Q: Lately I've been experiencing a dull pain in my wrist that occasionally
spreads up into my forearm. At first it was off and on, but it seems to be getting
worse. There are days when something as simple as picking up my coffee mug or
doing cross-stitch makes me wince. Is there anything I can do to stop the pain?
Dr. Donnica: There are many causes of wrist pain, the most common of which
is an injury of some sort, although injuries often have accompanying bruising
or swelling. Common wrist injuries include fractures, sprains, strains, and several
types of tendonitis. Most causes of wrist pain are initially treated by rest,
elevation, ice, and over-the-counter pain medicine (e.g. ibuprofen or naproxen).
If the pain persists or worsens after a few days of conservative treatment, please
consult your physician for an examination.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is another common cause of wrist pain. It occurs when
the median nerve is compressed at the wrist, usually due to repetitive motions
such as computer typing or cross-stitching. You may feel aching, burning, numbness,
or tingling in your palm, wrist, thumb, or fingers. The thumb muscle can become
weak, making it difficult to grasp things like your coffee mug. The pain may
extend up your forearm to your elbow. Additional risk factors for carpal tunnel
syndrome include pregnancy, menopause, diabetes, PMS, hypothyroidism, rheumatoid
arthritis, and being overweight. Arthritis itself (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid
arthritis or psoriatic arthritis) may also cause wrist pain.
Created: 4/8/2005  - Donnica Moore, M.D.