Wrist pain can be incredibly debilitating, particularly for those who spend a great deal of time at the computer or doing repetitive tasks involving the wrist. Other common causes for wrist pain can include sudden impact, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Causes of Wrist Pain
Carpal tunnel syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is, by far, the most common cause for wrist pain. It occurs when the medial nerve, which leads from the wrist to the palm, becomes compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel into the hand. The pain will usually start in the wrist of the dominant hand. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), carpal tunnel syndrome is three times more prevalent in women than in men. Although most people think of carpal tunnel syndrome as being most common among office workers, it is actually three times more common among people working on a factory assembly line, in which they perform the same task over and over.
Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis: According to the Mayo Clinic, osteoarthritis in the wrist is rather uncommon, unless the patient has an old injury to the wrist that may not have healed properly. It occurs when the cartilage between the bones wears away with age. On the other hand, rheumatoid arthritis, in which the immune system attacks the body’s tissues, is far more likely to occur in the wrist. In most cases, if one wrist is affected, the other one will be as well.
Sudden impact: The most instinctive reaction to falling is to put out the hands to break the fall. Unfortunately, such a movement will often result in a sudden impact to the wrist, leading to broken bones or sprains. This type of wrist injury is often seen in athletes, particularly those who engage in contact sports such as football or wrestling.
Treatment of Wrist Pain
Depending on the cause of wrist pain, standard treatment can include rest, ice or heat, using a splint to keep the wrist properly aligned (particularly for working at the computer), or fingerless gloves to keep the wrists warm. Over-the-counter painkillers can often help right after the pain becomes noticeable. In severe cases of carpal tunnel syndrome, surgery may be required to open up the tunnel.
The basis of chiropractic care is what is known as a sublaxation, which occurs when various parts of the joints or spinal vertebrae become misaligned and put pressure on nerves leading to and from the affected joint or vertebrae. Perhaps the most important thing to realize is that wrist pain does not occur in a vacuum, all by itself. Instead, the problem may actually start in the neck and then travel to the shoulder and arm, before showing up in the wrist. In essence, each of these parts of the anatomy is connected, so misalignment of the neck may set off a chain reaction that presents as wrist pain. As a result of this, Dr. Nathen Horst may actually end up doing a chiropractic adjustment to the neck in order to treat wrist pain.
The biggest advantage of chiropractic care for treating wrist pain is that it can actually get to the root of the problem, rather than simply treating the symptoms that manifest as wrist pain. Such intervention is not only safer than options such as surgery, but may actually be more effective.