Common wrist pain can be due to:
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a painful disorder of the hand caused by pressure on the median nerve that run through the wrist. The nerve can get compressed from scar tissue from inflammation, arthritis, pregnancy fluid retention, wrist trauma or an overuse injury where the tendons are inflamed from repetitive hand movements. Symptoms include numbness, weakness, pins and needles, and pain (particularly at night). Osteopathic treatment is aimed at stretching the soft tissues, freeing restricted wrist bones, draining excess fluid and improving circulation.
DeQuervain syndrome is an inflammation of the tendons surrounding the thumb, due to repetitive movements of the thumb. It is more common in women. Symptoms include pain, swelling or difficulty moving the thumb. Osteopathic treatment may improve the thumb joint movement and decrease the swelling.
Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can involve the wrist and hand joints. There is limited movement of the joints and swelling around the knuckles. Treatment can improve the joints range of movement and increase the comfort for the patient.
With all the above complaints, the osteopath will also look at how the neck, shoulder and elbow joints are moving, to give a holistic treatment to the patient.
Elbow pain is most commonly due to overuse/repetitive activities, such as gripping a tennis racquet, golf club, screwdriver, doorknob, cash register job or painting. Trauma, such as a fall or knock to the elbow, or arthritis can also cause pain.
Symptoms can include pain which is aggravated with grasping an object or using the wrist against resistance, a weaker grip, constant ache, especially at night or sharp pain on moving the elbow. If there is a trauma involved, there can be swelling or the elbow might look bent in the wrong way. Arthritis can also cause swelling and a grating noise in the elbow joint.
Osteopaths may help your elbow pain by:
- treating the area with manual therapy as well as surrounding areas such as the wrist, shoulder, clavicle, upper back and neck
- providing advice on wearing brace support/taping/ice protocol
- a stretch/strengthening program to address the musculature imbalance
- providing information and advice on taking anti-inflammatories
- referring you to a GP for further investigation if needed.
Why choose an osteopath
Osteopaths look at wrists and elbows in a holistic way and can be an alternative to other manual therapists like chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists. Your osteopath will look at the alignment of the bones and joints as well as at the tension in the muscles. They also take a whole body approach and want to find other areas that may be contributing to your pain. Osteopaths look at how wrist and elbow problems may be influenced biomechanically from other body regions like the shoulder and upper back as an example. This whole body approach means the osteopath may be able to reduce pain and improve mobility more efficiently. Osteopaths can treat both acute and chronic problems in your wrist or elbow and in a gently way without any strong manipulation.