How To Cope With Pain Blog header image 1

Does Carpal Tunnel Pain Spread?

August 9th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition with pain, numbness and weakness in certain areas of the hand.  The “carpal tunnel” is a narrow canal in your wrist that protects a major nerve going to your hand and tendons that bend your fingers.  When this nerve is pressed upon, numbness, pain and weakness can result.

Who gets carpal tunnel?  People at risk include those who do repetitive tasks such as assembly line work (manufacturing, sewing, cleaning, food packing), data-entry workers, and computers users.  Women are 3x as likely to develop carpal tunnel compared to men.  Illnesses such as diabetes that affect nerves make them more susceptible to the condition.

Fortunately, proper treatment usually relieves the symptoms and restores normal use of a patient’s wrist and hand.

A recent study by Zanette’s group from Italy looked at the spread of carpal tunnel symptoms to other areas of the hand and up the arm.   Spread of pain occurred in 33% of patients.  Other symptoms included sensitivity to temperature and touch, and pain getting worse and worse with repeated stimulation.  The researchers proposed that sensitization was occurring in the spine and brain.

Importantly, because of these changes in the spine and brain, pain may persist even after treatment of the wrist area.

Another article about sensitization is “Pain Brings on More Pain.”

The study: “Central sensitization in carpal tunnel syndrome with extraterritorial spread of sensory symptoms.”

You can find more info about carpal tunnel at these website:  NIH and Mayo Clinic.

Sign up for free delivery of How to Cope with Pain by email or RSS feed. If you liked this post, I'd appreciate your linking to it from your site or spreading the word through your favorite social media.

Tags: 1

5 responses so far ↓

  • kmom // Aug 9, 2010 at 10:21 am

    For me, symptoms of carpal tunnel were the thing that drove me to my Dr.’s office, and eventually the dx of rheumatoid arthritis was made. Sometimes it isn’t repetitive use, but rather swelling that leads to the symptoms.
    With treatment the symptoms decreased, and when the RA flares up, the symptoms return.

  • Emg Test @ Jassica // Feb 25, 2011 at 2:18 am

    The best way to treat carpal tunnel syndrome is to prevent it from happening! If you use your wrist and fingers a lot, take the following precautions:

    * Shake out your wrists gently for about 10 seconds.
    * Rotate your wrists gently – 5 times clockwise, 5 times counter-clockwise.
    * Hold your arm straight in front of you, palm facing outward. Use the other hand to gently pull back your fingertips. Hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat with the other arm.

  • Buffalo Chiropractor // Apr 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is a problem affecting many people in todays society. With more and more daily activities involving computers and computer related activities I am seeing more and more patients with CTS. I find that CTS can have multiple origins: 1 – Cervical misalignments 2- Carpal Bone misalignments 3 – Weak extensor muscles. At home try to strengthen the extensor muscles of the forearm and fingers / hand. This will help to stabilize the muscular component and may reduce your symptoms. If you do not find the exercises of good results consult a local chiropractor as I have helped patients avoid Carpal Tunnel Surgery.

  • Carpal Tunnel // Oct 26, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Thank you for always keeping us inform about this. It’s a nice topic that surely people can relate much. Thank you for the shared this to us.

  • skythia // Aug 8, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Some test can help you to determine if you have the signs of CTS. This maneuver can help you:
    You rest your elbows on a flat surface such as a desk, with your elbows bent and your forearms up. You then flex your wrists, letting your hands hang down for about 60 seconds. If you feel tingling, numbness, or pain in the fingers within 60 seconds, you may have carpal tunnel syndrome.
    Please visit on this site for further information.

Leave a Comment