Most people understand how chiropractic care relates to the spine, but many do not realize what a chiropractor can do for upper extremity pain. |
Acute and chronic pain in the wrists, elbows, and shoulders can range from mild to debilitating. It can interfere with your job, activities, and day-to-day tasks, keeping you from enjoying life at its fullest. These are common problems, and chiropractors successfully treat these conditions all the time.
Just be sure to choose a chiropractor with experience in upper extremity problems.
Upper Extremity Symptoms
Repetitive use, especially when performed with improper mechanics, can lead to misalignment in the hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder, and neck. When the bones are misaligned, it irritates and stresses the tendons, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and joints. This damage can cause any number of symptoms in the wrist, hand, fingers, forearm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, and neck.
Another common cause for symptoms is trauma, such as from a personal injury, sports injury, or car accident. Other causes include normal wear and tear, aging processes, and systemic disease.
The most common symptom is pain, and the pain can range from tenderness to searing. Swelling and reduced strength and range of movement often occur.
Other common sensations include:
Stinging Burning Tingling Numbness Stiffness Fatigue Changes in temperature Wrist Problems Can be as Vast as The Symptoms
The wrist and hand are amazingly complex, and they perform complex movements. When you consider they contain 27 bones controlled by numerous small muscles and tendons held together by tiny ligaments, it's no wonder the problems that can arise. Especially considering the many ways we use our hands and wrists each day. We pinch, pull, grip, push, and twist, and sometimes we do the same movement over and over.
Wrist, hand, and finger symptoms can also originate from elbow, shoulder, and neck problems.
The two types of wrist injuries that cause pain include:
Sudden impact, such as a fall that can result in sprains, strains, contusions (bruising), and fractures. Repetitive stress injuries, such as typing and construction work. Common wrist problems include:
Pronator syndrome-a peripheral nerve entrapment usually caused by repetitive motions frequently mistaken as carpal tunnel syndrome. Cubital tunnel syndrome-causing the pinky and ring fingers to become weak and swell. The source of this problem is the elbow. Tunnel of Guyon-also often confused with carpal tunnel syndrome-this actually involves a different nerve. This is common in bicyclists and bikers. Carpal tunnel syndrome-pressure on the median nerve causes numbness, tingling, and pain in the thumb and first two fingers. Dorsal impaction syndrome-this condition is caused by both repetition and impact. It is common in athletes who engage in repetitive weight-bearing (to a joint not designed to bear weight) while the wrist is in hyperextension. This most commonly occurs in gymnasts. Median nerve entrapment De Quervain's tenosynovitis Common Issues with the Elbow
The elbow is a "ball-and-socket" joint that involves three bones-the humerus (upper arm) and the ulna and radius (forearm). The complexity of the joint allows us to move our upper extremity in a variety of ways. We can move the forearm up and down, like when we do biceps and triceps curls, and we can rotate, such as turning from palm facing up to facing down.
Because of the complexity, there are many opportunities for injury. Most often, overuse, trauma, degenerative changes, or genetics are responsible for the symptoms.
Inflammation and irritation from overuse of the elbow joint can cause tendonitis.
Most people are familiar with the term tennis elbow. While tennis can cause this problem, the most common cause today is the overuse of a keyboard and mouse. Another form of tendonitis is golfers' elbow. The most common causes include repetitive wrist flexion, such as with construction, knitting, and computer use.
Other common elbow conditions include:
Bursitis Ulnar nerve entrapment Osteoarthritis Repetitive Strains Radial tunnel syndrome Cubital tunnel syndrome Common Shoulder Problems
When you consider the mobility of the shoulder, it's easy to understand how often injuries occur. The shoulder allows us to reach across the front of the body, behind the back, and over the head, and this amount of motion can lead to significant injuries.
Another contributing factor is the shallowness of the shoulder joint. The muscles around the shoulder comprise the rotator cuff, and this is what gives the shoulder most of its strength and stability. This is also the most common cause of shoulder problems.
Tears, inflammation, or swelling in the rotator cuff is called rotator cuff syndrome. This is usually caused by repetitive overarm use, such as with throwing or swimming, but can also arise from something as trivial as poor posture. Rotator cuff syndrome causes pain in the side and front of the shoulder, and it is usually worse at night.
Rotator cuff syndrome should not be ignored, as left untreated, many other issues can arise. For instance, the pain can inhibit use of the shoulder, and this immobility can cause adhesions that lead to "frozen shoulder."
Swelling and inflammation of the joint, muscles, or tendons caused by overuse can cause bursitis or tendonitis.
What can a chiropractor do for upper extremity problems?
Upper extremity pain requires an accurate diagnosis by a qualified healthcare provider. The earlier the diagnosis, the easier it will be to reach a quick and complete recovery. Early treatment also avoids more serious problems and symptoms, which can lead to long-term disability.
Chiropractors are qualified healthcare providers, and there are many treatments they can utilize for upper extremity problems. The modalities will vary depending on the location, severity, and cause of the symptoms.
Your chiropractor will perform a complete medical history and exam, which should include x-rays and may include other diagnostic testing, such as MRI.
Some upper extremity issues arise from the neck and spine, and for these, patients will benefit from spinal manipulations to realign the vertebra.
If the source is the shoulder, elbow, wrist or hand, gentle manipulations to the joint can provide relief. These will restore healthy alignment, which improves range of motion and strength and allows the joint to return to normal function.
In addition to chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, myofascial release, stretching, and hot and cold compresses further improve functionality and alleviate pressure. These treatment options are natural, without side effects or risk of addiction.
With all the options available, there is no need to continue to suffer. For more information about how chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, and myofascial release can help upper extremity pain, visit our website or call us today to book an appointment.
Dr. Cody Doyle Doyle Chiro and Acupuncture 817-767-5430
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upper extremity pain, rotator cuff, chiropractic care, acupuncture, wrist pain, elbow pain, shoulder pain,