Your hand and wrist pain symptoms may be caused by a variety of reasons. It is vital to the successful outcome of your chiropractic treatment, to find the underlying cause of your symptoms. Your hand and wrist pain may as a result of an injury to any of the tissues of the hand / wrist, including muscles, nerves, joints, tendons, connective tissue or reduced blood supply. The area or spread of symptoms may involve the whole hand or may only affect smaller areas or fingers. The symptoms may be constant or intermittent and may improve or worsen with motion.
Common symptoms of the hand and wrist may include: pain, numbness, pins and needles, decreased mobility, weakness, stiffness, or problems picking items up with your fingers. The type of pain / symptoms may be described as burning, dull, sharp or throbbing. These symptoms may range in intensity from mild to severe. Frequently, symptoms perceived in the hand and wrist are actually referred from a lesion in the neck. Here is a selection of common injuries that have been diagnosed at this clinic.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is an entrapment neuropathy and is caused by an injury of the Median nerve as it courses through the ‘carpal tunnel’ of the wrist. The term ‘carpal’ relates to the hand and wrist complex and comprises of eight carpal bones. The cause of the congestion is similar to a ‘bottle neck’ traffic jam on a Motorway, where the tissues coursing through the wrist (bone, muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and nerves) compete for a limited amount of space. The Median nerve is less able to handle the affects of this compression, resulting in reduced blood supply and degeneration of the Median nerve.
CTS is typically described as pain, numbness and / or tingling in the palm and fingers, but may also radiate up the forearm. It is often associated with and exacerbated by, repetitive wrist movements and / or sustained flexion of the wrist. Hence, symptoms may be experienced more during the day at work (repetitive stress) or during the night (sustained flexion). Sometimes, wrist splints are recommended to prevent excessive wrist flexion during the night.
There are many
contributing factors to why CTS may be present in some people and not all of
these causes can be rectified by chiropractic treatment. Women are three times more likely to get CTS
than men, possibly due to the size of the carpal tunnel in women and its
possible association with hypothyroidism.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) is a condition involving compression
of the blood vessels and nerves that course down from your neck and into your
arm, by the muscles and bones that compete for space in the ‘tunnel’ between
the rib cage and the collar bone.
Compression of the blood vessels and the brachial plexus (a bundle of
nerves from the neck into the arm) and in particular (due to its anatomical
position) the Ulna nerve, may result in symptoms of pain and numbness in the
hand and fingers.
Compression of the blood vessels and nerves may also be due to excessive tension in the muscles of the anterior neck and shoulder, as the nerves pass through these ‘hypertonic’ muscles. An extra ‘cervical rib’ has also been implicated. Increased incidences of TOS have been noted in people with a ‘forward head posture’ and droopy shoulders. Pins and needles into the fourth (ring finger) and fifth (little finger) fingers are a commonly symptom, resulting from compression of the Ulna nerve. Due to the reduce blood supply, the hand may be ‘bluish’, feel cold and may occasionally be swollen. Weakness of some of the hand muscles may also be observed. Restoration of the correction function of the muscles and surrounding bone structures are required to alleviate symptoms.
A Slipped Disc in the lower cervical spine
(neck) may refer pain and symptoms into the hand, due to compression or
chemical irritation of the cervical nerve from the adjacent ‘bulging’ or
herniated cervical disc. The cervical
nerve is ‘irritated’ by the slipped disc as it exits the cervical spine, before
it courses down the arm, to the hand.
It may produce symptoms of pain, pins and needles and/ or numbness and is often called ‘radicular’ pain or a ‘radiculopathy’. The symptoms are often described as ‘shooting’ or ‘throbbing’ pains and symptoms may increase when you cough or sneeze. Surgical intervention is sometimes required, to reduce the nerve compression.
Another cause of a ‘radiculopathy’ is osteoarthritis of the lower cervical spine. In this case, the exiting cervical nerve is trapped by the surrounding bony cervical vertebrae, commonly found in people with degeneration (wear and tear) of the spine. This diagnosis is not amenable to chiropractic intervention.
It is absolutely paramount to your good health that the underlying causes of your symptoms are found and correct diagnosis is made. Dr Doherty will use his wealth of experience to achieve this and to make the appropriate management plan for you.
Please phone 0161 482 0786, to make your consultation and examination appointment or to make further enquiries.
The Family Chiropractic Clinic, 15 Station Road, Cheadle Hulme, Stockport. SK8 5AF.
Chiropractor serving the people of Cheadle, Stockport, Manchester, Trafford and Tameside.