Wrecked Wrists: Wrist Pain Causes and Treatments

Our wrists are so delicate yet important: from small, minute tasks like typing and writing to big movements like lifting, we use our wrists for almost everything!

However, because of this, our wrists are incredibly prone to injury. Common causes of wrist pain include:

  1. Overuse and strain, caused by grabbing, gripping and twisting repetitively. This includes holding your phone, typing, playing certain sports and musical instruments over and over again.
  2. Sprains, which occur when the wrist experiences a sudden impact such as a fall on the wrist.
  3. Arthritis, typically characterised by stiffness and inflammation and not unique to the elderly—young adults can get it too!

There are many injuries and conditions associated with these causes. Today, we’ll take a look at two of the most common issues: carpal tunnel syndrome and mummy wrist.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Ever woken up with a dull, throbbing pain that travels up your arm after lying on your side? That’s a symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome!

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in your hand, connected to your fingertips, is irritated due to improper alignment of the wrist or swelling. The nerves in the fingertips travel through the wrist, up the arm, and into the neck. This results in pain, numbness, weakness, or a burning sensation through the arm. The pain in your hands and wrists can also be worsened by tightness around the arm and neck or restricted spinal joints.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be identified by pain that runs through the arm, usually caused by repetitive movements like excessive typing.

This syndrome is most commonly associated with people who are constantly using a computer—typing is a motion that, when performed repetitively and with poor posture, can cause carpal tunnel syndrome.

Here’s how you can manage carpal tunnel syndrome:

  • Give yourself frequent breaks in between typing, texting or continuous motion that causes pain and/or tingling in the hands.
  • Stretch the wrist in flexion and extension—constantly bend and stretch it properly.
  • Invest in an ergonomic mouse pad and keyboard.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually treated with:

  • Wrist adjustments to create more mobility within the joint
  • Ultrasound therapy to calm the inflammation or swelling and stimulate collagen production (contained in the muscles of your wrist) and healing
  • Trigger points or myofascial release technique to release the muscles and tension around the wrist, arm and neck
  • Kinesio-taping to stabilise the wrist and alleviate the pressure on the nerve
Kinesio-taping provides stability to the wrist.

Mummy Wrist

Also called Dequervain’s tendonitis, mummy wrist is commonly associated with overuse of the wrist like grasping, gripping, pinching, and wringing. This is linked to activities such as lifting or carrying a child or baby, excessive text messaging, garden work, and racquet sports.

Mummy wrist is a repetitive stress injury. The tendons (connective tissues) that link your wrist and lower thumb together are covered by a protective sheath. When this sheath gets irritated by repetitive movements, it swells and thickens. This inflammation is what causes mummy’s wrist.

If you encounter pain or difficulty moving or controlling your thumb while pinching or grasping, a “catch” or “sticking” sensation when moving the thumb and pain and swelling near or at the base of the thumb, there’s a chance you’ve got mummy wrist.

Mummy wrist pain occurs near or at the base of the thumb.

Managing mummy wrist includes:

  • Cold therapy or cryotherapy to calm inflammation
  • Rest to reduce swelling
  • Wrist braces to prevent overuse
  • Gentle stretch of the tendon (through flexion and extension)

The treatments for mummy wrist are the same as that for carpal tunnel syndrome.

If your wrist feels stiff, painful or uncomfortable, consult a chiropractor to find out what is causing your issues and treatment solutions. Give us a call at 62084669 or drop us an email wecare@mychirocare.sg!

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