Simple Carpal Tunnel Exam – Just Answer Three Questions

Carpal tun­nel syn­drome is a com­mon repet­i­tive stress prob­lem affect­ing the wrist and hand.  Symp­toms include pain, weak­ness, and numb­ness of the fin­gers.

In the imag­i­na­tion of the pub­lic, the term “carpal tun­nel syn­drome” is now used in an extreme­ly broad way — it includes almost any pat­tern of ten­dini­tis or overuse affect­ing the hand or fore­arm.

carpal tunnel syndrome

But doc­tors have very spe­cif­ic cri­te­ria for diag­nos­ing carpal tun­nel syn­drome.  Carpal tun­nel syn­drome occurs when the medi­an nerve gets com­pressed as it pass­es through the wrist on its way to the skin and mus­cles of the thumb-side of your hand.

One of the fanci­er (and more expen­sive) tests for carpal tun­nel syn­drome is elec­tro­di­ag­no­sis.  To per­form this test, the tech­ni­cian mea­sures the elec­tri­cal con­duc­tion along your medi­an nerve to see if it’s been slowed.

Easier Test for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

There’s a sim­pler way to diag­nose carpal tun­nel syn­drome.  So sim­ple, in fact, that you can prac­ti­cal­ly diag­nose it for your­self.

Doc­tors devel­oped a three ques­tion sur­vey that has been able to pin­point with a high degree of accu­ra­cy those patients with carpal tun­nel syn­drome.

  1. Do you have tin­gling in at least two of your first four fin­gers?
  2. Are your symp­toms worse at night or when you awake in the morn­ing?
  3. If you shake your hand vig­or­ous­ly, does it help alle­vi­ate the symp­toms?

Two or more “YES” answers?  It’s like­ly you have carpal tun­nel syn­drome.

In my expe­ri­ence, though carpal tun­nel syn­drome is fair­ly com­mon, it’s rare that the symp­toms of the hand exist with­out relat­ed involve­ment of the neck, upper back, shoul­der gir­dle, and elbow.

That’s why I always check these areas when­ev­er I have a patient with repet­i­tive stress issues in the hands.  Treat­ing the fuller pic­ture – with con­nec­tive tis­sue ther­a­py, stretch­ing, and joint mobi­liza­tion – speeds your over­all recov­ery.


Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Nat­ur­al carpal tun­nel syn­drome treat­ment

Most peo­ple with “carpal tun­nel syn­drome” are mis­di­ag­nosed


About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods.

His website,, provides more information about his approach.

Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.

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