My wrists hurt whenever I drive to work with my co-workers and we go through a tunnel. I think it’s carpool tunnel syndrome. All jokes aside: Don’t ignore your wrist or arm pain. Pain in the hands or wrist is more common now than ever. Especially because of handheld devices and computer focused work. Pain can originate in the muscle or the joint, and can be a result of genetics, general overuse or sudden impact
As humans, we rely on our upper bodies for everyday living like driving, preparing food, getting dressed, and doing chores in the house. After overuse or trauma, in our wrists and hands can affect how we do our day to day things. Athletes, especially who play common sports like soccer, skateboarding, tennis, golf, football, skating, rock climbing, baseball, basketball are candidates who are prone to wrist and arm injuries. Pain you experience in your elbows, wrists, or hands can range from mild to severe. Probable causes of pain include Brachial plexus injury, sudden impacts, repetitive stress: any activity that involves repetitive wrist motion, Arthritis, Kienbock’s disease, Broken arm, Broken wrist/broken hand, Rotator-cuff injury, Tennis elbow, Tendinitis, Repetitive strain injury (RSI), Squashed or trapped nerve, lateral epicondylitis, thumb sprains Four of the major culprits include: Carpal tunnel syndrome, De Quervain’s Tenosynovitis, Ganglion Cysts, and Tennis Elbow.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is when the nerve that runs from your forearm into your wrist (median nerve) gets compressed. Basically, anything that irritates or squeezes the median nerve like a wrist fracture or inflammation from arthritis could more than likely lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Someone who has carpal tunnel can experience numbness, pain, and tingling, and weakness in their hand and may have trouble gripping and lifting things.
DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis is when the tendons at the base of your thumbs are inflamed which can also cause pain at the wrist and can radiate up to the forearm. This can be caused by overuse or from acute trauma.
A ganglion cyst is a benign swelling from an adjacent joint capsule or tendon sheath with the back of the wrist being a very common site. It usually appears spontaneously without any particular cause.
Lateral epicondylitis or better known as “tennis elbow” is the most common overuse syndrome in the elbow. Pain can be felt when straightening out the elbow.
All of these pathologies explained above have some similar symptoms such as pins and needles, can be described as a dull ache, tingling sensations, soreness, itching, numbness, discomfort, swelling, tenderness, and limited range of motion. Pain in the wrist/hand due to inflammation or overuse can affect someone’s ability to use their hand. Delayed diagnosis and treatment can lead to poor tissue healing and long-term disability.
Wrist or arm pain can happen to anyone — whether you’re very sedentary, very active or somewhere in between. Don’t accept wrist or hand pain as part of life, if you do and you don’t do anything about it, it’s likely to worsen and affect your ability to move freely, or enjoy the activities that you love. Physical therapy can effectively reduce and/or eliminate pain in your elbows, wrists, and hands. It can also prevent from having to do surgery to fix it because according to the APTA, manual physical therapy may work even better than surgery for things such as carpal tunnel.
P.S. If you’re experiencing stiffness in your wrist or hand, which restricts your ability to move without pain, click here to speak with our specialist physical therapist.