Although we mainly focus on the spine, chiropractors can make adjustments on the extremities (arms, legs, ribs and jaw). Wrist pain in particular can be a symptom that originates from different regions of our bodies, including the neck, shoulder, elbow and wrist. How the problem started will be a determining factor in determining whether the wrist problem is actually a wrist problem or whether the source of the pain is from another region. If symptoms started as a result of a fall or trauma, it is most likely a sprain or strain of the joint.
If the problem started after prolonged use of a computer, the source of pain could be inflammation of the wrist, elbow, upper back and/or neck regions. Only a thorough orthopedic examination can give enough information to decide which area(s) should be treated. Depending on what we find, it may even be more appropriate to refer you to another health care provider. Not all patients with wrist pain will benefit from carpal bone adjustment (wrist and hand joints).
Patients arriving at our office for this condition will first be assessed for irritation, injury or lack of motion in the joints of the neck. We will check the range of motion and look for any impingement likely to affect a nerve root referring to pain in the arm and hand. We will then continue to move down the arm and assess the shoulder, elbow and the wrist itself. The assessment involves palpating (using our hands to feel) the bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments. We’re also going to gently push and pull the wrist in different directions to test the integrity of the joints and see which movements increase or decrease the pain.
If we find joints that are not moving well, or moving irregularly, an adjustment will be made using the hands of the chiropractor or a gentle instrument. Manual adjustments are preferable in most cases, as the force applied can better move immobile joints compared to other techniques.
Sometimes patients have difficulty handling gentle pressure applied to the wrist. In these cases, we will use an instrument to provide a quick adjustment that requires little force. Depending on the problem, we can apply kinesio-tape to support the area or recommend a splint or other support to protect the area while it heals. Lastly and importantly, targeted stretches and exercises will be taught to address weak, tight or irritated muscles that will help reduce current and prevent future pain.
THIS BLOG WAS WRITTEN BY OUR CHIROPRACTIC PHYSICIAN, DR. JERROD PUCKETT.