Can Carpal Tunnel Cause Shoulder Pain? Symptoms & Treatment

Have you gone through a carpal tunnel surgery in the near past? As it is directly associated with the arm and shoulder, pain after carpal tunnel surgery can occur as pressure builds up on the nearby body parts.

You might be thinking, can carpal tunnel cause shoulder pain? Or can carpal tunnel cause neck pain? If this is your concern, continue reading this blog till the end to find your answer. 

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Can Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Lead to Shoulder Pain?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which pressure on the median nerve becomes worse. The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway on the palm side with bones and ligaments. 

The median nerve supplies the impulse to muscles extending towards the thumb and other fingers. 

Too much pressure on the carpal tunnel leads to numbness, tingling feeling in the fingers, and weakness. Such a condition reaches the overhead and behind the back. 

Further, there is a chance that the shoulder freezes right away or causes intense pain in the shoulder with specific movements. 

How Can You Tell if Your Shoulder Pain is Median Nerve Pain?

Nerve pain caused by the median nerve is linked with the carpal tunnel if it causes numbness and sensitivity in the hand and fingers.

Additionally, the burning sensations and tingling feels are also its actual signs. 

However, the truth is that carpal tunnel affects persons in different ways. Everyone experiences compression differently.

Moreover, other risk factors include the severity of carpal tunnel syndrome, median nerve compression, and overall level of health.

Stages of a Frozen Shoulder:

A frozen shoulder is a shoulder that loses its significant motion due to median nerve compression. It is medically addressed as adhesive capsulitis. 

The stiffness in the shoulder can occur at any age due to unavoidable risk factors. The hallmark of this condition is not being able to move enough to perform your routine movements. 

Here, we explain in detail the three stages of a frozen shoulder:

1: Freezing

In the first stage, you may experience more pain and a higher threshold of pain. In addition, you will notice that your shoulder will lose range of motion. Typically, this phase lasts from 6 weeks to 9 months. 

2: Frozen

The second stage is when you experience less pain, but the stiffness remains. Likewise, in the first stage, you still struggle with daily movements. 

3: Thawing

The third and last stage is thawing, which improves shoulder movement and brings them to normal. It takes from 6 months to two years, depending on several factors. 

Frozen shoulder signs and symptoms:

A frozen shoulder due to the carpal tunnel involves symptoms such as:

  • Pins and needles feelings in the fingers
  • Difficulty in gripping objects
  • Numb hands
  • Stiffness
  • No shoulder movements
  • Extreme pain

How to Treat Frozen Shoulder?

Now, how do you relieve carpal tunnel pain in the shoulder? If diagnosed at the right time, there is a possibility of being relieved early.

The treatment options vary from person to person, depending on the acute or chronic condition. 

Moreover, it depends on the age, level of frozen shoulder, and overall health. 

Here we share a few approaches to treating frozen shoulder:

  • Chiropractic & Physical Therapy: Specific exercises can reduce median nerve pressure inflammation. By proper physical therapy, you can recover soon if it is in the early stages. 
  • Splinting: Night splints help keep the wrist neutral during sleep. It prevents night irritation and keeps the arm in the correct position. Moreover, remember to wear splints during activities that aggravate the symptoms. 
  • Carpal Tunnel Relief Sleeve: Wearing the sleeve helps keep the median nerve pressure moving towards other body parts such as the neck, shoulder, and chest. It can help reduce pressure and inflammation. 
  • Medication: Anti-inflammatory medicines, also known as (NSAIDs) can help along with painkillers such as ibuprofen.
  • Surgical treatment: Surgery is the last resort if any other option doesn't work. Depending on your condition, professionals can decide if you need the surgery. 


What does carpal tunnel in the shoulder feel like?

It feels like the shoulder pain develops into freezing, and once, I had a frozen shoulder. Sometimes, the pain also feels like an electric shock or shoulder stiffness. 

How do you stop shoulder pain from carpal tunnel?

Medication, including anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers, can relieve the pain. Additionally, physiotherapy and chiropractic can help in the long term. 

Can your whole arm hurt from carpal tunnel?

Usually, it hurts the thumb, middle finger, index finger, and whole hand. But, in some cases, you may feel an ache running up your arm to neck and shoulder. 

What two conditions are often misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome?

The two primary misdiagnosed conditions for carpal tunnel syndrome include tendonitis and arthritis.

Both joint diseases affect the same hand parts but have different symptoms that a professional can quickly diagnose.