How is Arm Pain Treated by a Chiropractor?


Arm pain refers to any type of discomfort or pain in the arm. It usually includes pain emanating from the joint of the shoulder to the joint of the wrist. It is usually the result of an injury, infection, inflammation or irritation of the skin, bones or joints or muscles in the arm. Arm pain does not necessarily have to originate in the arm. Sometimes the pain arises in the neck or upper back. The conventional treatment to manage arm pain often includes rest, splint or sling, elevation, elastic wrap, cold compresses, heat therapy, over-the-counter painkilling medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and surgery.

Whether the pain originates in the arm directly or is transferred from the neck or upper back, chiropractic care can help alleviate the pain and the other symptoms.

It is believed that less than 5% of all arm pain that are caused by irritated or pinched nerve actually requires surgery. That means most of the cases can be healed using conservative treatment like chiropractic.

Chiropractic Treatment for Arm Pain

A comprehensive approach is taken by chiropractors in the diagnosis and treatment of arm pain. Arm pain may be caused by a great variety of factors that is why your chiropractor will perform a careful and thorough examination to determine the specific structures causing your pain. In this process step, all the structures in what chiropractors describe as the kinematic chain from the neck down to the fingers, will be evaluated to pinpoint the specific structures that are in pain and where exactly that pain comes from. This chain also includes the shoulder, elbow, and the wrist. The neurological factors will be checked. And so will the structures in the arm – the muscles, tendons and soft tissues. The neurological structures will definitely be looked at as well.

Diagnostic tests like x-ray and/or MRI may be requested to more accurately diagnose what is causing your condition. Conditions like arthritis, stenosis or herniated disc may likely cause nerve pain that drives down the arm. These conditions can often be successfully treated through chiropractic. As you receive treatment and with continued careful examination every visit, a referral to an orthopedist or neurologist may be done by your chiropractor if it is deemed that you need a more specialized evaluation for your condition.

Your chiropractor will likely recommend to you necessary lifestyle changes in the areas of ergonomics and postural issues.

On top of the precise spine adjustments, your chiropractor may also perform adjustments to the joints of the extremities, including shoulder, wrist and elbow to make sure that they all function well as a unit.

Let’s take the chiropractic treatment of tennis elbow as an example. Tennis elbow is pain in the outside part of the elbow. The pain is caused by tendon inflammation resulting from the rubbing action between the tendon and the bony protrusion of the elbow. The chiropractor performs adjustments that can realign the upper spine and the neck, reducing the pressure on elbow ligaments.

Another example is the chiropractor’s treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome, a painful condition of the hand and arm. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a result of a pinched nerve in the wrist. Several factors can contribute to this condition that includes wrist anatomy, patterns of using the hand and certain underlying health issues. The chiropractor isolates the cause of the condition and performs upper back and neck manipulations and adjustments to assist in the treatment of carpal tunnel condition.

Your chiropractor may opt to include and use other therapy modalities during the chiropractic sessions. This may include heat or ice , cold laser, ultrasound, gentle stretching and exercises to strengthen or stretch the structures around the arm, shoulder and neck.

Chiropractic care is compatible to most conditions involving arm pain. Chiropractic care is effective and safe and gets into the root of the pain, ensuring that the underlying cause is addressed and reoccurrence is prevented.