A suspected case of ulnar tunnel syndrome relieved by chiropractic extremity adjustment methods

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Nov-Dec 2003;26(9):602-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2003.08.005.


Background: There has been little published about ulnar tunnel syndrome (UTS) as it relates to the practice of chiropractic, despite chiropractors' apparent interest in nerve compression syndromes and a growing trend toward providing chiropractic extremity care. This syndrome is not very common and could be mistaken for carpal tunnel syndrome by practitioners who are not aware of the differences.

Objective: To discuss the case of a patient with ulnar tunnel syndrome whose symptoms were resolved by chiropractic extremity adjustment. Clinical features A 45-year-old female patient complained of numbness in her little finger. Standard orthopedic testing procedures for the wrist and hand reproduced the symptom, but tests for the cervical spine and thoracic outlet region were negative. Intervention and outcome Care for this patient consisted of adjustment procedures directed to the wrist, primarily the hamate and pisiform articulations with the triquetrum. Her symptoms were resolved in 4 office visits, with corresponding improvement in examination findings.

Conclusions: This case report represents what a patient could expect during a typical chiropractic treatment. The examination and the care given were simple and cost-effective but might not be sufficient for a more complicated or persistent case. The costs for the care in this case were borne solely by the patient and were affordable. Hard conclusions cannot be reached without more sophisticated diagnostic procedures, additional similar cases, and controlled research conditions.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Hand / innervation*
  • Humans
  • Manipulation, Chiropractic / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ulnar Nerve / physiopathology*
  • Ulnar Nerve Compression Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Ulnar Nerve Compression Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Ulnar Nerve Compression Syndromes / therapy*