Skip links

Upper Extremity Problems – Shoulder, Arm, Elbow, Wrist & Hand

There are too many conditions of upper extremity to even list them all here. However, many of these problems relate to overuse (repetitive strain injuries), trauma (falls), sports injuries (Tennis Elbow, Golfer’s Elbow, swimmers shoulder), as well as everyday activities. Some upper extremity symptoms are caused by neck problems which can refer pain, numbness, or tingling into the arm. Most upper extremity symptoms, however, are due to muscle or joint problems in that region. Occasionally nerve compression syndromes also occur, causing numbness or tingling, and sometimes pain.


Muscle problems due to overuse or injury usually respond well to appropriate treatment including Cold Laser TherapyActive Release Technique (ART), stretching, strengthening, and other manual treatments. ART is a method used to breakdown scar tissue adhesions and improve healing, stimulating growth of new tissue at the site of injury. Cold Laser Therapy is light energy that is absorbed by the cell membranes and mitochondria in the cell and is converted to bio-chemical energy. This energy is then used to speed up the metabolism in the cell, and increase permeability of the cell membrane, enabling the injured tissues to heal faster.

Joint Dysfunction

Joint problems are often overlooked by non-chiropractors as chiropractors are often the only ones who really specialize in diagnosing and treating joint dysfunction, which is the most common joint problem. ‘Joint Dysfunction’ is where a joint is slightly ‘out of alignment’ and gets ‘stuck’ like that. Joints are built to move freely, and when they lose their ability to move freely they become painful. Also often leads to increased muscle tension and decreased strength via nerve reflexes between a joint and the muscles around it. Chiropractors learn to feel these joint restrictions and then ‘adjust’ the joint to restore motion, relieve pain, and regain normal muscle function. (See ‘What is joint dysfunction?’).

Rehab exercise is usually required to rebuild muscle strength, balance and flexibility, and to help to prevent re-injury.

Often muscle therapy, correction of joint motion, and rehab all need to be performed in order to achieve the best results. Neglecting one aspect of treatment will only provide a fraction of the improvement that will be achieved with proper performance of all three. Join us here at Alberta Back and Neck Rehab & Sports Injuries Clinic in Calgary to begin your treatments.