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Treating hand and wrist pain with chiropractic care

We use our hands and wrists every day of our lives and rely on them to be in good working order to get things done – from the simplest tasks to the most complex. Looking after them is very important, and it involves looking after every part of them, down to the bones, joints and ligaments.

The human hand and wrist are made up of 29 bones (including the radius and ulna in the forearm) and 30 joints. These joints are held together and move with the help of sturdy tissue called ligaments and muscles in your hand, wrist and forearm. These muscles are also connected to tendons that run through your wrist and into each finger (1,2).

Problems with any of these structures can wind up causing you pain. The good news is, as a joint and musculoskeletal specialist, your chiropractor can help to address these issues and get you back on track.

Common injuries of the hands and wrists

So what can go wrong? Such a complex structure combined with such frequent use means hand and wrist pain is quite common, especially among those who do repetitive work (including office jobs that call for a lot of typing) and athletes.

Some common conditions include:

  • Wrist or finger sprain. This occurs when a ligament is stretched or torn, usually due to overstretching, repetitive movement or an impact injury, like a fall (3).

  • DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis. Common among athletes, repetitive use of the thumb leads to thickened tendons, causing pain and tenderness in the wris (4,5).

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. When the median nerve (which runs all the way from our hand to your upper arm) is compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel, it can result in pain in the thumb, index and middle fingers6. Repeated overextension of your wrist or conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes can cause this condition (3).

  • Repetitive strain injury. Repetitive movements such as typing, texting, scrolling or even playing tennis can cause swelling, numbness and pain in your hand, wrist and fingers (3).

  • Sports injuries. There are many and varied ways you can injure your hands if you’re not careful while playing sport, including Boxer’s fracture (often occurring when striking something with a closed fist), Jersey finger (where the tendon at the fingertip pulls away from bone), or Baseball finger (where a tendon tears or detaches from the bone) (3).

How chiropractic care can help

There are a few key ways that chiropractic care can make a positive difference for your wrist or hand pain:

  • Mobilising the joints and adjacent joints. Studies suggest that for mild to moderate wrist sprains, rest, elevation, and ice along with mobilisation of the joint leads to quicker recovery and improvement in range of motion than immobilising the wrist with a cast (7,8).

  • Releasing muscle tension. Muscle tension, whether from stress, exercise, or compensating for an injury, can put undue strain on surrounding ligaments, tendons and joints, which can spell trouble for hands and wrists. Chiropractic adjustment can help release this tension to avoid further strain.

  • Rehab exercises to strengthen and reduce reinjury. Last but certainly not least, your chiropractor can work with you to put together a plan for simple, at-home exercises that will keep your wrists and hands strong. For more serious injuries, some studies also suggest that chiropractic can even be a beneficial part of a post-surgery routine (9).

If your hands and wrists are sore, stiff, or overworked, a chiropractor can help to address some of the underlying musculoskeletal causes. Get in touch today to set up an appointment and talk about your needs.


1 Basic Hand and Wrist Anatomy, Hand Institute of Charleston, 2022

2 J Eschweiler, J Li, V Quack, B Rath, A Baroncini, F Hildebrand, F Migliorini., Anatomy, Biomechanics, and Loads of the Wrist Joint, Life (Basel), 2022

3 D Wizinia, N Iftikhar, E Cronkleton., Understanding the Bones of the Hand and Wrist, Healthline, 2022

4 DM Avery, CM Rodner, CM Edgar., Sports-related wrist and hand injuries: a review, J Orthop Surg Res, 2016

5 JA Papa., Conservative management of De Quervain’s stenosing tenosynovitis: a case report, J Can Chiropr Assoc, 2012

6 J WIPPERMAN, K GOERL., Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: Diagnosis and Management , Am Fam Physician, 2016

7 DD May, M Varacallo., Wrist Sprain, StatPearls, 2022

8 M Clementson, N Thomsen, P Jørgsholm, J Besjakov, A Björkman., Is early mobilisation better than immobilisation in the treatment of wrist sprains?, Journal of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery, 2016

9 A McHardy, W Hoskins, H Pollard, R Onley, R Windsham, Chiropractic Treatment of Upper Extremity Conditions: A Systematic Review, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 2008


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