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Hand and Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) Joondalup Chiropractor

Do you work with tools/equipment that vibrates?

Do suffer from tingling in your hands and fingers?

Hand-arm vibration (HAVS) is a common syndrome which occurs in a variety of workplaces as a result of vibration transmitted to the hand and arm due to the use of hand-held power tools, hand-guided equipment or holding materials processed by machines.

Hand and Arm Vibration Syndrome can present 3 clinically in three different categories;


  1. Neurological disorder




  • Early symptoms include- tingling and numbness in fingers

  • This can progress to impaired sensation (especially to fine discrimination and temperature) in the upper limb or impaired dexterity

  • Fully developed neurological vibration injury results in irreversible damage which can result in disability and an impaired ability to work (not able to use key to open door or unable to drop a glass of water ect)

  • Carpel tunnel syndrome is a common form of neurological vibration damage, but if detected early enough full recovery is often very likely.






  1. Vascular Disorder




  • As tingling and numbness are still present, excessive vibration can also affect the capillaries of the hand and fingers and spasm uncontrollable.

  • Common symptom is whitening (loss of blood supply to affect parts) of the hand brought on by cold exposure.

  • When whitening stops, discomfort of tingling and pain may be evident.






  1. Musculoskeletal Disorder




  • Can result in arthritis, tendinitis and changes in muscle fibres which can result in reduced grip strength of the hand.


As HAVS is a stress injury caused by the prolonged exposure to vibration, by minimising the risk factors associated with the development of hand-arm vibration syndrome it can significantly decrease a person’s likelihood of developing the syndrome.


Some of these include;



  • Explore alternative methods or even consider substituting the use of the vibrating equipment.

  • Select tools with a lower vibration

  • Emission levels to minimise exposure to vibration

  • Modifying existing tools- to minimise vibration or prevent vibration from spreading into the handle of the tool used

  • Directing cold air away from hand

  • Ensure maintenance of equipment is up to date to minimise excessive vibration

  • Modifying work methods to minimise exposure to vibration

  • Altering work practices (duration on equipment/roster changes)

  • If you are a current smoker, you should cut down and quit


There is no specific treatment for HAVS, besides completely eliminating the vibration exposure, however management techniques can be used to manage symptoms and pain.

Chiropractic manipulative therapy has shown proven results in improving hand impairments which can result from hand-arm vibration syndrome, as well as improving muscle weakness, the neurological symptoms as explained above and range of motion of the hand and upper limb. Numbness and tingling in hand may be improved with specific chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue work and acupuncture. 

As this syndrome is common among many fly in fly out workers and employees in the heavy machinery industry, if you experience any of the above symptoms, especially numbness and tingling in the fingers and hands as well as blanching of the hand and arm, please contact Lakeside Chiropractic in Joondalup on 9300 9500

We service the northern Suburbs of Perth and have very experienced chiropractors.



August 08, 2015