Chiropractic Works with Dr. Birk

Prevent Re-injury of a Wrist Sprain

Posted: March 7, 2013
By: Dr Ruminder Birk

Aside from carpal tunnels syndrome, one major cause of wrist pain is a sprain of the delicate ligaments.  These ligaments hold the 12 wrist bones together. Range of motion is limited by these 12 small bones and ligaments connecting the hand to the arm. During a sprain, the range of motion of the bones is exceeded and the ligaments are stretched. Inflammation follows with symptoms of tenderness, swelling, altered function, redness and heat. This is similar to how one would sprain their ankle or neck.

It is vital to reduce the sprain through adjustments and minimize the tension on the sprained ligaments. Certain movements and stretches are very helpful but others, which move the joint to the direction of the injury, can be harmful. Because of this, it is imperative your chiropractor carefully explains the nature of your injury to prevent the joint from being re-injured.

If this is a chronic/long-term issue, the wrist needs to be stretched in directions that promote mobility and loosen shortened tissues. Your chiropractor can guide you through specific wrist stretches which promote function and minimize re-aggrevating the joints/ligaments. Although there are adjustments a chiropractor need to make, there are important home stretches that need to be done to enhance the quality of life.  You need to be an active participant during your rehabilitation process.

It's imperitive to not move the wrist in an unprotected way. Pay close attention to your movements to avoid moving it in the direction of your injury.  Also, you should not be lifting heavy objects during the acute phase of a wrist injury as you can risk worsening the injury.

In general, wrist stretches should be uniplaner. This means you move the wrist from side to side and, up and down, but not combinations of these movements. The wrist is not a "ball and socket" joint like the shoulder, and should not be moved around like it is. You may also need to address the shortened tissues of the arms and various muscle attachments. "Pin and stretch" techniques and trigger point therapy may need to be used to more intensely address the muscular components.