Wrist pain from overuse turned into elbow, forarm, and hand/finger pain.

by NV

Last December is when the whole issue started.

Prior to it, I was playing guitar and hour a day, playing video games regularly, lifting weights a few times a week, and driving an hour to and from work every week day. My job is working with very small electronic components, and can require use of hands all day.

So last December I spent about two weeks using a nut driver and a screw driver at the same time for about 4 hours a day. (Both hands doing a screw driver type motion).

Then I spent a week of nearly doing it all day.

Hands started getting tired at the end of day, then tired all day, then sore, then very sharp and sore. I stopped and did as much as I could at work to avoid and screw driver type rotation type movements.

From Dec to April the wrists hurt, but got better slowly. I was doing wrist and finger exercise. I could still play guitar and every thing else (I did give up weights through), just screw drive type motions would cause pain.

Come April the pain was 99% gone. A friend unfortunately brought the pain back trying some martial art type arm and wrist locks on me (sigh...).

The pain was not horrible, just back. I had just started to lift weights and I wanted to keep it up. So I wrapped my wrists up and went to the gym. I did some over head presses with dumbbells. Three days later at work, my elbows start to hurt like I have NEVER felt before. It was bad.

Over the next week the elbows started to feel better. But still hurt. Over the next few weeks at work, my wrists started to hurt more. Then the backs of my hands. Then my fingers.

From April till June I worked through the pain with Ibuprofen. I decided this was too much. I stopped working. Since then the pain in my elbows is almost all gone (they crack a lot). Wrists still hurt, but not as much as in June when I stopped work. Fingers are getting better, but can still hurt, Heavy lifting will bring back pain in fingers for 2 weeks.

Physiotherapist found no swelling anywhere pretty much even at the height of all the pain. She was happy with my ability to flex everything without causing pain(the pain was already there). And I don’t think I ever really lost any strength anywhere, I was just in pain all the time. Blood work for arthritis turned up with nothing.

Rheumatoid doctor said rest will fix it.

I am wondering what is wrong. No doctor has said the same thing! And is there any supplements that will help tendons (if that is what is bothering me) heal.

Please reply using the comment link below. Do not submit a new submission to answer/reply, it's too hard for me to find where it's supposed to go.

And, comments have a 3,000 character limit so you may have to comment twice.

Joshua Tucker, B.A., C.M.T.
The Tendonitis Expert

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Sep 21, 2009
PART 2 - Wrist pain from overuse turned into elbow, forarm, and hand/finger pain.
by: The Tendonitis Expert

Joshua Answers:

Hey NV. Thanks for all the details. That helps a lot.

First off, I want to award that Rheumatologist today's 'Your Doctor Is Smoking Crack' award.

Rest will not heal what you've got. You could lay on the couch for a year, never using your hands, and then if you started to twist with a screwdriver again, it's 99% likely that the pain would swiftly return.

And speaking of healing, it's likely that you don't actually have any damage per se.

What you DO have is inflammation, too tight muscles, too tight connective tissue, and a nervous system that is on high alert to protect you from more pain, which unfortunately leads to more tightness and more pain.

It hurts up at your elbows now, basically, because as things get tight, everything in the area starts to tighten up well. Everything gets tight, the nervous system freaks out that you're getting pulled apart, etc.

Bad news is, if you don't do anything in particular, it's predictable that things will progress and you'll have to stop doing things you like to do.

Good news is, if you do the RIGHT things, it's totally reversable.

My top suggestion for Tendonitis related issues like yours, is to get 'The Tennis Elbow Treatment That Works'.

It explains it all, and gives you simple self care that is actually effective.

See: What Is Tendonitis?

Alternately, I would start ice dipping as described on the How To Reduce Inflammation page.

A big factor is...you overused your structure and your nervous system got scared. So it sets forth a mechanism that makes things tight and hurt so that you'll stop doing what you're doing.

