Home  •   About NPI  •  Articles  •  Free Webinars  •  Media Inquiries  •  Partners  •  Join E-Newsletter  •  Contact Us  

National Posture Institute Products Onsite Posture Workshops Corporate Wellness Student Login
Online CPS Certificate Programs Public Posture Programs College Partner Programs
 You are here: Find National Posture Institute on Facebook Visit ourYouTube Channel   Find National Posture Institute on Facebook

The Causes of Wrist Pain and What You Can Do to Prevent a Serious Problem


Imagine sitting in your chair at work typing away when you feel a sudden and sharp pain in your wrist. It really hurts. You sit back for a moment nursing your hand and try to continue typing. Your typing is slow and labored, but you need to get this project done. What went wrong here? Why is this happening and above all why now?


[National Posture Institute] The Causes of Wrist Pain and What You Can Do to Prevent a Serious Problem

While the “now” may not have a definitive answer the “what” and “why” do. Think about it, you use your hands for just about everything. These days we’re using them so much more because of cell phones, tablets, and other devices. So, what about that pain in the wrist? What could it be and how does one prevent it from happening?

According to the Mayo Clinic website, a non-profit organization, wrist pain is often caused by sprains or fractures. Wrist pain can also be the result of repetitive stress, arthritis, and carpal tunnel. All of which are long-term problems. Unless it’s a direct injury, pain in this area doesn’t just happen without a reason. Pain in this way could be the result of cumulative trauma. Before we push any further into this, know that there are other causes.

Osteoarthritis (think of the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones deteriorating over time) and rheumatoid arthritis (the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue) are also causes for concern. While rheumatoid arthritis commonly involves the wrist and if one wrist is affected the other usually is too, osteoarthritis is uncommon and usually occurs only in people who previously injured that area of the wrist.

The Mayo Clinic website also mentions ganglion cysts (painful soft tissue cysts) and kienbock’s disease (progressive collapse of small bones in the wrist). Ganglion cysts can be worsened or improved by activity. Kienbock’s disease occurs when the blood supply to the small bones of the wrist fails. This leads to the progressive collapse of the small bones in the wrist. This disorder generally affects young adults.

Something else to note here is the location of the pain and the way it feels. These could provide clues to identifying the problem. Here’s a basic example: Osteoarthritis is said to be similar to a dull toothache while carpal tunnel feels like pins and needles or a tingling sensation.

Going back to the issue of repetitive stress, any activity that involves repetitive wrist motion, like hitting a hammer, playing an instrument, or typing on a computer especially in poor alignment, could lead to inflammation of the tissues around the joint or even cause a stress fracture. This is especially likely when the activity is performed for hours without a break. Conditions like carpal tunnel (increased pressure on the median nerve) can develop as a result of long term trauma caused by similar activities.

Body alignment plays a role in this too. It’s one thing to sit for hours typing your life away, but it’s another to do so while working for hours daily in poor alignment. This is why paying attention to body alignment is so crucial, even in your wrists. If your wrist is often below the keyboard or bent over as you hover over the keypads when typing then you need to make some adjustments. The wrists should be straight and not bent one way or the other. You also need to take breaks. Move your wrists around, stretch them out, and let them rest without any work. The whole field of ergonomics was created for issues like this.

Office workers, musicians, and other workers who need to use their hands repetitively and for long periods need to be aware of these issues. If you’re an athlete, use protective gear. If you swing a hammer daily, you may want to increase the cushioning on the tool so it softens the ringing and force applied to your hands.

You can also prevent issues like these by building bone strength. Exercise in good posture and get adequate amounts of calcium. Most adults require 1,000 milligrams a day. That amount increases to 1,200 milligrams daily for women over 50 as it can also help prevent fractures.

Lastly, a sprain or strain may require the R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation) technique, or some over-the-counter medications. However, if the pain and swelling lasts longer than a few days or becomes worse, it’s time you saw a doctor. Don’t wait, delaying the diagnosis means delayed treatment and this could mean the area won’t heal properly. Lack of healing could mean a reduced range of motion and possibly long term disability, yikes.

Wrist pain sounds scary, right? Our Memorial Day sale is the stark opposite. We’re offering a great sale for the NPI-Certified Posture Specialist™ program that starts on May 23rd.. Please be on the lookout for the sale email from us.

» Overview
» 2011
» 2012
» 2013
» 2014
» 2015
» 2016
» 2017
» 2018

     © 2007-2018 National Posture Institute. All Rights Reserved.