Writer’s Cramp – An Underlying Cause

Writer’s cramp – you’ve heard of it – writing for long periods of time or playing a musical instrument can cause your hand to cramp up and become painful – but why does it happen?

The answer is not so simple until you study the anatomy of the hand and realize what all is going on. There are 27 tiny bones in the wrist/hand. Overlapping those bones are over 150 muscles and ligaments that all work synergistically to allow the hand to bend, move and function.

Repetitive activities can really take their toll on the hands – altering the healthy alignment of those 27 bones and causing many of the tiny muscles and ligaments to become involved as well.

When the bones and joints of the hand become misaligned it tugs and pulls on the many muscles of the hand. Then when you write, play the guitar or engage in another tedious hand activity you are likely to experience extreme tightening and spasms in the small hand muscles.

As you may already know, our chiropractic clinic is very unique in that we treat the spine but we also adjust the hands and feet and other extremity joints in the body. There are so many people who suffer with hand pain, numbness and other problems – and they don’t know that chiropractic care is an option for their hands. Specialized chiropractic adjustment to the hands can provide amazing relief for those individuals.

I’ve found that most people tend to take their hands for granted. When sitting down to write a lengthy letter, type on the keyboard for hours, or engage in any other potentially stressful activity requiring sustained hand positions or repetitive movements – it is always in your best interest to take a break occasionally and stretch out your hands and forearms.

All you have to do is to get comfortable in your chair and bend your fingers into a fist and hold for a second or two, and then extend your fingers out as straight as you can for about five seconds (you’ll feel a stretching sensation in the webs of your fingers as you do this).

It doesn’t take long to do this but it just takes your commitment to do so.

As Benjamin Franklin once said – “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”


Extraordinary Results with Knee Pain

Many people are becoming more active this time of year with jogging and brisk walks being at the top of the list. Every year at around this time we see a greater number of patients complaining of knee pain due to their increased activity.

There are several possible causes for the knee pain you may be experiencing. If you have pain behind the knee cap you may notice that climbing stairs or even walking downstairs increases that pain. Pain deep inside of the knee may become worse as you bend into a squatted position. There are also times when knee pain is on the sides of the knee or behind the knee and you may experience a worsening while walking on uneven terrain or being active for prolonged periods of time.

It may be great news for you to know that chiropractic adjustments to the feet and knees can really make a positive impact on those knee pains you may be suffering with.

The knee is a “hinge joint” similar to the hinge on a door. Unlike the hip or shoulder joints which can move in multiple planes of motion the knee is designed to only move in one plane (flex and extend). Because of this the knee becomes vulnerable when the foot, leg or hip becomes abnormally rotated or misaligned.

A healthy functioning knee depends on the feet, leg and hip bones being properly aligned. When any of those bones lose their healthy alignment you may experience symptoms of pain, stiffness or popping in the knee joint.

Do not allow your knee problem continue without having its alignment corrected. This is because when knee misalignments are left untreated the cartilage (meniscus) inside the joint will start to wear down. This is commonly known as degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis.

Maintaining healthy joint alignment in your feet, legs and hips is one of the most important things you can do to proactively prevent against degenerative arthritis in the knee joint.

Chiropractic Hand & Foot Clinics Of America™ doctors take great pride in being specially trained and equipped to successfully treat most musculoskeletal knee conditions. They will do a full assessment of the feet, knees and hips to ensure an accurate diagnosis and recommend the necessary care to achieve the quickest and most thorough correction of your knee condition. If you or somebody you know suffers with knee problems please refer them to this website for more information on how they can better manage their knee condition.


Golfer’s Elbow – Affects Many

Those who suffer with golfer’s elbow know exactly how painful it can be. You may not be aware of this but golfer’s elbow affects more than just golfers.

I don’t want to get too technical but golfer’s elbow is also known as medial epicondylitis. The medial epicondyle is the name given to a small bump on the inner side of the upper arm bone (humerus) where it connects at the elbow to the forearm bone (ulna). Muscles that control the wrist and hand movements connect to the medial epicondyle. Medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow) occurs when the tendons to those muscles become stressed, irritated and inflamed.

You may be wondering why those tendons become stressed, irritated or inflamed. It’s generally because of poor body mechanics while using the arms and hands during some repetitive activity (such as swinging a golf club). Golfer’s elbow is the common name given to this painful condition, however other repetitive activities such as throwing a ball, swinging a racquet or using hand tools can also contribute to medial epicondylitis.

If you develop pain on the inner side of your elbow that becomes worsened with repetitive hand and arm activities or gripping you may be suffering from golfer’s elbow.

Gentle chiropractic adjustments to the elbow, shoulder and even the wrist can greatly improve this debilitating condition.

Sometimes patients wonder why adjustments to the shoulder and wrist are necessary to correct this condition – it’s because the forearm bones and upper arm bones connect to both the shoulder and wrist. Merely treating the elbow will only act as a band-aid and will not allow the condition to become fully corrected.

Once you’ve been adjusted and your elbow has regained its healthy alignment it may be helpful to engage in light, non-stressful wrist and arm exercises. This will help to strengthen and further stabilize your elbow joint.

You may also want to evaluate your body mechanics as you engage in repetitive activities or sports that you practice on a regular basis – similar to how a person suffering with a back problem would evaluate their sitting posture to ensure they do not create unnecessary stress to their spine. It may even be helpful to ask a friend to watch you or video tape your activities that you’d like to evaluate.

There are many potential causes for arm and/or elbow pain therefore if you experience symptoms be certain to seek prompt medical attention to determine an accurate diagnosis for your condition.


One HANDy Tip You Should Know As You Shop This Holiday Season…

Have you gotten home after a mini-shopping-spree from the grocery or department store and instead of making two or three trips to carry everything inside you simply lined up all of the bags at once, looping them over your fingers and hand? With each of your fingers and thumb acting as a hanger you may have felt the stress and strain of the heavy groceries pulling your phalanges in directions you never knew they could bend.

Well if you’ve been guilty of this you’re not alone. In fact more often than not with our busy lifestyles, when “the going gets fast”, most people tend to place a little too much stress on their hands.

Even though a bag of groceries may not be all that heavy by itself, with multiple bags pulling unevenly or at awkward angles, the hands may become strained and begin to develop symptoms of pain.

Maybe you don’t normally carry groceries into your home in such a compromising fashion but it’s probable that you can relate in some other area in your life where you commonly use your hands in a high-stress activity.

The hands are very versatile and because of that without realizing it you may use them in such a way that could cause undue stress and even injury. Many times it’s what you would consider a light-weight task that causes stress to your hands.

The best rule of thumb (no pun intended), is to always keep your hands in as neutral of a position as possible when performing enduring tasks, even such tasks as carrying bags of groceries or gifts for the family. Using your hands in unnatural postures is one of the most harmful things that you could do that may result in strain or injury to the hands and wrists.

One HANDy take-away-tip for the holiday season is that it’s healthier to slow things down a little if it means keeping those fingers and hands in a non-contorted, more relaxed position.