Carpal Tunnel syndrome is specific to the wrist area. Nerve conduction studies show that the nerve is compressed inside the wrist at the carpal tunnel. but the nerves to the fingers can also be compressed at the elbow and the same nerve conduction studies can show that. That is called Cupital Tunnel Syndrome. And if they are compressed up at the shoulder level, it may be a case of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, where compression is at the brachial plexus.
If the compression is at the neck, then you determine that again with nerve conduction studies and how badly they are compressed can be determined with Electromyelograhy. Exercising your neck because you have Carpal Tunnel Syndrome will not help at all. The compression is inside the wrist and not in the neck.
Anyone diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel without a nerve conduction study, may indeed not have that. That is the only way to know. They measure how fast the nerve signals travel to the fingertips and if it slows down at the wrist, then that is where the compression is. If it doesn't then you have to look higher up in the arm, all the way to the neck, to determine where the signal is getting delayed.
Had the tests, have had the surgery(CTS release) and have had 2 major cervical spine surgeries as well.
I had CT surgery since nerve tests showed I had CTS. But I've also been dealing with cervical spine issues for years. I had the CT surgery, in part, to figure out what symptoms are due to CTS and what are due to cervical spine problems.
As Jenny said, Carpal Tunnel doesn't originate from the cervical spine, but cervical spine problems and carpal tunnel syndrome can have some of the same symptoms in the wrist and hand.
A thanks to both of you. Good explanations! Sorry to have taken so long to get back. I did have an EMG in November and the Carpal Tunnel problem was isolated to the wrist. Since the DR. doing it didn't go all the way up the arm, I wondered if he missed something, but your explanation shows why it was not needed.
Soooooo--- I will be scheduling the surgery in a couple of weeks. Local anesthesia and home again. I'm left handed and wonder if I should have that hand done to get it over with, but I guess there is a reason to choose the dominant hand first or last, and he will let me know.
I'm lucky. My spinal stenosis is not a problem as long as I do daily back exercises and so far the other areas of the spine -- cervical and all seem OK. Wrist surgery seems so simple compared to ANY spinal surgery!
I think it's all personal preference. Choosing the one that is more bothersome /painful was what my doctor suggested. I'm right hand dominant and my right hand was worse so I chose to do the right hand first.
For me the first week post-op was the worst as fingers hurt to do fine motor skills like pinching and grasping (buttons, zippers, etc). Week two was much better. My surgeon sends you home in a cast like split wrapped in an ace bandage. That came off around day 8-10 post op. I did the right hand in late March and the left hand one month later in late April. I chose to buy a light brace/glove to wear after the splint came off.
Both wrists, Jenny?? WOW! When someone has both TKRs, I am in awe, but both hands?! How did you ever do it?
Since both wrists are equally involved, I might just go ahead and have the dominant hand done first, unless the Dr. has other reasons. There is just my DH and myself, so I'll have it easy. I normally have cooking classes in the Spring, but had canceled them because of the possibility of moving, (we are not -- yet) But now I'm so happy I did, as I won't have that worry hanging over my head. I'm older than most, so healing is a little slower. But my time is my own, and I can spend that time doing what is needed to help the healing and flexibility. As with knee surgery, I guess the surgery is nothing compared to the recovery part.
After my TKR, in 09, I found the 'knee/hip' board very helpful. I can see that this board will be also. Thank goodness for 'HealthBoards'!!