Shoulder, Arm, Elbow, Wrist, Hand and Chiropractic

By
William J. Owens DC, DAAMLP
Mark Studin DC, FASBE(C), DAAPM, DAAMLP
*in this paper, we are listing research to understand that chiropractor care correlates with the scientific evidence.
When most people think of chiropractic care, they immediately picture the spine. Chiropractors are “back doctors” is a common misconception. The truth is that doctors of chiropractic are trained to look at the whole person, not just the spine. The neurology inside and around the spinal column is so important that it is the foundation of chiropractic philosophy, but the truth is, the entire body is controlled by the nervous system.
In the upper limbs for example, there are numerous joints, muscle and ligaments that influence posture, our ability to work and enjoy our life. Sometimes the issue is not in the spine, but in one of the arms or legs. Chiropractic doctors are trained in the anatomy of the human body and actually have more anatomy instruction than their medical counterparts. It is the foundation of what we do. A recent study was published that looked at all of the research related to chiropractic treatment of upper limb conditions. This is important because it gives a single source to study all the research that has been published in the past. In this case since 1982!
The diagnosis and treatment of upper limb disorders is not only a part of the core curriculum of chiropractic education, but is a major part of post-graduate courses on orthopedics and neurology. When it comes to non-surgical care for the upper limbs, chiropractic is aligned perfectly to help restore pain free movement and increase strength all while maintaining the integrity of the chiropractic philosophy. Did you know that 17.1% of all presenting complaints to the chiropractic office are made up of peripheral (arm or leg) conditions with 75% of all chiropractors including adjustments to the non-spinal joints of the body?
The following chart will help you to understand which conditions may respond well to chiropractic. In conditions where there is injury to the muscle or ligament, doctors of chiropractic are trained to use soft tissue and rehabilitative techniques.
Condition
Responded to Chiropractic
Research Paper and Date
Shoulder Impingement Syndrome
YES
Pribicevic and Pollard 2005
Gleberzon 2005
Pribicevic and Pollard 2004
Smith 2000
Williams and Brockhohn 1994
Shrode 1994
Plezbert and Nicholson 1994
Kampschroder et al 1990
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
YES
Rimbey 2005
Vernon 1982
Elbow Pain
YES
Konczak 2005
Coppieters et al 2004
Annis 2003
Kaufman 2000
Tchoryk 2000
Lawrence and Humphery 1997
Greenly and Bergmann 1990
Woo 1988
Frozen Shoulder Syndrome
YES
Valli 2004
Donahue et al 2003
Kazemi 2000
Harmeyer 1995
Ferguson 1995
Polkinghorn 1995
Feeley 1992
Separated Shoulder
YES
Kiner 2004
Stoddard and Johnson 2000
Swimmer’s Shoulder
YES
Kurtz 2004
Shoulder Instability
YES
Moreau and Moreau 2001
Rotator Cuff Tear
YES
Kazemi 1999
Buchberger 1993
Shoulder Tendonitis
YES
Gimblett et al 1999
Nia 1994
Scapular Winging
YES
Horrigan et al 1994
Chronic Bursitis
YES
Hammer 1993
Volstad 1983
Wrist Pain
YES
DeSantis 2004
Russell 2003
McDermott 2003
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
YES
Davis 2004
Brunarski et al 2004
Pringle et al 2003
Brown et al 1999
Petruska 1997
Buchberger et al 1996
Valente and Gibson 1994
Mariano et al 1991
If you are experiencing problems with your shoulders, elbows, wrist or hands it may be time to sit and discuss your situation with a doctor of chiropractic. The conservative and hands on approach may just be what you need.

Studin, M. (2009). U.S. Chiropractic Directory. Retrieved From http://www.uschirodirectory.com.