Nervous systems are pretty amazing, but kind of dumb too. Ideally, it would stop the mechanism, but it's now habitually in place.

Rest, unfortunately, does not beneficially affect that.

More questions, more answers.

Sep 21, 2009
PART 3 - Wrist pain from overuse turned into elbow, forarm, and hand/finger pain.
by: The Tendonitis Expert

Oh, and, your final question about supplements.

It absolutely can't hurt to start doing what this page suggests...Bone Broth as the best Tendon Supplements

Also, you may want to get your Magnesium levels up. Check out the Magnesium For Tendonitis link on this page and the link at the bottom of that page that goes to Magnesium Dosage.

Sep 21, 2009
PART 4 - Wrist pain from overuse turned into elbow, forarm, and hand/finger pain.
by: NV

Thanks for the quick reply Joshua.

I am doing some exercise and stretches already given to me by the physiotherapist. I would tell you what they are if you would like me too.

My hands and fingers seem to be the worst at the moment. The elbows still pain now and then (and crack a lot) but the light work I do from day to day is not causing them pain.

The fingers and hands get sore from typing and mouse work. And heavy lifting with the entire load on them will cause the pain to shoot up for a few days to 2 weeks. I notice the knuckles crack a lot too.
I really appreciate your ideas and just thought I would add in some more information about the problem.


Joshua Comments:

Oh, I'm glad you mentioned the cracking elbows again. I forgot you'd said that.

I'll get to that in a second.

So, fingers and hands hurt most now, and get tired.

Why? Simple. Muscle tight. Connective tissue tight. Muscles working 24/7, working constantly, even when you sleep.

Thus, they don't have much potential left to be working all day. But the nervous system tells them to work, so they do...which means that muscles get and stay even tighter.

So you have muscles in your forearms (and hand) that are, let's just say, 70% contracted all the time. And you tire them out typing, and then give them a BIG contraction lifting some heavy load.

The nervous system does not like what happens. Essentially, they squeeze too much and set up a mechanism of continuing pain, that lasts for a week or so until it settles down.

And, those tight muscles are compressing your wrist joint because the tendons cross the joint. And, connective tissue is pulling hard on the elbow and connective tissue that attaches to the elbow, thus the elbow pain.

The cracking? Is likely because the joint is compressed due to tight muscles on either side of the joint pulling it together.

If it's a 'creak', that just may be a lubrication thing. Is it a 'creak' or a 'crack' like the bone is adjusting?

No need to tell me the exercises. I hope they help. They either will, or they won't. I may be a bit biased because I work with the people they don't work for, but I don't put a lot of faith in exercises when they are started -after- you start hurting.

Also, take another look at my original response. I corrected a mistake I made, there's two more lines showing now, where I suggest my Tennis Elbow dvd.

Why Tennis Elbow when my hands hurt, you may ask? (people do) Because the forearm muscles are -very- much involved.

Keep me updated, and as always, more questions, more answers.

And, Ice Dip, my friend, Ice Dip.

Dec 13, 2011
Diagnosed with dequervain's tenosynovitis and Trichotollomania?
by: melissa

I was diagnosed with this along with trichotillomania. Though I dont just pick out one hair at a time, instead I run my fringers through my hair, grab and pull when I hit a knot. Most of the time my fingers are on fire! I can't feel properly when I'm holding something and my grip is terrible. my wrists are terribly weak and hurt constantly and its been moving up to my forearms. as well due to transferring the load-bearing muscles to my arms in order to work my arm and shoulder muscles are beginning to ache.

I cant quit working, i have a 6 y/o and theres no way around it, i just want someone to tell me i can fix it with more than a wrist brace for the rest of my life and advil. that regimine is not working and im going to work myself into the ground.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Melissa.

Yes, keeping a job -is- important.

Wrist splints and braces don't fix any form of Tendonitis.

Nutrition. Inflammation Causes Vitamin B6 Deficiency

Nutrition. Get youf vitamin D level up to between 50-80.

