Jun 10, 2009

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Neck Pain

One of my biggest problems with the standard medical treatments for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is that, like most western remedies, they treat the symptoms rather than the cause. Let's say you're having pain in your wrists. You go to the doctor and they suggest that your problem is compression of the Median Nerve, the primary "cause" of CTS. But your median nerve doesn't just appear in your wrist and disappear when it hits your elbow. No, it travels all the way past your elbow, up to your shoulders, your neck and (surprise!) your SPINE.

Everyone knows that poor sitting posture contributes CTS, but doctors - especially wrist and hand specialists - rarely ask you how your back and neck is feeling when you tell them your wrists hurt. This is a big mistake on their part. Throwing ibuprofen at the problem won't help you if the muscle tension and poor posture that are causing your pain continue to go untreated.

There's a great post on this issue at Dr. Davis' Back and Neck Blog, which recommends seeing someone with chiropractic experience in the upper spinal regions. My recommendation? Stretch your neck! I'm no doctor, but I know from experience that this can help immensely.

My Favorite Neck Stretches for Wrist Pain

Performing regular neck stretches has been a lifesaver for me. Here is my #1 all time favorite carpal tunnel relieving exercise, which I can reel working all the way down to my fingertips. I highly recommend it.

1. Hold your right arm behind your back, pulling down gently with your left hand. Tilt your head to the left from the crown up, keeping your face and gaze forward, until you feel a stretch in the side of your neck. Hold for 30 seconds.







2. Hold your right arm behind your back, pulling down gently with your left hand.This time, turn your head and face sideways, so that you are looking off to your left. Hold for 30 seconds, switch arms, repeat.

3. Below is another favorite stretch of mine, which is pretty much self explanatory. I especially like the second triceps stretch, since for me the pain often travels all the way up my arms.


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  1. Your article is good as it explains that CTS does have a cause and we can get rid of the cause(s.) And, I'm glad you have paid so much attention to your body and what works for you. :-) However, I would caution readers to be very thoughtful and slow if they try the side neck stretches. Readers should pay rapt attention and stop at any sign of "too much." Necks sometimes get fussy with sideways stretches.

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