The Difference Between Arthritis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Hi, Friends…Shelly Manning here with today’s post.

Once we launched the Arthritis program, we had a lot of great feedback from readers but there were several issues that came up a lot. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome was one that readers emailed Christian about right from the start and while some were asking about the program’s use for CPS, most were asking the difference between CPS and arthritis.

Arthritis and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome are two different issues, but can (and frequently do) occur together. In fact, people who already have Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis are at a much greater risk of developing CPS.

The reason is because of the process that affects people with arthritis. Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint and connective tissues. The cartilage is broken down over time, and the smooth surfaces of the bones become rough and no longer glide smoothly.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a condition where the median nerve that supplies feeling and function to the thumb, index, middle and part of the ring fingers becomes compressed and pinched by swelling inside the bones that make up the carpal tunnel.


If someone suffering arthritis has damage in the hands, wrist, and arms, this creates even less space for the median nerve and contributes to the pinching and compression.

Other conditions put people at higher risk as well, such as metabolic problems that stress out the kidneys and liver. Since these organs are supposed to filter waste from the body, there are inflammation effects throughout the system when waste can’t be purged.

Controlling the occurrence or severity of CPS takes on new urgency when considering what the other risk factors are. It doesn’t discriminate…all races and both genders are at risk, and the biggest factors are age and occupation.

People of “working” age, from 30 to 60 (when many of these other risk factor conditions start to develop) are the most frequently affected by CPS. This is because the instigating cause is repetitive movements of the hand and wrist, such as what you’d find with computer users, jobs requiring hand tools, and some leisure activities like sewing or racquetball.

People start to suspect something is wrong when the tingling in the fingers, thumb and palm develops. It becomes problematic when the sufferer sees that there is an interruption of daily work duties due to the weakness and pain that are also symptoms of CPS.

Other than wrist pain and swelling that comes with CPS, the symptoms are a bit different than with arthritis. That’s generally the key in knowing it’s time to call the doctor for an evaluation and maybe some intervention.

The inflammation that causes the severe and debilitating pain and disfigurement of arthritis is markedly different than the tingling, numbness, and ‘pins and needles’ sensation that is the trademark of CPS. Sufferers may have found methods to alleviate their arthritis symptoms and regain mobility and function only to find that CPS has rendered the thumb side of their hand(s) increasingly useless.

Treatment can be similar between the two conditions, such as heat and cold compresses, but with CPS you may generally start with splints worn at night for a few weeks. Depending upon the severity, daytime use may be needed as well.

Natural methods to improve the condition are always preferred, and thankfully are pretty effective. Sometimes it is just a matter of changing out the kind of tool you use to do your job, such as re-positioning a keyboard or using a different kind of wrench.

However, it could involve a reassignment of duties to avoid using vibrating tools such as certain kinds of drills.

There is a possibility that you could need surgery if your CPS has progressed to a really severe state, but interventions early enough might keep you from needing something that intrusive.

Prevention is the best method of avoiding all the complications that come from this condition, so keeping other illnesses managed, having a work place ergonomist evaluate what you do and how you do it for improvements, and proper supplements to maintain joint, bone, and nerve health go a very long way to the prevention of CPS.

Have a look at my guide to Naturally Treating Arthritis for more information on supplements that are great for arthritis sufferers.

To Your Health,

Shelly Manning

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3 comments

  1. yolly manlapaz

    i read all your articles and thank you for the infomation

  2. Interesting article on carpal tunnel. I personally was able to get rid of my symptoms with a chiropractic adjustment of my cervical spine. Anytime I feel my hands getting numb, I know it is time to get an adjustment. Your chiropractor should know exactly how to adjust, depending on what part of your hand is numb. The nerve roots to/from the hands directly connect into the spine through the cervical vertebrae, if they are being pinched it will cause numbness in fingers and hands. I would certainly rule out that possibility first before submitting to surgery.

  3. In the human body, the carpal tunnel or carpal canal is the passageway on the palmar side of the wrist that connects the forearm to the middle compartment of the deep plane of the palm…-*^

    Our new blog page http://caramoan.ph

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