Preventing Chronic Wrist Pain


Many people suffer from wrist pain, sometimes as the result of an injury (such as a sprain or fracture), and sometimes as part of ongoing, chronic pain. Chronic wrist pain can begin to interfere with daily life, making ordinary tasks difficult; unfortunately, some of those some everyday tasks are what cause or contribute to the chronic pain in the first place.

Repetitive motion injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome is one example) are one of the most common sources of wrist pain: the overuse stresses the joint, straining muscles, compressing nerves, and causing swelling, all of which lead to pain and weakness in the area. Some sources of repetitive motion can’t be avoided: computer usage (both the mouse and the keyboard) and writing are two of the most common, but almost everyone must use them for work. People who use tools for a living, especially vibrating ones such as jackhammers, are also at risk, and sports and hobbies can also be to blame, from activities like golf or tennis to sewing or painting.

Repetitive motion activities can’t always be avoided, so the best way to prevent chronic wrist pain is to modify your posture as you perform them. If your wrists are bent and your hands crane upward to type, your keyboard is probably too high: get one that sits lower, or place a padded strip under your wrists so your hands are supported and level with the keyboard. Take regular breaks when writing, and while resting your hands, don’t lay them flat – rest on the sides of the wrist.

When it comes to sports and hobbies, simply reducing your speed can be helpful. People who do batting sports like baseball, tennis, or golf may want to consult an instructor for proper, safe technique – you may not even be aware that your form is less than ideal, and a professional eye can point out potential sources of injury.

Maintaining strong bones and strong, flexible muscles go a long way toward preventing wrist pain: stretch regularly, both during and after activity, and perform strengthening exercises for both the wrist and arm. Make sure to get enough bone-enriching calcium to prevent fractures; most adults need about 1,000 milligrams per day, and people over age 50 need even more – closer to 1,200 milligrams.


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