Think about how many different ways you use your hands on a daily basis. The majority of activities include gripping, pinching, pulling, pushing or twisting. These repetitive, tedious, strenuous movements, if done incorrectly can lead to serious health problems involving the hands, wrists and arms.
With 27 bones all held together by tiny ligaments and controlled by a series of small to medium sized muscles the hand is a strong but yet delicate part of the body. That sounds like an oxymoron of course but it’s the truth. Have you ever completed a heavy, enduring, rigorous task without experiencing significant strain to your hands, but then on other occasions some menial, lightweight task seemed to cause your hand or wrists great discomfort and stress? One reason for this is that sometimes seemingly lighter weight tasks are done with the hands in a mechanically compromised fashion.
When you use your hands while they are positioned in a biomechanically incorrect position this will cause them to become compromised, weakened and ultimately they become injured. The tiny bones of the wrist and hand can actually lose their healthy alignment due to these unnatural movements. When the wrist or hand bones become misaligned, it can cause irritation and stress to the muscles, tendons, joints, ligaments and nerves. This will result in a loss of healthy hand and wrist function which may trigger symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness, burning and even a reduction of finger and grip strength.
Keep in mind that it is not always a large, heavy task that causes the hands to develop health conditions, but more commonly it is those smaller, more tedious or repetitive hand activities that can cause problems to occur.
For example, have you ever carried too many bags of groceries at once with several bags looped around your fingers or thumb? Even though a bag of groceries isn't all that heavy, with multiple bags pulling unevenly or at awkward angles, the hands may become strained and begin to develop symptoms of pain.
As another example, maybe you once wrote a long letter or several pages of a book after which you experienced an aching or throbbing discomfort in your hands. Or it could be that you typed away for hours on the computer without resting your hands and as a result you began to develop a numb or tingling sensation into your fingers.
With all of the rigors of life that the hands encounter it is no wonder why so many people develop long-term chronic problems with their hands, wrists and arms. Some of the more common hand symptoms that can indicate an underlying health condition include pain, numbness, tingling, burning or loss of grip strength.
Although there are many different causes of hand pain, numbness, tingling and other symptoms, most of the time the cause of the problem is related to a mechanical dysfunction or small misalignment of one or more of the 27 wrist/hand bones. If you have been suffering with hand pain, numbness, tingling, loss of hand strength it is very important that you consult a reputable healthcare provider that specializes in diagnosing and treating hand, wrist and arm conditions.
The best solution to restoring normal function, strength and healthy alignment to the hands and wrists is accomplished using a specific, gentle joint manipulation procedure (known as a hand adjustment) by a trained expert. Chiropractic Hand & Foot Clinics of America provides a training program to a select number of chiropractors across the nation.
Your Chiropractic Hand & Foot Clinics of America doctor is a trained expert in performing specific, gentle adjustments to the 27 bones of the wrist/hand. Your may be familiar with chiropractic care as it relates to the spine; however the idea of having your hand and wrist adjusted is a whole new concept to most people.
With standard chiropractic practices a chiropractor will improve a patient’s back pain condition by administering a gentle, specific adjustment to a misaligned vertebra in the spine. Similarly your Chiropractic Hand & Foot Clinics of America doctor will provide their hand patients with a specific, gentle adjustment to the misaligned hand and/or wrist bones thereby helping to restore function and provide relief. Because the chiropractor is actually improving the alignment of the misaligned hand/wrist bones it is truly getting to the root cause of the underlying problem.
Common Hand Conditions and Areas of Pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome & Median Nerve Entrapment
Although it is not the only condition that can cause pain, numbness and tingling sensations into the hand it is by far the most common condition that causes these symptoms. In some cases the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can be severe and debilitating and in others it can be intermittent and rather mild. However carpal tunnel syndrome will rarely improve on its own without any treatment and it will generally continue to worsen over time if ignored.
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome includes tingling, numbness and burning sensations into the thumb, index, middle and half of the ring finger. A reduction or loss of grip strength can also occur in chronic cases.
The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway within the wrist where it connects to the hand. It is comprised of four borders, three of which are formed by 8 tiny carpal bones arranged into a horseshoe shape. The fourth border of the carpal tunnel is formed by a ligament that passes across the two ends of the “horseshoe” connecting and supporting that carpal arch of bones. This narrow tunnel is only about the size of your finger. Inside the tunnel there are 10 structures, one large nerve (the median nerve) and nine tendons that connect to the muscles that control finger movements.
With repetitive motions, stress, injuries and other factors, those 8 carpal bones that form the carpal arch (or carpal tunnel) can lose their healthy alignment. When this happens one or more of the carpal bones may become misaligned and move inward toward the contents of the tunnel (i.e. the median nerve and 9 tendons). This misalignment will create pressure on the median nerve which will irritate and inflame the nerve. Eventually this will cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling and pain in the hand.
Surgery for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome carries significant risks and patients should be well informed prior to considering surgery as an option. For years people have been searching for a conservative option to relieve their numbness and other hand symptoms. Unfortunately there has been several different hand braces and exercises designed to attempt to alleviate the symptoms associated with carpal tunnel syndrome but few products have actually been designed that provide significant relief.
The good news is that carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated and corrected effectively without the need for surgery. In fact, even if surgery has already been attempted and failed to provide the patient with relief there is an option that is extremely beneficial in the majority of cases. This treatment will actually correct the underlying root cause of the condition.
Chiropractic Hand & Foot Clinics of America has trained a small number of selected chiropractors on how to manage and treat patients who are affected by carpal tunnel syndrome. The treatment that these doctors provide is very unique and it not something that is available in other chiropractic offices. In fact, Chiropractic Hand & Foot Clinics of America doctors will often receive patient referrals from other chiropractors and medical doctors for those patients with significant health problems involving their hands.
