Carpal Tunnel Symptoms

carpal tunnel symptoms

Does your hand hurt or do your fingers tingle or go numb? These are the main carpal tunnel symptoms and signs. Actually, carpal tunnel syndrome is a progressive and incurable disorder. It mainly focuses in the soft tissues inside your wrist joint. In fact, even though the warning signs of carpal tunnel are well known, most people ignore them until the condition is severe. Also, many people (and even doctors) confuse these symptoms with wrist tendinitis. Early treatment is almost always successful. However, waiting and treating severe carpal tunnel syndrome is much harder. Thus, knowing the most common symptoms and warning signs is important to attack the problem when it begins.

Most common carpal tunnel symptoms

The time course of carpal tunnel’s progression is different for everybody. For instance, symptoms can go from barely felt to severe in just a couple months. However, in others it might take 2 or more years.

Furthermore, carpal tunnel symptoms most frequently begin on the palm side of the index and middle fingers. Also, half of the ring finger has symptoms; on the thumb-side of that finger. Indeed, most times the thumb itself is more severe than the other fingers. However, symptoms never appear on the fifth (little) finger.

For the most part, early on, the most common carpal tunnel symptoms are numbness and tingling in the hands or fingers. Patients usually do not notice it until trying to sleep at night. In fact, most wake up with numbness and try to shake it out. As a result, many start losing sleep because they feel a need to shake out their hands several times a night. Usually, this is the point where they realize there’s a problem.

Also, when pain is the main symptom, it too will likely begin while trying to sleep. Importantly, these night symptoms distinguish carpal tunnel from similar conditions like wrist tendinitis. However, unlike tendinitis, carpal tunnel symptoms happen at rest (e.g., while sleeping) and not just when the hand is active.
Moreover, if symptoms start in one hand, then 80% of the time they will also occur in the other hand. Hence, this is “bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome“. Finally, some diseases or other conditions can cause carpal tunnel symptoms. For example, these include pregnancy, obesity, diabetes and wrist fractures.

carpal tunnel symptoms

Carpal tunnel symptoms as the condition worsens

A sure sign that the condition is worsening is when carpal tunnel symptoms occur during the day in addition to night. In general, that means all the time.

Another sign of progression in some patients is the feeling of swollen or puffy fingers or hands. However, these carpal tunnel symptoms are just feelings; there is no actual swelling or puffiness.

As carpal tunnel worsens, pain is usually constant. However, finger or hand pain may NEVER occur, leaving only numbness or tingling feelings. But such is rare. Also, a person can experience carpal tunnel symptoms separately or in a combination of 2 or more symptoms in the fingers or hand. Usually, these symptoms are:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Burning
  • Soreness
  • Puffiness
  • Itchiness

Finally, as the condition continues to progress, overall loss of grip strength and dexterity almost always ensues. Hence, the hand feels clumsy and weak. There is also the tendency to drop things. Loss of fine dexterity means it’s difficult to pick up small objects like a coin, key, or pen. Additionally, people have difficulty buttoning a shirt or tying shoelaces. Also, holding a toothbrush or coffee cup is noticeably difficult.

As the condition worsens even more, carpal tunnel symptoms worsen, too. In fact, the affected hand may get so numb that patients lose the ability to feel hot or cold. In general, at that point treatment to reverse carpal tunnel is very difficult.

At it’s end stage, carpal tunnel will cause the muscles at the base of the thumb to waste. For instance, the muscles appear flattened or wrinkled. Thus, any useful function of the thumb and fingers is almost impossible.


Provocative tests can easily diagnose of carpal tunnel syndrome. In general, these are the Tinel, Phalen and Durkan tests. As a general rule, each test tries to provoke or enhance the carpal tunnel symptoms.

For the most part, patients with carpal tunnel syndrome show signs of nerve conduction abnormalities. Indeed, the tests used to determine this are electrodiagnostics or EMG. However, studies show they produce too many false positive results. (That means the tests indicate carpal tunnel, when it might not actually be the problem.) For this reason, over recent years these tests have fallen out of favor with doctors. In fact, additional studies show the provocative tests are much better at diagnosing the condition.

What causes carpal tunnel symptoms?

Carpal tunnel syndrome appears to be hereditary. It is set off by doing rapid, forceful or repetitive work with your hands. Indeed, it’s why certain jobs causing carpal tunnel are notorious for requiring extensive hand work. With hand overwork, tendons in the wrist begin to form multiple, tiny adhesions. As a result, tendon inflammation or swelling follows. However, in the confined space of the wrist joint, the swollen tendons start crushing the adjacent median nerve. Hence, this is the reason you have symptoms in your fingers or hand.

Carpal tunnel surgery tries to relieve the pressure by opening up the wrist joint. As a result, excess fluid drains from inside the wrist. However, that doesn’t solve the problem of adhesions re-forming on the tendons. Thus, the problem returns later. Consequently, this is why about half of patients who had carpal tunnel surgery are not pleased with their results at 2 years.

Actually, a more efficient and permanent way to eliminate the adhesions and drain fluid is with myofascial release massage. It breaks up the adhesions, drains excess fluid, and encourages blood flow. Accordingly, all of this promotes tendon healing and elimination of carpal tunnel syndrome.


For the most part, carpal tunnel symptoms begin as numbness and tingling in the hand and fingers. As the condition progresses over time, symptoms usually include severe pain, loss of grip strength and dexterity, and the inability to sense hot and cold.

cure carpal tunnel at home

Two 15 minute Carpal Rx treatments
for 30 days cures symptoms in
97% of carpal tunnel patients.

About 15 years ago my wife was waking up during the wee hours screaming from carpal tunnel pain.
This isn’t an exaggerating. She’d literally scream from the pain shooting up through her wrist and into her shoulder. The poor thing still shudders when she thinks about it.

I knew she had carpal tunnel syndrome. And being a physiologist, I knew how to treat her. I’m skilled in a physical therapy technique called myofascial release. It’s a type of massage with an excellent track record for completely curing carpal tunnel symptoms.

So I’d massage her arm until the pain subsided and we could both go back to sleep. But her pain was so severe that she insisted on wanting surgery. It was so bad that she was afraid to go sleep at night.

I was dead-set against surgery because I knew myofascial release was a much better option. I made a bargain with her. Give me 30 days to cure her symptoms using massage and if it didn’t work – I’d go along with the surgery.

She agreed and I got busy in the lab. I hodgepodged together the first Carpal Rx prototype. Using it before bed for 15 minutes, she was able to sleep through the night by the 2nd day.

Carpal Rx, born out of love & compassion.

Dr. Z invented Carpal Rx to cure his wife’s symptoms so she didn’t have to undergo surgery.

Carpal Rx, born of love & compassion