Conditions Chiropractic May Help With: Carpal Tunnel and Tennis Elbow


Do you have tennis elbow or carpal tunnel? Have you been trying other forms of care without success?  Chiropractic manipulation is one of the tools that I use to successfully treat these ailments.
This blog is a continuation of a blog post seeking out the evidence of the above image.  Though I have not found the specific statements in the research regarding the effectiveness of manipulation on tennis elbow and carpal tunnel here is what the evidence says in the literature.
Tennis Elbow
Manipulation of the Wrist for Management of Lateral Epicondylitis: A Randomized Pilot Study

Background and Purpose. Lateral epicondylitis (“tennis elbow”) is a common entity. Several nonoperative interventions, with varying success rates, have been described. The aim of this study was to compare the effectiveness of 2 protocols for the management of lateral epicondylitis: (1) manipulation of the wrist and (2) ultrasound, friction massage, and muscle stretching and strengthening exercises.

Subjects and Methods. Thirty-one subjects with a history and examination results consistent with lateral epicondylitis participated in the study. The subjects were randomly assigned to either a group that received manipulation of the wrist (group 1) or a group that received ultrasound, friction massage, and muscle stretching and strengthening exercises (group 2). Three subjects were lost to follow-up, leaving 28 subjects for analysis. Follow-up was at 3 and 6 weeks. The primary outcome measure was a global measure of improvement, as assessed on a 6-point scale. Analysis was performed using independent t tests, Mann-Whitney U tests, and Fisher exact tests.

Results. Differences were found for 2 outcome measures: success rate at 3 weeks and decrease in pain at 6 weeks. Both findings indicated manipulation was more effective than the other protocol. After 3 weeks of intervention, the success rate in group 1 was 62%, as compared with 20% in group 2. After 6 weeks of intervention, improvement in pain as measured on an 11-point numeric scale was 5.2 (SD=2.4) in group 1, as compared with 3.2 (SD=2.1) in group 2.

Discussion and Conclusion. Manipulation of the wrist appeared to be more effective than ultrasound, friction massage, and muscle stretching and strengthening exercises for the management of lateral epicondylitis when there was a short-term follow-up. However, replication of our results is needed in a large-scale randomized clinical trial with a control group and a longer-term follow-up.

Specific manipulative therapy treatment for chronic lateral epicondylalgia produces uniquely characteristic hypoalgesia 
note: I am unable to read a full copy of this paper therefore I do not know the “specific manipulative treatment”.

The treatment of lateral epicondylalgia, a widely-used model of musculoskeletal pain in the evaluation of many physical therapy treatments, remains somewhat of an enigma. The protagonists of a new treatment technique for lateral epicondylalgia report that it produces substantial and rapid pain relief, despite a lack of experimental evidence. A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled repeated-measures study evaluated the initial effect of this new treatment in 24 patients with unilateral, chronic lateral epicondylalgia. Pain-free grip strength was assessed as an outcome measure before, during and after the application of the treatment, placebo and control conditions. Pressure-pain thresholds were also measured before and after the application of treatment, placebo and control conditions. The results demonstrated a significant and substantial increase in pain-free grip strength of 58% (of the order of 60 N) during treatment but not during placebo and control. In contrast, the 10% change in pressure-pain threshold after treatment, although significantly greater than placebo and control, was substantially smaller than the change demonstrated for pain-free grip strength. This effect was only present in the affected limb. The selective and specific effect of this treatment technique provides a valuable insight into the physical modulation of musculoskeletal pain and requires further investigation.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
An investigation to compare the effectiveness of carpal bone mobilisation and neurodynamic mobilisation as methods of treatment for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is the most common peripheral entrapment neuropathy. There is little literature available that addresses the management of this condition, which may partly explain why physiotherapy is often overlooked as a treatment approach in its management. This study investigated the effects of two manual therapy techniques in the treatment of patients experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome. An experimental different subject design compared three groups of subjects in three different conditions (two treatment interventions and one control group). Each group consisted of seven patients. The objectives of the study were: (1) to investigate differences between treated and untreated groups; (2) to investigate differences in the effectiveness of treatment I (median nerve mobilization) compared with treatment II (carpal bone mobilization). Measurements were taken applying several measurement tools, including active range of wrist movement (ROM flexion and extension), upper limb tension test with a median nerve bias (ULTT2a), three different scales to evaluate pain perception and function, and lastly numbers of patients continuing to surgery in each group were compared. In visual terms a clear trend was demonstrated between subjects who received treatment compared to those who were not treated, in particular the descriptive analysis of results for ULTT2a and numbers of patients continuing to surgery. When analysed statistically, less could be concluded. Only scores on a Pain Relief Scale (P<0.01) demonstrated highly significant differences between the three groups when analyzed using Kruskal-Wallis Test. In exploring the results of the two intervention groups, no statistically significant difference in effectiveness of treatment was demonstrated between carpal bone mobilization and median nerve mobilization.

