Neck pain is not uncommon in working mums but when you get an added symptoms such as wrist, hand and fingers pain & tingling numbness (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome), it can be a bit confusing to determine if these symptoms are caused by the neck pain or are these two separate issues? In this blog, we will discuss these two conditions and how they may be related to each other.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is seen as pain and tingling numbness in the wrist, hand and fingers due to irritation or compression of the median nerve at the wrist. The Median Nerve originates in the neck and travels down the arm into the wrist where is passes through a bony tunnel known as the Carpal tunnel. This can be caused due to various reasons such as fluid retention (swelling) in the wrist in pregnancy or a fracture or repetitive strain injuries, commonly seen in computer user who type or use a mouse for hours without a break. You can read more about Carpal tunnel syndrome and its symptoms HERE.
Now lets consider how neck pain can cause wrist, hand and fingers pain and tingling numbness. If the nerves that exit the cervical spine (neck) are irritated or compressed due to a poor posture, disc issue or spinal stenosis or any other reason for neck pain, they will produce nerve pain in their area of distribution. Irritation of nerves in the lower cervical spine can lead to tingling numbness, burning or heaviness in the wrist, hand and fingers.
There are two distinct ways to differentiate if your wrist, hand and fingers pain and tingling numbness is caused by the neck pain or if they are two separate issues?
Firstly, if activities that aggravate your neck pain also cause an increase in the Carpal tunnel symptoms then it is possible that the neck and wrist/hand symptoms are related. In addition to this, activities that relieve your neck pain, such as hot or cold packs or gentle stretches will also cause a decrease in the Carpal tunnel symptoms.
Secondly, if the Median nerve is affected at the wrist, the symptoms of pain and tingling numbness are seen specifically in the thumb, ring finger and half of the middle finger.
If you are still in doubt, your doctor can do some physical examinations and give you a certain diagnosis. If you want to learn more about easy ways to manage your neck and nerve pain, join my free community where we have done free trainings on "Simple Solutions to Manage your Neck Pain" and "Simple Solutions to Manage your Nerve Pain"
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