Nutrition. See: Magnesium for Tendonitis

Nutrition. Good fat. More Protein.

You just might be surprised what that does for your anxiety.

And learn How To Reduce Inflammation. And then Ice Dip. As much as possible, for a while.

Jan 25, 2013
Why is There No Strength In My Fingers?
by: Jan

It started 2 yrs ago with severe pain in my fingers and hands and now I have it in my wrists and elbows. I can't hardly write due to no strength and horrible pain.

I have had several blood tests taken and they read negative for RA. My fingers are always cold and recently my forearms have started to spasm when twisting my wrists certain ways. My skin is sore to the touch, especially on my forearms and elbows. I also get the "crack" sounds in my wrists.

The only time I get any relief from the pain is about two hrs before falling asleep because I didn't use my hands or arms.

Ibuprofen only seems to take the edge off.

The doctors are a bit puzzled as to what is going on with me at this time.

Any suggestions?


Joshua Comments:

Hi Jan.

It always boggles my mind when doctors have ZERO clue about such a basic physical issue. We can call it Tendonitis or Carpal Tunnel.

And it's a good thing we've ruled out RA, since you didn't have any RA symptoms to begin with (as I heard you describe it). (sorry, that was some sarcasm pointed at the doctors)

Technically you -should- have a diagnosis of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, from a doctor's point of view, because there is numbness (which technically isn't a symptom of 'tendonitis').

But really it's all about the Pain Causing Dynamic, which basically means you're suffering from a progressive and predictable mechanism of increasing tightness, increasing inflammation, and nutritional insufficiency/deficiency.

See: Carpal Tunnel and Vitamin B6 Deficiency

See: Magnesium For Tendonitis

See: How To Reduce Inflammation

See: The Carpal Tunnel Treatment That Works DVD and the ebook that comes with it

The 'crack' sounds are from your wrist joint being compressed by too tight muscles.

Turning your wrist causes numbness because connective tissue etc is all constricted around the wrist and squeezes on the carpal tunnel nerve.

Probably blocking off nerve and blood flow to the wrist too.

Sensitive skin up in the forearm probably due to so much Pain Enhancing Chemical flooding the tissue in the area, and nutritional insufficiency playing havoc on the ecology of your arm.

So while your doctors are bemused and confounded, it's really nothing mysterious. Symptoms are caused by certain factors. Reverse the factors and symptoms go away. It's not rocket science, just a matter of searching for and finding the right know how, which you're successfully doing.

Oct 11, 2016
Pain in Elbow, Arm, Wrist and Hand
by: Emily

I have been experiencing the same type of pain for several years on and off. The pain has become much more frequent lately. I will say that I have had an extreme increase in the number of hours spent on a computer at work lately. I use a standard keyboard and a roller ball mouse.

The pain feels like what I would describe as nerve pain. It begins in my elbow, which is super sensitive in the tissue area between the head and the cap of my elbow. The head of my elbow is super sensitive to touch also. The pain radiates to my inner forearm sometimes. I always have pain in my inner wrist and down into my hand. While the whole hand seems to be affected at times, I feel pain most commonly down the outside of my pinky and hand, especially when gripping something. I few examples of pain I have had today would be, picking up laundry off the floor, tightening a jar lid using my affected hand to hold the jar (not twist the top).

Any insight would be greatly appreciated as I have been given a couple of different opinions.


Joshua Comments:

Hi Emily.

Sounds like the tendonitis dynamic to me.

Your particular flavor has a lot of the tightness focusing up at the elbow.

That tightness affects the lower arm/hand by compressing the nerve that runs through there, as well as the predictably results of the progressive tightness, inflammation, and nutritional lack that makes up the tendonitis dynamic.

There's lots of info here in this thread for you. Read the links/pages, and come back with any questions.

In general, I'd suggest you start working with the Tennis Elbow Treatment That Works program.

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