Insights & Injuries:

A blog by Dr. Dolf R. Ichtertz, Nebraska Hand & Shoulder Institute

The Dr.
Raynaud’s Syndrome 14 January, 2015
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Raynaud’s Syndrome


-Is it related to carpal tunnel syndrome?

-Can the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome eliminate Raynaud’s?


These are both good questions.  They have been addressed by a few clinicians over the years with progressively better reviews.  Raynaud’s phenomenon, constriction of the blood vessels in the hands, can be painful resulting in marked color changes (blue, then white, then reddish upon restoration of circulation).  It occurs due to cold exposure or, in some people, in relationship to emotional fluctuations.  It also manifests as very cold hands even while the forearms remain quite warm.  This can be so bad as to include severe perspiration to the point of almost dripping.  Overall, this relates to a sympathetic nervous system overtone.  

The only reliable medical treatment for this after evaluating many different types of treatments turns out to be use of calcium channel blocking nifedipine and for severe cases minor surgery to remove nerve endings from the blood vessels in the hands.  

There is one definite, more recent report in the medical literature presented at the American Association of Surgery of the Hand meeting in Seattle on Saturday, October 7, 2000, by Gooh Baek, MD, wherein 18 patients with Raynaud’s phenomenon and carpal tunnel syndrome went to surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome- 89% showed improvement of the Raynaud’s at an average of 4.3 months.  This may have been a coincidence or we may have not fully resolved the issue between the causation of Raynaud’s phenomenon and carpal tunnel syndrome.  Further research is perhaps indicated. 

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