Tingling In Your Hands—Is It Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Or Something Else? Understanding How Numbness Occurs In the Hands Resulting From Neck Injury

Tingling In Your Hands—Is It Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Or Something Else? Understanding How Numbness Occurs In the Hands Resulting From Neck Injury

When many patients tell me they experienced the sensation of numbness in their hands, they immediately and often incorrectly associated it with carpal tunnel syndrome(1). This numbness or tingling is often medically termed parestheisa which is defined as an abnormal sensation, typically tingling or pricking (“pins and needles”), caused chiefly by pressure on or damage to peripheral nerves. Numbness in the hands most often occurs when there is radiculopathy (pinched nerve) present in the neck or when you have knots in the muscles of the neck, shoulder, chest or forearms. I show them medical university charts showing lower neck nerves travel down into the arms and hands.

In radiculopathy the nerves extending to your arm from the neck are irritated or compressed at the neck causing radiation all the way down into the hands.

The nerves that go to your arms exit the spinal cord through the spaces between bones in your neck. These bones have cushions between them called discs. Even if you haven’t experienced a neck injury a nerve can be compressed if the disc material is pressing on the nerve.

If you have arthritis, you may develop bone spurs making the opening for the nerve small and causing nerve irritation and numbness.

In very uncommon instances, numbness can be caused by problems in your brain or spinal cord, although in such cases arm or hand weakness or loss of function also occurs. Numbness alone is only rarely associated with potentially life-threatening disorders, such as strokes or tumors.
— Mayo Clinic Staff, January 11, 2018

Because chiropractors are specialists in the nervous and musculature systems, they can expertly determine if your numbness and tingling is coming from a pinched nerve, disc, or arthritis and in some cases, truly carpal tunnel. 

If the problem is caused by a slipped disc commonly known as bulged, protruded or herniated disc the nerve can be permanently damaged by waiting and hoping that the problem will go away. Having an X-ray and sometimes an MRI can distinguish what the problem can be caused by. Occasionally, nerve conduction testing is done to see where the nerve blockage starts and if it is truly carpal tunnel. Whether it is a neck problem or carpal tunnel syndrome we at Wagner Chiropractic have had successful outcomes in the correct diagnosis and specific treatment options. Call us for a consultation or to book your appointment to begin the process of finding answers. Remember, when it comes to waiting with nerve issues permanent nerve damage can ensue. Don’t wait. Call us today.


  1. a painful condition of the hand and fingers caused by compression of a major nerve where it passes over the carpal bones through a passage at the front of the wrist, alongside the flexor tendons of the hand. It may be caused by repetitive movements over a long period, or by fluid retention, and is characterized by sensations of tingling, numbness, or burning.

  2. a band or sheet of connective tissue, primarily collagen, beneath the skin that attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs


#####

Endnotes:

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Numbness in Hands Causes.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 11 Jan. 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/numbness-in-hands/basics/causes/sym-20050842.

“Numb Hands.” Handcare.org, www.assh.org/handcare/hand-arm-injuries/Numbness.