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Upper Extremity Complaints


As a Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner (CCEP), Dr. Kirk L. Wehrspan is a trained expert in performing specific adjustments to the bones and joints of the hand, elbow, and shoulder. Many people are familiar with chiropractic care as it relates to the spine, however, the idea of having the joints of your hand, elbow, and shoulder adjusted is a whole new concept to many. With standard chiropractic practices a chiropractor will improve a patient’s back condition by administering gentle, specific adjustments to misaligned vertebra. Similarly, Dr. Wehrspan provides his upper extremity pain patients with adjustments to the misaligned hand, elbow, and shoulder bones thus providing the patient with relief. Because Dr. Wehrspan is actually improving the alignment of the bones in the upper extremity, he is truly getting to the root cause of the problem.

Hand Treatment

Think about how many different ways you use your hands on a daily basis. The majority of hand activities include gripping, pinching, pulling, pushing or twisting. These repetitive, tedious, strenuous movements can lead to serious health problems involving the hands and wrists.

With 27 wrist and hand bones all held together by tiny ligaments and controlled by a series of small muscles the hand is a strong but yet delicate part of the body. When you use your hands while they are positioned in a biomechanically incorrect position this will cause them to become compromised, weakened and ultimately become injured. When the wrist or hand bones become misaligned, it can cause irritation and stress to the muscles, tendons, joints, ligaments and nerves. This will result in a loss of healthy hand and wrist function which may trigger symptoms such as pain, tingling, numbness, burning and a reduction of finger and grip strength.

If you have been suffering with hand pain, numbness, tingling, loss of hand strength it is very important that you consult with Dr. Wehrspan as he specializes in diagnosing and treating hand, wrist and arm conditions. His solution to restoring normal function, strength and healthy alignment to the hands and wrists is accomplished using specific, gentle joint manipulations.

Common Hand/Wrist Conditions treated are:

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Median Nerve Entrapment - De Quervain's Tenosynovitis - Wrist/Hand Sprains - Repetitive Strain Injuries - Osteoarthritis - Tendonitis - Ganglion Cysts

Elbow Treatment

Chiropractic care is an excellent choice for relief of elbow pain. By actually fixing the structural components of your elbow, you can experience both pain relief and prevention of future elbow problems.

There are three bones involved in the elbow joint: the radius, ulna, and humerus. This ball and socket style joint allows us to move the arm in a variety of ways, such as when we do bicep curls or when we turn the arm from palm facing down to palm facing up. The complexity of this joint means there are plenty of opportunities for strain and injury, irritation or inflammation. Usually pain in the elbow is caused by some combination of overuse, overexertion, genetic makeup, or degenerative disease.

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a kind of tendonitis that results from overuse of the muscles and tendons that connect the forearm muscles. The repetitive motion of tennis can lead to this condition however, Dr. Wehrspan feels by far the most common cause of Tennis Elbow is mouse and keyboard use. He often refers to this condition as “Mouse Elbow.” The pain often gradually increases and can make shaking hands or squeezing objects difficult. It is unlikely to go away on its own, and Dr. Wehrspan’s effective treatment may include rest and ice, exercises, massage, and joint manipulation.

Golfers elbow is similar to tennis elbow, but instead of the back or outside of the elbow, the condition usually affects the inside of the elbow. Also, as in tennis elbow, most golfers elbow complaints arise from other activities such as computer use, knitting, construction activities, and use of repetitive wrist flexion. Treatment for golfers elbow is very similar to that for tennis elbow.

Bursitis refers to inflammation or injury to the bursae, which are our joints shock absorbers. The elbow bursa is located at the end of the elbow, between the bones and loose skin. Bursitis is usually caused by trauma, prolonged pressure such as leaning on a desk, infection, or medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. If left untreated, pain and difficulty moving the elbow can result.

Common Elbow Conditions treated are:

Tennis Elbow - Golfer's Elbow - Ulnar Nerve Entrapment - Repetitive Strain Injuries – Osteoarthritis –Bursitis – Tendonitis

Shoulder Treatment

The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the human body. We are able to reach over our head, behind our back, and across the front of our body. This extreme motion in the shoulder can lead to shoulder injuries rather easily. The shoulder joint is very shallow and is held together mostly by ligaments. The muscles surrounding the shoulder are what actually give it most of its stability and strength. The rotator cuff is a group of small muscles that hold the humerus, the bone in the upper arm, against the shoulder joint. Several muscles in the upper chest and upper back stabilize the shoulder even further by ensuring smooth and even motion of the shoulder.

Shoulder pain can range from a mild annoyance to inability to move the shoulder due to pain. This is because shoulder pain can actually come from many different causes. Mild shoulder pain following over-use is often caused by swelling and inflammation of the muscles, tendons or joint itself. This is referred to as tendonitis or bursitis.

Rotator cuff syndrome is caused by inflammation, swelling, or even tears in the muscles and tendons in the rotator cuff. The most common tendon injured in rotator cuff syndrome is the supraspinatus tendon. The supraspinatus tendon is on the top of the shoulder and is located between two bones. Whenever you raise your arm to the side and up to your ear, the supraspinatus tendon can be pinched between the two bones. Any muscular imbalances between the upper chest and the upper back can place the supraspinatus tendon in a position where it is even more likely to be pinched. Muscular imbalances between the chest and upper back are common because many people have poor posture and tend to let the shoulders sag forward. Rotator cuff syndrome causes shoulder pain in the front and side of the shoulder, and the pain is often worse at night. Lifting the arm to the side, especially if you are holding anything, is very painful. Any activity that involves a lot of overhead arm motion, such as swimming, throwing, or even sleeping with your arm up, can cause rotator cuff syndrome.

Rotator cuff syndrome can lead to other shoulder problems if it is not treated quickly and effectively. Many people with rotator cuff syndrome will stop using the shoulder because it is too painful. This can actually lead to frozen shoulder. A frozen shoulder is caused by adhesions that develop between the tendons and ligaments. These adhesions actually cause the structures to get stuck together, and this can severely limit shoulder motion. Another complication of rotator cuff syndrome is degenerative changes in the shoulder. If the rotator cuff is injured and not rehabilitated properly, years later the shoulder can develop calcium deposits in the tendons or osteoarthritis in the joint itself.

To minimize complications from your shoulder complaint, you should seek an evaluation from Dr. Wehrspan. It is important to keep the shoulder moving to avoid the complication of frozen shoulder. Dr. Wehrspan will tell you what shoulder motions to emphasize and which ones to avoid as your injury heals. Specialized chiropractic shoulder adjustments can be used to remove the restriction and pain in your shoulder. Specific muscle stretching and at home exercises are used to correct any muscular imbalances between the upper back and chest. Correcting these imbalances helps to ensure smooth and even shoulder motion.

Common Shoulder Conditions treated are:

Rotator Cuff Syndrome - Frozen Shoulder - Bursitis - Tendonitis - Arthritis - Sprains/Strains - Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

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Our Location

924 4th St - West Des Moines

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Monday:

9:00 AM-12:00 PM

2:00 PM-5:30 PM

Tuesday:

2:00 PM-5:30 PM

Wednesday:

9:00 AM-12:00 PM

2:00 PM-5:30 PM

Thursday:

9:00 AM-12:00 PM

2:00 PM-5:30 PM

Friday:

9:00 AM-2:30 PM