Many patients are unaware that chiropractic care can be used to treat a wide rage of ailments beyond stiff necks and achy backs. For far too long, people have assumed a chiropractor’s expertise doesn’t reach beyond neck and spine issues. In reality, chiropractors can provide treatment from head to toe! Today we are going to focus on injuries to the arm, such as tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, and rotator cuff tears, and how regular chiropractic treatments can be a tremendous help in the long run.
Tennis elbow is a repetitive strain injury so common, that you don’t even need to be a tennis player to get it. With constant and repetitive use, tendons and muscles in the elbow can strain and even tear slightly, leading to pain, stiffness and a lack of mobility in the joint. Some patients even complain of shooting pain and numbness, starting from the neck down all the way down to the hand. Chronic tennis elbow can make even the simplest tasks like gripping a coffee cup or lifting a bag of groceries difficult.
So you might be wondering, can a chiropractor help with tennis elbow? Well, the answer is yes! In a chiropractic office, tennis elbow can be treated in a phased approach, starting by examining and analyzing misalignment in the neck, shoulder, elbow, hand, and wrist and making the proper adjustments.
Massage therapy techniques, like myofascial release or trigger point therapy, can be added to help break up scar tissue, increase blood flow to the area, and decrease inflammation. Once pain has decreased enough, your doctor might prescribe a rehabilitation program to build up strength in addition to chiropractic treatment.
Rotator Cuff Tears
The rotator cuff, comprised of 4 interconnected muscles surrounding the shoulder, allows you to move your arm in all directions. Over time, whether due to repetitive stress or an untreated injury, tendons can become inflamed and cause pain. While not the most severe ailment, shoulders in a weakened state could lead to partial or full tears in the tendon, so starting treatment as soon as possible is crucial.
With rotator cuff injuries, chiropractic treatment will most likely include some sort of imaging before determining treatment, like x-rays or MRI scans. Should a severe or complete tear show, surgery would most likely be the best option at that point.
Should the injury be treatable, your doctor will focus on identifying and releasing soft tissue tension in the neck, mid-back and rotator cuff muscles. In conjunction with treatment, strengthening exercises (such as shoulder presses with LIGHT dumbbells) can be added to help take pressure off the tendons and the joint itself.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome is an ailment characterized by pain, tingling and numbness in the hand and wrist. Sometimes people will feel symptoms in the forearm as well. The symptoms are caused by constant and consistent pressure on the median nerve when it passes through the carpal tunnel (the only nerve that passes through the wrist area of the body). Carpal tunnel is an issue most often associated with office workers that spend hours each day typing away on a keyboard.
Even though the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome originate in the wrist, performing chiropractic adjustments along the entire run of the median nerve (neck, upper spine, elbow, wrist and hands) to ensure no added pressure is being placed. Aside from performing exercises to strengthen the hands and wrists and additional chiropractic treatment, wrist splints or supports might be utilized to help limit flare-ups at work or during other activities. Your doctor might even be able to suggest several ergonomic office products such as mice and keyboards that keep pressure off the nerve and help keep your wrist in a healthier position.
While the treatment options explained above could be just what the doctor ordered, it’s important to know that every case and issue is unique and some treatment options will be better than others. Before embarking on any treatment regimen, be sure to contact the professionals at Conscious Chiropractic to discuss your particular situation. We will take the time to get the full scope of your ailment and symptoms to devise the best possible course of treatment for you!