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What is De Quervain's Tenosynovitis?

By Kate Gardner

At the end of my first pregnancy, I developed a slight ache in both my wrists. Within days, the pain grew so intense that I couldn't hold a pencil or use a pair of scissors. A quick trip to the doctor yielded a diagnosis of mild carpal tunnel disorder. I was told to pick up a brace from the drug store and take ibuprofen. Unfortunately, nothing helped. A few weeks later, my daughter was born and simply picking her up was agony. When it became clear that things weren't getting better, I went to a different doctor. After a few quick tests, I got a new diagnosis. I had De Quervain's tenosynovitis. 

What is De Quervain's tenosynovitis? 

According to, De Quervain's tenosynovitis is a form of tendonitis that affects the tendons in the inner wrist and thumb. While no one is sure what causes this problem to start, repetitive movements (like typing, picking up a baby, or writing) almost certainly make it worse. De Quervain's can occur in one or both hands. It causes pain, swelling, and can make it hard to grasp objects. 

De Quervain's is fairly common. You're at a greater risk of developing De Quervain's if you are a woman, are pregnant, take care of children, or have work or hobbies that use a repetitive hand motion (such as sewing). The pain and loss of function associated with De Quervain's can have significant impacts on ability and quality of life. 

How is De Quervain's Tenosynovitis Treated? 

Treatment for this form of tendonitis typically starts with conservative management: taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen), ice, and immobilizing the affected hand. More severe cases may benefit from specific hand exercises, special splints, prescription pain medicine, or (in the most extreme cases) surgery.  

Chiropractic care may also help manage De Quervain's tenosynovitis. Chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic may be able to help relieve the symptoms of repetitive stress disorders (like De Quervain's) by adjusting subluxations, or joint dysfunction, in the wrists. These adjustments may improve joint motion, relieve joint discomfort, improve flexibility, or decrease inflammation.  Chiropractic care has the added benefits of being noninvasive and non-addictive. As many De Quervain's sufferers are new moms, avoiding surgery and pain pills is definitely a top priority!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, visit your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fort Worth, Tex. 

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