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Hand Pain, Numbness and Tingling Might Not Be Carpal Tunnel

Anytime a person’s hand starts hurting, the first thing that comes to mind is Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, and that could be what’s causing the pain.  It is a very common condition, especially among people who have jobs that see them performing repetitive motions with their hands and wrists (machinists, anyone who types regularly, people who work checkout counters at grocery stores, and the like).

While Carpel Tunnel might be the root cause, it could be a couple of other things too, including:

Cervical Radiculopathy

This is a complicated sounding term with a simple explanation.  The pain or tingling you are feeling in your hands might be caused by a problem in your back or neck.

Both Carpel Tunnel and Cervical Radiculopathy impact the median nerve, and both can cause pain in your hands.  The main difference though, is that Carpel Tunnel only impacts your hands, where Cervical Radiculopathy will cause pain that runs the full length of your arm.  Basically, it will feel as though you’ve pulled every muscle in your arm.

There are lots of things that can trigger radiculopathy, including cervical spinal stenosis, cervical osteoarthritis, and degenerative disc disease. The most common cause, however, is a herniated disc.  Definitely rule this out before proceeding with a treatment plan that assumes you’re suffering from Carpel Tunnel Syndrome.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is another condition that can present with great similarity to Carpel Tunnel.  The key difference here is that rheumatoid arthritis pain is symmetrical.  It impacts both hands the same way, and at the same time, where Carpel Tunnel may only impact one, but not the other.  Also note that arthritis pain is centered in the knuckles and joints, rather than along the path of the median nerve, as is the case with Carpel Tunnel.

The bottom line is, don’t jump to conclusions.  If you’re experiencing pain in your hands, be sure to rule out these other conditions via consultation with your doctor before designing a treatment plan.

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