Do I have carpal tunnel or arthritis? I realize both can seem interchangeable at times, since they make moving your fingers hurt and seem eased by pain relievers. However, they are different health conditions. Yes, but how do I tell the difference? Carpal tunnel syndrome is a repetitive stress injury. You know you do not have arthritis when changing your routine like switching to voice dictation, doing other tasks in between to break up the repetition or getting ergonomic tools makes it go away. Arthritis can make your hands hurt when you type or cook too.
Arthritis may be caused by an autoimmune attack on the joints, destruction of the cartilage or other reasons. You know you have arthritis when the joints balloon up and feel hot. I remember my grandmother’s hands looking like walnuts on little strings. But the swelling like that I thought was only in the autoimmune version of the disease. If you have carpal tunnel syndrome, the joints hurt but do not swell externally. It is internal swelling that causes the numbness and tingling you feel because of pressure on the nerve, and arthritis does not cause those symptoms either. What does arthritis in the hands do?.
You get swelling, warmth and tenderness to the touch, and if untreated, deformities in the finger joints. Have you seen carpal tunnel surgery scars? But that deformity is only after the surgery, whereas carpal tunnel only makes it hard to use the hands due to numbness and pain. Arthritis causes deformity whether you do nothing or not well, if you do nothing to treat it. How are they treated? Arthritis is treated with antiinflammatory meds and pain relievers.
So is carpal tunnel syndrome. Arthritis is often accompanied by morning stiffness, sometimes in large parts of the body, whereas carpal tunnel syndrome is not going to migrate up the elbow or shoulder. And arthritis causes joint stiffness before pain, whereas carpal tunnel just hurts to move. Assuming the nerve is not so compressed you can’t. It would be numb but not unable to move. With arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis, you can’t move the affected fingers though the feeling is fine.
So carpal tunnel affects the nerves, while arthritis affects the joints. Another difference between arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, assuming the arthritis is not triggered by a severe injury, is that arthritis is in the joints equally, like both hands. It is rare for both hands to have carpal tunnel syndrome equally. So if it is mostly the hand I use the most, it is probably carpal tunnel syndrome. But regardless of what you think you have, see a so you do not have it get worse, and lose partial use of the hands.
Top 3 Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
This is the Top 3 Exercises for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Carpal tunnel syndrome involves a nerve called the median nerve. The median nerve starts at C5 to T1 which is right here. So about the middle lower part of your neck. The nerve travels down your arm, down the front of your arm, in front your elbow and into the hand. It innervates or gives sensation to the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger. So that is your median nerve. That is the nerve that is problematic in carpal tunnel syndrome. The carpal tunnel is right here. So carpal means wrist bones. There is actually a little tunnel formed with a little sheath over top where that median nerve goes.
Through. People with carpal tunnel syndrome what they will see is they will have numbness in that area. Then this area right here in the thumb is called the thenar eminence, that area will begin wasting away. What happens is frequently that is becoming pinched here. Also what can happen is you can get pressure on the median nerve in the neck, in this area right here especially with an elevated first rib. It can also happen down the arm as well. So these are the top 3 exercises that we do for carpal tunnel syndrome. Frequent problems are this. This movement right here. If that is painful or causes numbness or tingling into your hands especially into this area, that is.
Carpal tunnel. That is called Phalen’s or reverse Phalen’s test. Exercise 1 that we do for carpal tunnel syndrome. To stretch the median nerve, you do palm up, hand down, elbow straight. You should feel a stretch right through here. Then what you can do is take your ear to the opposite shoulder. So you head is going away from you hand. In the we do a 30 second hold. As people get more advanced, they put their hand on the wall and lean the opposite way. 30 second hold, 3 times. Another thing that we do is a something called a median nerve release and it goes like this: Hand stretched out, make a fist, first. Hold it for 5 seconds. Hand out straight,.
Hold 5 seconds. Make almost like a puppet position, hold 5 seconds. Palm up, hold 5 seconds. Reach underneath, grab the thumb, pull back, hold 5 seconds. That is exercise 2. Frequently we will have people go through that 2 or 3 times. Exercise 3 is called a first rib stretch. What we do is this: we take a towel, if I have carpal tunnel on the right side, and I have some sort of tightness right here in what is called the brachial plexus but basically right here, this area. If somebody has carpal tunnel and they are going like this a lot especially if they are a rightsided sleeper, this is an area that we want to address. You can get carpal tunnel symptoms from pressure.
On the median nerve right here. It is frequently missed even with an xray or an MRI. What we do is we put the towel directly on this area which your first rib is right here. The towel is over top of your shoulder, pull down, one arm in the front, one hand in the back. Then you lean the opposite direction. You are going to feel a really nice stretch right through here. In the here, we do a 30 second hold, 3 times. That is the top 3 exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome.