Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Can I Diagnose It Myself?

We are so used to fixing everyday problems ourselves in today’s world that we sometimes take the same approach when it comes to healthcare.  We are bombarded by advertising messages that tell us if we have a pain in the wrist or back, then just go to the drug store and get some pills. The messages seem to make sense. If I have a problem with my wrist, then it must be carpal tunnel syndrome, right?

Nothing could be further from the truth. The reality is that hand and wrist pain or numbness can come from many different causes—some even very serious diseases such as cancer. Even a disease such as diabetes can show up as wrist or hand pain. There are also different types of arthritis that can show similar symptoms. Only through x-rays and laboratory tests can these distinctions be made.

Also at issue is the fact that long nerves run from your neck and spinal cord and down your arm to the hand. An injury anywhere along the course of this nerve could make you feel pain in your fingers or hand. And then, of course, there are wrist traumas or repetitive motion injuries that can further complicate the picture.

This should illustrate to you how important a thorough diagnosis is before deciding on a cause for a problem and a course of action to get it resolved. Even a detailed history by a doctor will not be enough to determine if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. So if you’ve been diagnosed with this condition and the doctor failed to examine your wrist, the diagnosis may be incorrect. An astute doctor will use the history of the pain combined with very specific tests to determine how your wrist functions. Doctors of chiropractic do these examinations too which may also include an analysis of the neck region, which can cause irritation to a nerve, resulting in hand symptoms.

Once you get the diagnosis correct, there are many options for treatment. Medications, splints, and surgery are tried by many with varying degrees of success. For those who want a more natural drug and surgery-free alternative, chiropractic care is an excellent option to consider.