Comparative efficacy of conservative medical and chiropractic treatments for carpal tunnel syndrome: a randomized clinical trail.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy of conservative medical care with chiropractic care in the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome.

DESIGN: Two-group, randomized, single-blind trial with 9 wk of treatment and a 1-month follow-up interview.

SETTING: Wolfe-Harris Center for Clinical Studies at Northwestern College of Chiropractic in Bloomington, Minnesota.

PATIENTS: Ninety-one of 96 eligible subjects who reported symptoms that were confirmed by clinical exam and nerve conduction studies.

INTERVENTIONS: Interventions included ibuprofen (800 mg 3 times a day for 1 wk, 800 mg twice a day for 1 wk and 800 mg as needed to a maximum daily dose of 2400 mg for 7 wk) and nocturnal wrist supports for medical treatment. Chiropractic treatment included manipulation of the soft tissues and bony joints of the upper extremities and spine (three treatments/week for 2 wk, two treatments/week for 3 wk and one treatment/week for 4 wk), ultrasound over the carpal tunnel and nocturnal wrist supports.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Outcome measures were pre- and postassessments of self-reported physical and mental distress, nerve conduction studies and vibrometry.

RESULTS: There was significant improvement in perceived comfort and function, nerve conduction and finger sensation overall, but no significant differences between groups in the efficacy of either treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Carpal tunnel syndrome associated with median nerve demyelination but not axonal degeneration may be treated with commonly used components of conservative medical or chiropractic care.

Chiropractic manipulation in carpal tunnel syndrome.
OBJECTIVE: To determine if chiropractic manipulation could relieve carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS).
CLINICAL FEATURES: A 42-yr-old female suffered from pain, tingling and numbness in the right wrist. Paresthesia along the C6 dermatome, a positive Phalen’s test and Tinel’s sign was present. EMG testing confirmed the clinical diagnosis of CTS.
INTERVENTION AND OUTCOME: Chiropractic manipulations were rendered 3 times per week for 4 wk, to the subject’s cervical spine, right elbow and wrist using a low amplitude, short lever, low force, high velocity thrust. Significant increase in grip strength and normalization of motor and sensory latencies were noted. Orthopedic tests were negative. Symptoms dissipated.
CONCLUSION: In this case study, chiropractic made a demonstrable difference through objective and subjective outcomes. Further investigations using double-blind, cross-over designs with larger samples are warranted.

I hope you found this interesting.

Dr Notley
Chiropractor and Athletic Therapist of Winnipeg

Related Posts

Conditions Chiropractic May Help With: Chronic Neck Pain

1 thought on “Conditions Chiropractic May Help With: Carpal Tunnel and Tennis Elbow

  1. Thank you so much for this information. This will surely help us distinguish which body issues to consider calling a chiropractor for immediate help. Sometimes, we just call one for just about any health woe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.