Wrist and forearm pain can be caused by a variety of conditions or injuries.
Wrist and Forearm Pain Causes
Wrist pain may be caused by sudden fractures or sprains as well as “long-term problems” such as carpal tunnel syndrome, repetitive stress, and arthritis. The pain might be dull or feel like “pins-and-needles”. If conventional treatments with pain medications, ice, and rest do not work, the wrist may heal poorly and lead to disability and problems with range-of-motion. Osteoarthritis comes from deterioration over time, usually as a result of a past injury. Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disorder. Repetitive stress may come from playing a musical instrument or a sport, such as tennis. A pain at the base of the thumb could be De Quervain’s disease. Pressure on the median nerve of the arm can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome. Two other causes of wrist pain are Kienbock’s disease and ganglion cysts.1 Psoriatic arthritis, gout (too much uric acid), and pseudogout (calcium deposits in joints) may also cause wrist pain.2 Forearm pain can also arise from inflammation or injury as well as repetitive use and stress. Physiotherapy or, in severe cases, surgery, might be recommended.3
A swollen vein in the wrist, carpal tunnel of the wrist, carpal tunnel in the thumb, nerve pain in the forearm, joint pain in the wrist, or back of the wrist pain are all conditions where someone may seek a doctor for wrist pain or forearm pain. Sometimes a patient may experience elbow and shoulder pain together. Patients may try home care, such as rest, proper ergonomics, and compresses. Taking breaks while working at the computer, having the seating and keyboard at the right height, and using split keyboards, splints, and typing pads could also provide relief. While over-the-counter medication may also alleviate symptoms, there are side effects, and they do not address the underlying problem. A chiropractor can recommend stretches and exercises to relieve the forearm and wrist pain. They could help to prevent future trouble, as well. More urgent medical care would be required if there is “swelling, redness, or stiffness” or “numbness, tingling or weakness”, if muscle mass has been lost, or if weeks of self-care have provided no relief.4 Sometimes arm pain is a result of poor posture or neck pain that is referred. Chiropractors are experts in musculoskeletal issues.5 Massage for tennis elbow is another treatment option. Massage therapists can also treat carpal tunnel syndrome with various techniques that affect not just the arm, but the full body. Muscles throughout the body may be imbalanced; for example, shoulder and arm pain can also be present with carpal tunnel syndrome. Releasing adhesions, tension, and trigger points is important. Myofascial release, compression, and stripping are other orthopedic massage techniques that may be employed in treatment.6
Find out more about carpal tunnel syndrome.