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Common Causes of Wrist Pain And How Active Release Therapy Can Help

There are many causes of wrist pain, including those caused by repetitive motions, and those caused by genetics, age, or disease. Wrist pain can affect people who lead an active life and those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. Every single person can be prone to wrist pain caused by injury, impact, or by repetitive activities. Wrist pain can be simply irritating or it can cause pain that impacts a person’s ability to perform even the simplest of tasks. Whatever the cause, there are non-surgical solutions to relieving wrist pain, including the Active Release Technique(ART®). Developed by Dr. Michael Leahy, ART® was designed to help heal soft tissue injuries and nerve damage-related injuries.


Common Causes of Wrist Pain

Injury. There are two common types of wrist injury: sudden impact and repeated use. 

The sudden impact is what most people think of when they hear the word injury, including sprains, strains, fractures, and breaks. The wrists are at a high risk of injury, since the natural reaction to falling is to put your hands out to catch yourself, leading to impact-related trauma. The wrists are also prone to sprains during sports, as many of them include the use of the hands and wrists in some capacity

Repetitive action that causes injury could also be sport-related, but it can refer to any repetitive motion that is performed during the course of daily activities. These can include everyday activities like typing emails and scrubbing dishes, or work-related activities like kneading dough for a baker or the tasks of an assembly line worker. Repeated strain on the wrists can lead to inflamed tissues or even stress fractures.


Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage cushioning the ends of your bones deteriorates. This type of arthritis is most common in those who have injured their wrists in the past.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints and causes painful swelling. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not completely known, but it is speculated that your environment may trigger certain genes that activate it.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is caused by pressure on the median nerve that passes through the carpal tunnel, which is a passage in the palm side of your wrist.

Ganglion cysts are soft tissue cysts filled with fluid that can develop on the wrists. If the cysts push on nerves, they can become painful. The cysts can also limit movement and can vary in size, with some being as small as a pea and others getting as large as 2.5cm in diameter.

Kienbock’s disease is a disease that causes the lunate bone to break down due to limited blood flow. This disease causes pain, swelling, decreased grip strength, and limited movement.

How can ART® help?

Active Release Technique® is a non-invasive chiropractic technique used in the problem area. While traditional chiropractic treatment focuses on making adjustments to the body, Active Release Therapy uses massage-like movements. The physical manipulation and movement release the soft tissue that is often a source of pain and inflammation. Different stretches and precise pressure are also used to break up scar tissue and promote blood flow. ART® focuses on the area of injury and aberrations in tissue texture and tension. This chiropractic technique reduces recovery time and increases the range of motion.

Utilize The Skills of A Chiropractor Trained In Active Release Therapy

If you suffer from any of the afflictions above, Shepherd Health can help. Their competent and professional staff have been using Active Release Therapy for over 22 years and have been helping patients get back to pain-free living. Dr. Jay Shepherd at Shepherd Health is an ART® certified chiropractor, trained by Dr. Leahy himself, and is experienced in treating various causes of wrist pain. Soft tissue damage that is left untreated can be as dangerous as visible wounds, so take action early to make your recovery as fast and easy as possible. Call the experts at Shepherd Health at 1-403-543-7499 and schedule a consultation. The sooner you call, the sooner you can Live, Work and Play, Painfree.


Q: How long does ART® take?
A: One session is only about 15 minutes! Some conditions can be treated in 4 to 6 sessions, but discuss with your chiropractor at Shepherd Health about your condition and what recovery will entail.

Q: Is ART® different from chiropractic?
A: Active Release Technique is a specific technique used by chiropractors, but it does require extra training and an examination, and not all chiropractors are licensed to practice it. Dr. Shepherd at Shepherd Health Calgary, Kensington, NW is licensed and can answer any question you may have about ART®.

Q: Can I receive ART® if I’m in competitive sports?
A: Yes. In fact, Active Release Therapy will help you prevent the need for invasive surgeries and give you a faster recovery time from your injury. Part of the reason Dr. Leahy developed this technique was to help Olympic athletes get back to training and competing after receiving injuries such as sprained ankles and wrists.

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