Common Causes of Wrist Pain:
Anatomically the hand is designed for mobility not stability. The 27 small bones, muscles and ligaments of the hand enable precision movement and dexterity so we can perform various daily activities requiring grasp & precision coordination. It’s no surprise that the wrist is subject to strain when required to support intense pressure or body weight, resulting in pain and discomfort in this vulnerable joint.
The four primary causes of wrist pain include:
Overuse: Too much repetitive movement or joint impact
Injury: A sudden fall, wrist fractures, strains & sprains
Aging or Disease: Arthritic changes in the joints, inflammation, diabetes etc.
Posture / Conditioning: weak muscles, poor range of motion/ form or misalignment
With all the time we spend keyboarding on our computers complaints of wrist pain from Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) have increased significantly over the last several years. We focus here on the common types overuse syndromes or RSI that cause wrist pain and how to treat them.
Overuse or Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI): This occurs when repetitive movements of the wrist are combined with physical stress such as impact or tension. Common overuse syndromes affecting the wrist are Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tendonitis.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS): CTS is caused by pressure to the median nerve that crosses the wrist joint through a narrow band of ligaments known as the carpel tunnel. When the tunnel narrows or pressure placed on the tunnel and median nerve it can lead to pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, and eventually muscle damage in the hand and fingers. Hand intensive occupations and hobbies have higher rates of CTS and include hairdressers, massage therapy, dental hygienists, artists, graphic designers and other computer intensive jobs.
Tendonitis: Tendonitis is caused by a series of small stresses that repeatedly aggravate the tendon. Inflammation is a healing response to injury, so the tendons crossing the wrist become inflamed and painful. Professional Athletes & musicians are susceptible to tendonitis due to rigorous practice and performance schedules. Even an overly enthusiastic yoga practice with high frequency and repetition of sun salutations or arm balances can result in tendonitis!
What do you do about your wrist pain?
Not all wrist pain requires medical care. Some easy tips to keep in mind when nursing your wrists back to health:
– REST…REST…REST! Continuing to do whatever has caused your overuse injury will only aggravate your wrists more. To promote healing,
– Discontinue or modify the movement or activity that is the culprit.
– Ice, mild compression wraps and immobilizing wrist braces can help sprains and strains begin to heal by decreasing inflammation and stress on the tendons.
– Exercises that correct muscle imbalance & improve flexibility are useful once the pain has diminished. Intermittent stretch breaks throughout the day such as our Computer Users Stretching Program can help thwart off or heal wrist pain.
– Reducing tension through muscle/body work, relaxation techniques, deep breathing as well as improving awareness of posture and holding patterns can help prevent repetitive strain injuries.
Whether you are dealing with wrist pain or another injury it is important to pay attention to pain -your body’s internal gage and warning signal. With an Overuse Injury pushing through the pain or withholding the correct diagnosis or treatment can lead to a more severe injury, poor healing or long-term damage. Buy workout gloves from Wrist Assured Gloves to help with hand and wrist pain. And remember always seek professional help if your pain continues or worsens.