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DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis

DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis is a very fancy name for pain across the wrist at the thumb. The location of this pain is rather easy to identify.  The pain is felt at the base of the thumb. If you hold your hand like you’re going to shake hands with someone, the pain is felt form the base of the thumb, proximally (toward the elbow) about 2-4 inches.  The cause of this pain, is inflammation of several tendons, and the protective covering around them. This is where the name “Tenosynovitis” comes from: “Teno” meaning tendon, “synov” meaning synovium (or protective sheath), and “itis” meaning inflammation.

What Aggravates DeQuervain’s Syndrome?

DeQuervain’s may be caused by excessive gripping, use of the thumb, or use of the wrist. Activity such as tennis, racquetball, squash, bowling, excessive typing at a computer, or childcare may cause inflammation of the tendons or tissue surrounding them. These tissues are known as the tendon sheath or tenosynovium.  When these tissues inflame, they can damage the tendons and once the tendons inflame and become damaged recovery time is greatly increased. Granted, this is simply a small list of activities, because it would be impossible to list them all. Any time a person excessively has to grip something, this may result.

Why Does DeQuervain’s Syndrome Inflame?

This is a great question.  Why does it inflame sometimes, and not others?  At what point is gripping considered “excessive”?    This is going to vary person to person. Someone who has a job using a power sprayer, every day, for hours on end, will clearly have a longer duration of gripping power, than that of someone who works at a desk.  Every single person has a point where there is regular use, slight strain without damage, moderate strain with short recovery, then excessive strain with prolonged recovery. This entirely depends on the strength and conditioning of the person in question, as well as their ability to recover.  Some people that recovery period may be a day, others a month.

What’s the best treatment for DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis

DeQuervain’s responds very well to manual therapy. Myofascial release of the muscles in the forearm, cryotherapy, low-level laser therapy (LLLT), and manipulation of the wrist all greatly aid in recovering from this condition. Recovery time can be from weeks to months depending on the level of damage done to the tendons.

Current research suggests that if the pain does not improve within 2 to 3 weeks, that the wrist should be braced and immobilized to prevent excessive strain and further aid with healing.

From a medical standpoint, studies have shown nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory therapy can also aid in relieving wrist pain and reducing recovery time, but it is necessary for this type of care to be directed by a medical physician.  Cases of DeQuervain’s rarely require surgery.

Here at Herrington Family Chiropractic, Dr. Herrington is certified in FAKTR training which is an advanced level soft tissue mobilization technique that is designed to control inflammation and improve recovery from conditions such as this.  There are very particular ways to treat this, and this is what he has been trained to accomplish.

If you have wrist pain that does not resolve, call today to schedule your appointment!  716-308-2881.

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