The wrist is one of the most used joints in the body. It is also one part of the body no one thinks about until it is no longer functioning the way it was supposed to. Many times when there is a motor vehicle accident, both driver and passengers are at risk of injuring their wrists. In 2009, a National Ambulatory Care Survey stated that more than 10 million people visited either an emergency or urgent care facility with complaints of wrist related injury. Wrist pain does not have to linger, and can often be helped with conservative chiropractic care.
The wrist is frequently injuries in a car wreck when the individual extends the arm in order to brace for the impact. The wrist is frequently injured as it comes in contact with:
- Steering Wheel – this commonly happens to the driver invloved in the accident
- Dashboard – the driver and passenger in the front seats will often brace against the dashboard, especailly if the airbag does not deploy
- Broken Glass – some patients will brace against a window, which not only results in wrist pain, but can also involve getting cuts, scratches, and other lacerations
- Seat Belt – the seat belt will occasionally wrap itself around the wrist, leading to pain
- Loose items in the car – projectiles within the car can strike a variety of body parts, including the wrist
The human hand and wrist comprises of twenty seven bones, which are required to work together with the ligaments, tendons, muscles, and fascia in order to remain pain free. The design in normal situations provides ease in movement for use of the hands. However, the intricacies the system means that a motor vehicle accident can lead to injury, especially in compaction injuries where someone uses the wrist and hand to protect themselves as they brace for impact.
Causes of Wrist Pain
- Wrist Sprain and Wrist Strain: Tendons connect the muscles of the forearm to the bones of the hands and strain on these has the potential to lead to serious injury. The ligaments the stabilize each bone and joint can also be sprained, leading to increased pain. Damage can range from simply stretched to fully torn and could require surgery. Many times, a focused rehabilitation program can improve the symptoms from the strain/sprain injury.
- Fractures: This happens when one of the bones hits against something and breaks. Pain can be felt in the wrist even if it was one of the bones in the forearm. Fractures are identified through imaging services, like an x-ray. Our office works with multiple imaging centers, and radiologists to ensure proper diagnosis, and identification of wrist fractures. When a fracture is present, we refer patients to the proper doctor in order to stabilize the joint with casting, or surgery.
- Tendonitis: Inflammation of the tendons is associated with swelling, pain, popping or crackling when moving, and reduced range of motion.
- Radiating symptoms: Occasionally, wrist pain does not really come from the wrist, but travels down the arm from the neck, shoulder, or elbow. When nerves are injured, or compressed, sometimes the symptoms in the wrist vary from pain, to numbness, tingling, and temperature changes.
Managing and Treating Wrist Pain and Synergy Chiropractic of Houston
Wrist pain can be frustrating, and a big inconvenience, whether the pain is a result of a slip and fall, auto accident injury, or playing basketball with the kids. At Synergy Chiropractic of Houston, our goal is to correctly identify the cause of the wrist pain first, and then we can use a variety of therapeutic techniques to decrease pain and accelerate the healing process of our patients. Chiropractic, acupuncture, soft tissue procedures, and muscle manipulation, and specific exercises are a common approaches to helping reduce wrist pain. Treatment varies according to the type of injury sustained, while certain conditions such as fractures require a referral to a separate specialist in order to receive casting and rest until the bones have mended. Following the removal of the cast, we are able to perform the proper wrist pain rehabilitation activities.
If you or someone you know has recently been in a motor vehicle accident, the should be seen as soon as possible. If left untreated, the injury can lead to life long discomfort and pain, even if their symptoms do not include wrist pain.