San Francisco Chiropractor and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Doctor Comments:
The nerves that control the arm and hand exit from in between bones in the lower part of the neck and upper back. These nerves then pass through neck muscles and other soft tissue structures as they travel down the arm and into the hand. One of the nerves, the median nerve travels through a tunnel in the wrist called the "carpal tunnel" and when there is pressure on this nerve it can lead to "carpal tunnel syndrome"...a painful hand condition.
Pressure on the nerve roots as they branch off the spinal cord and exit from in between the vertebrae of the neck and upper back can actually cause symptoms in the target cells of the arm and hand. And you may or may not have neck pain or back pain.
Cervical nerve root pressure can be caused by bones out of alignment...what chiropractors refer to as a "vertebral subluxation"...or other conditions such as a pinched nerve, herniated or bulging disc, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, or arthritis.
The symptoms of nerve pressure in the neck or upper back can vary person to person, but some of the most common are hand pain, arm pain, numbness/tingling in the arm & hand, night pain, weakness of grip, and loss of dexterity. These are almost the exact same signs and symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). In fact, cervical nerve pressure (that you don't necessarily know you have) can predispose someone to CTS. It can be very confusing.
This is why it's so important to be checked by an expert...someone that deals with back, neck, and wrist pain day in and day out. At Executive Express Chiropractic we check the full spine and the neck to the fingertips on both sides with anyone that presents with any kind of upper extremity disorder. And we treat the full spine, neck to fingertips as well. We want to remove any and all nerve pressure from the neck and back...all the way to the wrists...so the body can heal itself. Anything less is not good enough...at least for us.
Sometimes this is not easy and takes a while. Other times the pain goes away in a few days. It just depends how long the problem has been there and the severity of the condition.
One thing for sure...you don't want to ignore hand pain...because when hand pain becomes chronic it is much more difficult to treat. And yes, the hands are connected to the neck and back...connected by nerves that control their function. So find yourself a good chiropractor...one that routinely treats neck, back, and arm pain. Because chances are...you will be glad you did.