny little thing and so if you can imagine that you are trying to water the garden and you have three different things that are compressing the hose, so there’s three different places that a little bit of that water is being cut off. By the time you get to the end, there’s going to be no water coming out and that’s what happening. It seems that this is the problem but it actually the whole pathway of along the arm.

2017-06-15T12:33:18+00:00 November 17th, 2016|Pain Management|

About the Author:

For over 20 years Dr. Tick has dedicated herself to researching evidence-based holistic treatments for pain and inflammation. A multiple-book author, including the highly acclaimed Holistic Pain Relief - An In-Depth Guide to Managing Chronic Pain, Dr. Tick empowers her patients to live free of pain and full of life. She is the first holder of the prestigious Gunn-Loke Endowed Professorship of Integrative Pain Medicine at the University of Washington and a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington in the departments of Family Medicine and Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine.

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