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woman with carpal tunnel pain


CTS is one of the most common conditions affecting the nerves of the hand. It is estimated that almost 5% of women and 3% of men have CTS. Most cases of CTS develop in people who are between 45-64 years of age.

Fortunately, not all wrist pain should be called CTS. It is important to determine, if in fact, the symptoms are being caused by the pressure on the nerves of the wrist, or if there is a different cause of the problem. It is VERY common for these types of symptoms to exist when there is a neck misalignment, history of auto injury, or other spinal conditions. The nerves of the neck control all the nerves of our arms and hands. If the nerves of the neck are being compressed, wrist and hand pain is a common symptom.

Your doctor of chiropractic is trained to determine whether your condition is a true carpal tunnel syndrome.

Physical therapy and/or specific adjustments of the wrist to alleviate the symptoms of true CTS can be performed. In more serious cases, a surgical referral may be required.

If you are experiencing CTS symptoms, chiropractic treatment is an excellent choice with which to begin. Chiropractic treatment should definitely be considered before more aggressive treatments, such as drugs or surgery, are attempted.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is associated by symptoms and signs, which are caused by compression of the median nerve travelling through the carpal tunnel.

For most patients, the cause of their carpal tunnel syndrome is unknown. Any condition that exerts pressure on the median nerve at the wrist can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.

Common conditions that can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome include obesity, pregnancy, hypothyroidism, arthritis, diabetes, and trauma. Tendon inflammation resulting from repetitive work, such as uninterrupted typing, can also cause carpal tunnel symptoms.

Carpal tunnel syndrome from repetitive maneuvers has been referred to as one of the repetitive stress injuries. Some rare diseases can cause deposition of abnormal substances in and around the carpal tunnel, leading to nerve irritation.

person holding their hand because of pain
patient receiving massage of the arm


What Can I Do To Ease the Pain Temporarily?​​

Place the hand in the neutral non-flexed position and avoid bending the wrist.

If you have pain that may be associated with this syndrome, apply an ice pack or cold compress to the wrist to help reduce any inflammation and thereby decrease the pain. Use the compress for 20 to 30 minute periods with at least a 30 minute interval between each application.

For chronic pain, apply moist heat to the wrist. Use the heat for 20-minute periods with at least a 30-minute interval between each application.


At the workplace, workers can do on-the-job conditioning, perform stretching exercises, take frequent rest breaks, wear splints to keep wrists straight, and use correct posture and wrist position. Wearing finger-less gloves can help keep hands warm and flexible.

Workstations, tools and tool handles, and tasks can be redesigned to enable the worker’s wrist to maintain a natural position during work. Jobs can be rotated among workers. Employers can develop programs in ergonomics, the process of adapting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of workers. However, research has not conclusively shown that these workplace changes prevent the occurrence of carpal tunnel syndrome.

close up of two hands
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