All About Elbow, Wrist & Hand Pain

Hand holding computer mouse having wrist pain

Elbow, hand and/or wrist discomfort is extremely common and can be quite debilitating. One of the most common causes of elbow, wrist or hand discomfort is overuse and it is extremely important to identify exactly what structures are being affected in order to receive the proper treatment.

Listed below, are some of the most common elbow, wrist and hand conditions:

Elbow Sprain:

This is damage to the ligaments surrounding the elbow joint, most commonly the medial collateral ligament (MCL). This ligament is the most important in the elbow due to it’s strong stability and resistance to outside forces.

A sprain can very from grade 1 (minimal tear) to grade 3 (severe or full tear). The most common causes are a fall on an outstretched arm or a direct trauma to the elbow. Other soft tissues (muscles, tendons or even nerves) can also be affected and should be addressed during treatment.

Elbow Tendonitis/Epicondylitis (Tennis/Golfer’s Elbow):

This is the most common overuse injury of the elbow. Elbow pain from repetitive use of the arm during racquet or swinging sports. Also common in those who work with their hands repetitively (eg. typing, mechanical work, construction, house work, etc.). It is an irritation to the certain muscle-bone junctions at the elbow.

Elbow tendonitis will typically come on slowly and will gradually get worse over time. Weakness or loss of grip strength may be experienced in addition to the discomfort.

Elbow Bursitis:

Inflammation of a fluid-filled sac in the elbow. Bursitis is usually the result of a direct trauma to the elbow or repetitive strain (eg. rubbing, pressure, bumping or continual motion). Swelling and stiffness is usually experienced, however pain may or may not be present.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

Wrist pain from computer mouse

Wrist pain from computer mouse

This is the most common workplace injury that is a result of overuse from activities such as typing, sewing, writing, mousing, and other repetitive movements of the hand/wrist. It can also be caused by vibration from power tools, compression from cycling or weight lifting, and the list goes on. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the compression of the median nerve, one of the main nerves that supply the arm and hand, where it passes through the “carpal tunnel” in the wrist. This is typically the result of tight muscles, altered bio mechanics, poor ergonomics and joint dysfunction.

Symptoms of pain, numbness or tingling in the thumb, index and middle fingers is most common, however some people may experience these symptoms in other areas of the hand or wrist as well. Other symptoms include pain at night, grip weakness or clumsiness.

De Quervian’s Tenosynovitis:

Overuse injury causing inflammation and pain/discomfort over the thumb and wrist. This is common with activities such as typing, gripping, playing certain instruments, racquet sports, playing video games and text messaging. Common symptoms include “squeaking” thumb movements, painful range of motion of the thumb and wrist, and grasp weakness.

Wrist Sprain:

Over-stretching of one or more ligaments in the wrist. Often traumatic from contact sports, racquet sports, motor vehicle accidents, or a fall on an outstretched hand. Wrist sprains can also be the result of overuse. Common symptoms include pain and possible swelling.


Several treatment options available to solve many painful elbow, wrist and hand conditions:

Chiropractic Joint Mobilization or Manipulation:

A gentle adjustment to the spine and/or affected joint. The focus of this therapy is to release restricted joints, restoring the body's natural alignment to allow for proper movement.

Active Release Techniques®:

Active Release Techniques® is similar to a deep tissue massage concentrating on the affected area and is accompanied by movement of the joint. This therapy is a popular choice to help speed up the recovery of soft tissue injuries because it increases blood flow to the area and helps break up scar tissue.

Cold Laser Therapy:

Cold Laser Therapy is a drug free alternative to treating various painful musculoskeletal conditions such as: Osteoarthritis, Sport and Work Injuries, Tendonitis, Back Pain, and much more. It works by transferring light energy to cells in the affected area, stimulating the body's natural healing process. It often reduces recovery time (from injuries or surgery) by 50% or more.

Functional Rehabilitation:

Functional Rehabilitation is an active therapy that focuses on correcting improper movement patterns and posture with exercises and is often prescribed alongside Chiropractic adjustments, Active Release Techniques®, and/or Cold Laser Therapy.

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