Chiropractic Treatment of Wrist Pain

Most patients come to see me for neck pain or low back pain-the typical chiropractic complaints. After I take their history, I will always ask a new patient if they have any other complaints. I do this for two reasons: one, a patient may be suffering from other issues that they don’t know I can help and two, the whole body is interrelated. An issue in one area can affect the rest of the body, including the area of complaint that brought that patient to see me.

A common secondary complaint is wrist pain. After I ask about other areas, the patient will often thoughtfully move their wrist and ask if I can do anything with wrist pain.

The wrist is comprised of two rows of four bones for total of eight carpal (wrist) bones. The two bones of the forearm, the ulna and the radius, attach to the carpals from above and the rest of the bones that make up the hand attached below the wrist. In my experience, I find that the eight carpals are where most of the complaints arise. This isn’t surprising. Those a little bones take quite a bit of stress. They have to compromise allowing for all the mobility and versatility of the hand with the stability that allows the hand and arm to lift and move heavy objects. On top of all that, the eight bones form an arch so that the median nerve and flexor tendons for the fingers can pass through.

I have developed my own method of adjusting the wrist bones. It is based on the anatomy of the arch formed by those bones. If one thinks about it, with time and wear and tear arches do not get higher. On the contrary they tend to flatten out. I find this to be the case with patients who complain about wrist pain. In addition, if the median nerve that runs through that arch gets pinched, patients will complain about pain or numbness or tingling into the fingers of the hand. This is classic carpal tunnel syndrome.

The solution, then, is to gently adjust those carpal bones in order to realign the arch. Basically, to make it higher. This restores the natural alignment of the carpals and provides more “breathing room” for the median nerve and tendons. I find this type of adjustment tends to quickly yield relief for the patient’s symptoms.

In addition, I will also look at the alignment of the ulna and radius as they articulate with the carpals and the alignment of the bones of the hand as well. Finally, some exercises and stretches may be in order to help stabilize the wrist and to rehab the soft tissue that may also be connected to the wrist pain.