We have been helping patients with back and wrist pain in downtown San Francisco for around 20 years now. When we first started, office workers and professionals would perform various tasks throughout the day and there would be a lot of moving around. Today, it's pretty much sitting in front of the computer all day with a few breaks here and there. Then, more at home.
Well…not only is there an entire body of recent research that suggests that sitting all day is bad for your heart, your internal organs, your immune system, and your skeletal system…sitting for prolonged periods doing repetitive motions is terrible for your back and hard on your wrists.
Think about it. Life is Motion. We are designed to be running around the woods hunting for food and getting plenty of exercise and sunlight. When we deprive ourselves of this movement we steer ourselves in the direction of illness.
The nerves that control the upper extremities (arms and hands). exit from the upper back and neck. When you sit for long periods…especially if you do not have a properly set-up workstation, it causes tremendous stress on the spinal bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons of the spine. This can lead to muscle spasms that can pull the bones out of alignment (vertebral subluxation) pinching the nerves that control the arm and hand.
For the most part, this happens silently. Then at a certain point you begin to feel things like weakness of grip, numbness, tingling, and wrist pain. There may or may not be any back or neck pain.
This type of injury is referred to as a Repetitive Stress Injury (RSI).
A good chiropractor or therapist will quickly determine during the exam and consultation if you have RSI, or if the cause is something else. RSI takes longer to treat than a new muscle strain from say sleeping funny or putting together a piece of furniture..or a fresh sports injury. A good doctor knows the difference.
Fortunately, with the advancement of medical technology, treating back and wrist pain has become a whole lot easier. In addition to the manual therapies that have served us well for so long (and are still the cornerstone of our treatment) we have Deep Tissue Laser, Active Release Technique, Graston Technique, and Kinesio Taping…as well as Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression. All of which can be mixed and matched per individual needs. It's rare when we can't get the job done.
So, YES…wrist pain and back pain can be connected. And your wrist pain may still be connected to your back even if there is no back pain (or neck pain). A doctor that treats back and wrist pain day in and day out will be able to check your back and neck and determine if it is the source of your hand pain.
Our San Francisco Chiropracors treat the full spine and upper extremities on both sides (shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers) when a patient presents with RSI. After-all…the spine functions as a unit. And when RSI builds up slowly over time…it throws everything out.
Same with the upper extremities. When you have pain in say the wrist…you favor it and use the other side more…now you are at risk to develop overuse syndrome on that side. Same with the shoulders and elbows…they are connected to the wrists. When the wrists are injured, they have to work more than they should and can lose alignment (this may or may not be symptomatic).
Anyway…as you can see, there is a lot involved in the treatment on back, neck, and wrist pain. And who treats you matters. Do they use this comprehensive approach and have the skills to deliver the goods…or is it just wrist splints and Motrin? And not all chiropractors are equal either. Some have no clue what to do. So do your homework. And if you need help finding a chiropractor in your area send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That's about it on this topic…I hope you found it useful.
Dr. Eben Davis is an expert on the nonsurgical treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), repetitive stress injuries, and beck, neck, and wrist pain. Dr. Davis has helped train thousands of chiropractors on how to treat CTS and it's related disorders.
If you live or work near the San Francisco Financial District and would like to find out if you are a candidate for neck, back, or wrist pain treatment…call Executive Express Chiropractic at 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary consultation.