Ulnar Nerve Entrapment
Ulnar nerve entrapment at the wrist is commonly misdiagnosed as carpal tunnel syndrome; however carpal tunnel syndrome involves the median nerve, not the ulnar nerve.The initial key factor for diagnosing a pinched or irritate ulnar nerve in the wrist is that it causes numbness and tingling sensations into the pinky finger and half of the ring finger. Ulnar nerve impingement at the wrist is not as common as median nerve entrapment, however the underlying cause is of a very similar. When the 8 carpal bones lose their healthy alignment this causes stress and pressure on the ulnar nerve leading to pain, numbness, tingling and other symptoms.
Your Chiropractic Hand & Foot Clinics of America doctor is a trained expert at treating many different hand and wrist conditions including ulnar nerve entrapment conditions. As with other wrist injuries and ailments, the underlying cause of the problem will not go away on its own or by using wrist braces or supports. However, through getting the misaligned bones gently realigned using a specific wrist adjustment by your Chiropractic Hand & Foot Clinics of America doctor the root cause will be addressed and corrected.
Wrist pain is prevalent amongst people who use their hands in a sustained strenuous or repetitive manor. Many workplace activities, hobbies and sports will take their toll on the wrist over time. There are 8 bones in the wrist (carpal) area and over time with enough stress they can lose their healthy alignment. When this occurs it will cause pressure and irritation to the joints between the bones and nearby nerves. This will result in wrist pain or discomfort and can range from periodic mild symptoms to persistent disabling type symptoms.
Pain on the thumb side of the wrist is commonly the result of irritation and/or injury to the tendons that pass from the forearm muscles to the thumb to control certain thumb movements. This pain is commonly the result of a condition known as De Quervain’s tenonsynovitis. As the tendons glide through a small sheath on the thumb side of the wrist they become irritated and inflamed due to pressure from mechanical dysfunctions and misalignments of the tiny bones in the area of the wrist and thumb.
Although this painful condition can develop for non-apparent reasons it is also commonly related to certain repetitive or sustained activities of the wrist and/or thumb. De Quervain’s is more common in the wrists of athletes such as golfers, tennis players and other similar racquet sports.
New mothers will many times develop pain on the thumb side of their wrist and in some cases they will even develop a small fluid-filled cyst known as a ganglion cyst in that same area. These new mothers experience great stress to that area of the wrist as they cradle their new baby for hours throughout the day. As they hold their baby it’s common for them to bend their wrist in a sustained position for a long period of time which causes great stress and strain to the thumb side of the wrist.
The thumb is one of the most stressfully used joints in the entire human body. As you grip onto an object the thumb by itself will oppose the four fingers of that same hand. So in essence the thumb must absorb nearly four times the effort than any one of the fingers by themselves.
The point where the thumb attaches to the wrist is a very mobile and versatile joint as it can rotate in several planes of motion. This thumb joint is one of the first joints in the entire human body to become affected by osteoarthritis. This is because as this joint becomes overused with all the activities of daily living it will lose it’s healthy alignment sooner than the other joints of the hand and other parts of the body. As a result the cartilage surrounding this joint will be exposed to wear and tear sooner than other joints.
The underlying problem that leads to arthritis of the thumb in many cases may become present in early to middle adulthood. When injuries or repetitive activities cause thumb joint stress or restrictions it is important to have any bone misalignments corrected sooner rather than later. Correcting thumb and wrist joint misalignments soon after they occur is especially important if you have a family history of arthritis.
The Latin “arthro” means “joint”, and “itis” “inflammation”. There are several causes and reasons for joint inflammation in the hands but osteoarthritis (aka degenerative arthritis) is the most common. When the finger and hand joints lose their healthy alignment it will cause increased stress on the cartilage surfaces of those tiny joints. Over many years, if these small misalignments are not corrected, then osteoarthritis will eventually develop. Osteoarthritis can be very painful and even debilitating. This condition is progressive in that once it starts it tends to progress rather rapidly if nothing is done to counteract the process.
Through a series of gentle, specific finger and hand bone adjustments the stress on these small joints can be relieved, alignment improved and function restored. Depending on the severity of the condition each osteoarthritis case will respond differently. If you feel that you may be suffering from osteoarthritis of the hand you should seek care from a qualified chiropractor as soon as possible. Your Chiropractic Hand & Foot Clinics of America doctor is a trained expert in treating various hand ailments including osteoarthritis.
Ganglion Cysts are small fluid-filled cysts (aka synovial cysts), that develops near a misaligned joint. When a hand or wrist bone loses its healthy alignment due to repetitive or strenuous activities it can irritate the synovial lining of the nearby joint. This irritation can cause a small amount of fluid to build up into a cyst-like formation. These ganglion cysts are usually visible and may increase in size over time. Sometimes there is pain associated with a synovial cyst and other times they are pain-free.
Because these small cysts develop due to stress to the joint tissues from bone misalignments they will usually resolve and diminish in size and many times they will even disappear completely once the healthy alignment has been restored to the nearby joints.
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Common Hand & Arm Conditions Treated
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Median Nerve Entrapment
- Carpal Tunnel of Guyon Syndrome
- Ulnar Nerve Entrapment
- De Quervain's Tenosynovitis
- Hand Pain
- Wrist Pain
- Wrist/Hand Sprains
- Repetitive Strain Injuries
- Tennis Elbow
- Golfer's Elbow
- Pronator Teres Syndrome
- Supinator Syndrome
- Radial Tunnel Syndrome
- Shoulder Pain
- Rotator Cuff Injuries
- Thoracic Outlet Syndrome